Meet the Sparer Fellows

Sparer Fellows

The Sparer Fellowship Program is an outstanding opportunity for high-caliber, qualified students to engage in concentrated studies and unique internships. Fellows are placed at leading public interest organizations, in the U.S. and abroad, providing legal services to underrepresented constituencies.

Read more about how some of the current Sparer Fellows will be spending their summer.

  • Alyssa is interested in community development and urban land use. After obtaining a degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Alyssa moved to Boston and joined AmeriCorps. Through this experience Alyssa was able to serve as an outreach coordinator for a non-profit that sought to empower urban youth through the provision of environmental education programs. Through this experience Alyssa learned to place great value on the promotion of self-reliance and empowerment and is drawn to community development lawyering for its emphasis on enhancing economic opportunities while improving social conditions in a sustainable way. During her 1L summer Alyssa worked at a general practice law office and interned at the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center where she was exposed to the multitude of diverse, yet interrelated problems facing underserved communities, which highlighted the need for neighborhood based legal services. This upcoming semester Alyssa will be participating in Brooklyn Law School’s community development clinic. Alyssa is very excited to join the Sparer community and looks forward to being challenged and inspired by the professors, students, and practitioners within the community.

  • McLean developed an acute interest in the intersection between courts and public policy as an undergraduate at Emory University, where he majored in Political Science. After college, working as a paralegal for the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, McLean saw firsthand the disparate impact child welfare laws have on disadvantaged populations. He came to BLS with a desire to positively influence juveniles and families through direct service work in the fields of child welfare and criminal defense. McLean spent last summer working at Legal Aid's Juvenile Rights Practice and currently interns at Youth Represent as part of the Youth Reentry and Legal Services Clinic. This summer, McLean will be working at the Brooklyn Family Defense Practice.

  • Houghton College; Sociology and Political Science

    Shannon graduated from Houghton College in Western New York State. Shannon's work as a domestic violence advocate at the Erie County Family Justice Center was integral in her decision to attend law school. During her first year, Shannon participated in the Court Room Advocates Project, Christian Legal Society, Open Hands Legal Services, and the New York Lawyer's Basketball League. Shannon spent her Sparer summer with African Services Committee in West Harlem where she worked predominantly on immigration matters for clients living with HIV/AIDS and interned with Sanctuary for Families Immigration Project at the Brooklyn Family Justice Center this fall. This semester Shannon is interning at SDNY with Judge Richard Sullivan.

  • Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Social and Economic Development

    Before starting law school, Zamira worked at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Her areas of expertise included migration, social protection, women’s rights and aid effectiveness. Prior to that (2010) she served as a Regional Programs Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). She holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Social and Economic Development, where her Master’s thesis “The Role of Remittances in the Process of Human Capital Formation in Tajikistan” received Honorable Mention for an exceptionally written master’s thesis. She has been awarded the P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (2007) and an International Fellowship (2005) from the American Association of University Women. She has also contributed to several key publications for the CIS region: Together on the Move: Tajik Migrant in Olympic Sochi, November, 2012, George Washington University’; “Needs Assessment of Women’s Labor Migrants in CIS” 2009; “Interdependence Should be Natural,” Interdependence Handbook, IDEA 2004. In her native Tajikistan Zamira worked as information specialist for the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT) in 2004 where she assessed and tracked effective micro-lending practices, and acted as liaison to all stakeholders involved both governmental and non-governmental. Zamira spent her Sparer summer at the National Employment Law Project working on worker’s organizing on minimum wage issues. During fall of 2013 she was at the Economic Justice Division of New York Attorney General Office. She looks forward to her judicial internship in the coming spring and is a recipient of Ella Baker Fellowship for summer 2014.

  • Ian worked as a forest firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, while earning a B.S. in Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University (SOU). His interest in social justice and advocacy developed after living and studying in Ecuador in 2005, where he researched environmental security and public policy issues on the Galapagos Islands, in the Amazon Region, and in the Andean Highlands. After graduating from SOU in 2007, Ian moved to Alaska, where he served for five years as an Alaska Smokejumper, parachuting into remote locations in Alaska and the western U.S., in order to protect persons and property from wildfire and other natural disasters. He began his tenure at BLS in 2012, and spent his first summer as a BLSPI Fellow, working for the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project, teaching criminal justice to exceptional youth from Newark’s underserved communities. Ian is the Vice-President of BLS’s Latin American Law Students Association and Co-Chair for Law Students for Veterans Rights. As a member of the Moot Court Honor Society’s Appellate Division, Ian and his team emerged as champions of the International Criminal Court Competition. He also interned with The Bronx Defenders criminal practice and the Urban Justice Center’s Veteran Advocacy Project. As a Sparer Fellow, Ian will be interning for the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense practice in the Bronx.

