This fall, Fordham Law School welcomes 17 new members to the Stein Scholars Program in Public Interest Law and Ethics. The program is aimed at fostering the next generation of public interest lawyers through academic series, mentorships, and volunteer work. Students are chosen from diverse backgrounds for their demonstrated commitment to public service.
“We are excited to welcome the newest class of Stein Scholars to Fordham this fall. These 1L Stein Scholars from the classes of 2023 and 2024E join a community of current students and alumni who are passionate about public interest and social justice work,” remarks Aisha Baruni, director of Public Interest Scholars and Counseling. “These are challenging times, but the Stein Scholars community remains as strong and vibrant as ever. Our newest Stein Scholars bring diverse experiences and passions with them to Fordham, and we all look forward to seeing the incredible work they will do while in law school.”
The 17 new Steins are members of the class of 2023 (day division) and 2024 (evening division).
Lucy Becker graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies and a concentration in Law, Justice, and Social Change. After graduating, Lucy worked at a law firm that specializes in affordable housing and community development and volunteered at the New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York Legal Assistance Group. She is excited to join the Stein community and deepen her passion for public interest law.
Katie Buoymaster double majored in English and philosophy, and graduated from Williams College with honors in 2015. Her fascination with the national security law began during the year she spent as a Fulbright ETA in rural Turkey. After completing her grant, Katie worked at the IAI think tank in Rome and then in the UAE and Lebanon for a regional startup, where her interest in national security further developed. She looks forward to exploring the intersections of national security, constitutional, and commercial law as a Stein and as a member of the Fordham Law community. She hopes to pursue a career dedicated to improving the regulation of the military-industrial complex and protecting the human rights of both American and international civilians.
In 2015, Daniel Caballero graduated from Wesleyan University and began working as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. Since that time, he has developed expertise in health insurance policy and the Affordable Care Act. Still working as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, he is currently assisting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Daniel is excited to begin at Fordham Law as an evening student and combine his legal education with his professional background.
Veronica Constable graduated from Cornell University with a BFA and minors in Spanish, visual studies, and art history. In her capacity as both an artist and gallery director, she brought awareness to critical issues such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. She hopes to further this advocacy by pursuing prosecution, with a particular focus on violent crime.
Jason D’Andrea most recently served as the Policy Advisor for Higher Education and Special Assistant to John A. Pérez, the Chair of the University of California Board of Regents and Speaker Emeritus of the California Assembly. A first-generation college graduate, Jason is passionate about improving educational equity and access for students from marginalized communities. Previously, Jason completed the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in Los Angeles. Jason earned a Master’s Degree in Economics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. Jason’s passion for public service stems from his father, a former United States Marine. At Fordham, he hopes to develop legal tools to become a changemaker at the intersection of law and policy.
Chris D’Silva graduated from Williams College in 2018 where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. Since then, he spent two years as a Venture for America fellow in Philadelphia, where he worked in product management for data technology start-ups that focused in political engagement, marketing, and compliance. Chris looks forward to learning more about how the law can be used to protect consumer data privacy, and how organizations can be better held accountable for the effects of the algorithms that they develop, sell, and leverage.
The passion Emma Evans has for legal advocacy, voting rights, and criminal justice reform can be seen through her thesis research on felon disenfranchisement in Florida through Amendment 4 and the litigation surrounding it. Having graduated with first-class standing from Brock University with an honors B.A. in Political Science, a minor in history, and a concentration in public law, Emma looks forward to working as a Stein Scholar to advance civil rights and using her law degree to combat systemic oppression through litigation. She hopes to combine her experience interning at litigation firms with her work as an advocacy research coordinator and policy writer. She looks forward to collaborating with and learning from her fellow Stein Scholars as she starts at Fordham Law.
Nelly Gargano graduated from Elon University in 2017 with a dual degree in History and Film, focusing her studies on issues of intersectional gender inequity and cultural identity. Upon graduation, she joined Point Made Learning, a programming organization dedicated to creating equitable communities through anti-racism work. She volunteers with Court Watch NYC, joining in their efforts to reform the criminal justice system through courtroom accountability and community education. She looks forward to collaborating with her fellow Stein Scholars and using