  • University of Central Florida; Political Science with concentrations in Latin American Studies and African American Studies 
    The New School for Social Research; Master's Degree in Politics

    A proud graduate of the Florida University System, Eric developed an interest in social, racial, and economic justice as an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida. After graduating with a degree in Political Science and a minor in African American Studies, Eric moved to Brooklyn in 2008 to pursue a Master's Degree at The New School for Social Research. His master's thesis focused on the lives of undocumented restaurant workers in New York City and the experience at The New School compelled him to pursue a career where he would have an opportunity to work alongside individuals and movements struggling for social change. Eric spent his first summer working as an Ella Baker Fellow with the Center for Constitutional Rights at the Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services. Last fall, Eric continued to explore his passion for civil rights as a legal intern at LatinoJustice/PRLDEF and is interning for the Hon. Robert E. Levy at the Eastern District of New York this spring. In the summer, Eric will spend his summer watching the World Cup and working as a legal trainee with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. An amateur basketball historian, Eric's favorite basketball player is Scottie Pippen, whose game he considers the most elegant of all time.

  • Tristan Ellis is interested in a career litigating in the public interest, with a focus on advancing and defending civil rights and liberties, and assisting those for whom the halls of justice might otherwise be closed. While studying history at Brandeis University for a BA and MA, Tristan grew a heightened appreciation for both the frailty of civil liberties and the degree to which the promise of equal protection of the law remains unfulfilled. Armed with the beliefs that a robust set of rights are crucial for a robust democracy, and that democracy demands equal access to justice, Tristan pursued a legal education to equip him with the tools necessary to put his passion for civil rights and liberties into practice. Before law school, Tristan interned for a Massachusetts state representative where he assisted in the research and resolution of constituent concerns. Tristan interned last summer with Judge Koeltl in the Southern District of New York. He currently serves as the secretary for BLS Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and is a member of the Criminal Appeals Defense Clinic.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009; B.A. in Political Science and History, Certificate in European History

    As an undergrad, Ashleigh Goit went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Political Science and History. She worked in advertising as a digital media planner at Horizon Media before coming to law school. This past summer, Ashleigh interned at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A in the Group Representation Unit where she represented tenants' associations working to secure improved living conditions. She also worked with community groups in an effort to build community and political support for quality affordable housing. During the fall semester, Ashleigh interned at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in both the Terrorism and Complex Frauds Units. During the spring semester, Ashleigh is interning in the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This summer, she will be interning at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Enforcement. Ashleigh is dedicated to pursuing a career as a federal prosecutor prosecuting financial crimes and corporate fraud.

  • New York University, 2009; B.A. in Comparative Literature

    Jared graduated from New York University in 2009 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. Following graduation, he worked for several years as a mental health case worker with a “housing first” agency. This treatment model recognizes that stable housing is a prerequisite to recovery from mental illness. In law school, Jared has interned with Catholic Charities Department of Immigrant Services and participated in the Safe Harbor Asylum Clinic. This semester he began an internship with the General Counsel’s office of Safe Horizon, a domestic violence and victims’ services non- profit. Jared also participates in the BLSPI mentorship program.

  • Janeen Hall became interested in international human rights issues while studying Political Science and Latin American studies at Wake Forest University. Her time spent in law school has been so far dedicated to helping low income New Yorkers access immigration relief, as well as working in human trafficking advocacy. She will be spending her Sparer summer at Legal Aid Society in the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project. Janeen is a member of the Moot Court Society, as well as a member of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law. She will be a PIPS Fellow at the Legal Aid Society in the immigration unit next year.

  • The New York University Stern School of Business; B.S. in Finance and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship.

    Alexander Hu is concerned with social and economic issues that impact people of color, and he seeks to understand the ways in which the law can be part of the solution or is part of the problem. He graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business with a B.S. in finance and a minor in social entrepreneurship. Upon graduation, Alexander launched The Human Color, a social venture that addresses racial inequality through fashion and creative expression. He also worked as a volunteer and research fellow with ERASE Racism, a civil rights organization based in Long Island, where he researched various issues affecting people of color ranging from home foreclosures to the education achievement gap. For his 1L Sparer summer, Alexander worked at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. At AALDEF, he worked on analyzing the Supreme Court's decision in the Fisher v. Univ. of Texas affirmative action case and also did a variety of work involving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a wage & hour claim on behalf of restaurant workers, and Chinatown anti-displacement efforts. During his 2L fall semester, Alexander participated in the Safe Harbor clinic, and he will be interning at the MinKwon Center for Community Action for his 2L spring semester, doing a mix of immigration, labor, and housing work. For his 2L summer Alexander will be interning at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, where he will be working on racial justice issues in the areas of environmental and health law. In his 3L year, Alexander will be a PIPS fellow.

  • While attending Boston College, Molly studied in Ghana and Argentina and became interested in international human rights' issues. She then worked as a refugee resettlement case manager, nanny, substitute teacher, and employment counselor before starting law school. At BLS, Molly has been involved in immigration and women's issues. Molly spent her Sparer summer working at the Bronx Defenders office with the Immigration team. She assisted in plea consults with non-citizens in criminal court and in deportation proceedings in immigration court. Molly worked at the ACLU's Women's Rights Project last fall and will be working at the United Nations Office of Staff Legal Assistance this spring.

  • Prior to entering BLS, David worked for six years as a paralegal at a prominent intellectual property firm in New York. During this time, David founded GooseWatch NYC to advocate for urban wildlife in New York City parks and works to advance humane wildlife management policies and government transparency. David’s interest in animal law, environmental law, politics, and policy led him to pursue a legal education. He spent his first summer as an intern at the New York City Public Advocate’s Office. David currently serves as vice-chair of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and is a student member of the Animal Law Committee for the New York City Bar Association and National Lawyers Guild Animal Rights Committee.

  • Edward became interested in international relations and human rights while studying at the University of Alabama for an undergraduate degree in Political Science. He studied Arabic in Amman, Jordan, and microfinance with the Grameen Bank in and throughout Bangladesh. Since arriving at BLS, Edward's focus has shifted inwards to domestic issues of socioeconomic inequality. Last summer, Edward interned at the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyer's Project, where he covered a broad range of practice areas, including counseling consumer debtors, chapter 7 bankruptcy, and uncontested divorces. He has also helped launch the BLS chapter of the Low Income Student Loan Debt Project in conjunction with South Brooklyn Legal Services, and works as an advocate as well as regional board member for the Unemployment Action Center. Edward plans on using the opportunity presented by the Sparer fellowship to pursue an internship with a community development project, focusing on consumer protection, access to housing, and transactional issues with local not-for-profits.

  • Boston University; Double major in English and International Relations with a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

    Attending Boston University for her undergraduate education in English, International Relations and Women’s Studies, Lauren interned with many Boston area not-for-profits, learning about community development, economic justice, and urban planning. She realized that a legal education would help her connect policy and theory with direct action and advocacy. Lauren spent her first summer at Legal Aid’s housing division and was a member of the Community Development Clinic in the fall. This semester she is working at South Brooklyn Legal Services with the Elder Rights Clinic and will spend her second summer at the Bronx Defenders in the Civil Action Practice. She will be working at NYLAG's Special Litigation Unit through the PIPS Fellowship in her third year and after graduation. She is the pro-bono chair of the Law Students for Reproductive Justice Project, and a co-chair of the NLG. Lauren looks forward to a lifetime of scorn as a Red Sox fan in New York City.

  • Emory University; Linguistics and Spanish Literature

    Massiel Ramos, originally from the Dominican Republic, has lived in New York for over 15 years. Her interest in public service came from observing disparities among different communities in the same area in which she lived in Lower Manhattan. Throughout high school and college, attending Emory, she became involved in promoting higher education in underserved communities. She hopes to continue this focus after graduating from BLS.

  • Northwestern University, 2010; BA in History and Religious Studies

    Elana's passion for public service developed in college while interning and volunteering at various not-for-profits and government agencies in college ranging from children impacted by parental cancer to disabled migrant workers in China. After graduation, she provided direct legal services to clients on a wide variety of immigration and public benefits issues as a paralegal in NYLAG's Immigrant Protection Unit. Elana spent her Sparer summer working with detained immigrants, primarily unaccompanied minors, along the Mexico-U.S. border. This year, she is part of the year-long Youth Reentry Clinic and will be interning in the spring with the Sex Workers Project. Next year and after graduation she will be working at Brooklyn Defenders through the PIPS program.

  • Amanda Shapiro graduated from Harvard College in 2008 with a degree in sociology, where she focused on issues of economic justice and women’s rights. There, Amanda observed the intersections of class and gender, and grew to appreciate the difficulties women endure even in the halls of privilege. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America, and taught for four years at a public school in the South Bronx. In 2010, she expanded her education interests on an international level when she joined the non-profit, Haitian Support, in a service project to build a school in rural Haiti. Her experience working with a high-needs population and a predominantly female workforce led her back to women’s rights advocacy. As an advocate, Amanda hopes to work in preventing sexual assault, closing the gender pay gap, strengthening maternity leave, and protecting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices.For her Sparer summer, Amanda worked at AEquitas, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., which works with prosecutors, legislators, and other practitioners to improve laws about violence against women. Amanda also interned at the Tenant Protection Unit, in New York State Homes and Community Renewal, a state agency created by Governor Cuomo to enforce rent regulation laws in New York City.

  • Boston University; B.A. in Political Science

    As an attorney, Clarissa Wertman hopes to make government work better for the people it serves. Clarissa spent the first four years of her career working in the New York State Governor’s Office on a variety of high-profile policy initiatives in the areas of education, economic development, and infrastructure. More recently, she worked in development for the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, a think-tank that promotes the incorporation of sound economic analysis into governmental decisionmaking. At Brooklyn Law School, Clarissa serves as the Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest Mentorship Committee Co-Chair. She is also a member of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law. This past summer, she worked as a legal intern for Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit that creates affordable housing for low- and moderate income people to build diverse, thriving communities. This year, Clarissa is participating in the Municipal Litigation Clinic at the New York City Law Department, where she assists in representing the city in civil litigation matters. She is a native of Niskayuna, NY and has lived in Brooklyn since 2010.

Brooklyn Law School - Sparer Celebration

View photos from the Sparer Celebration.

Have questions? We have answers.

Sparer Fellowship Program
Marva Skeene
Brooklyn Law School
250 Joralemon Street, Room 800A
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Telephone: (718) 780-0351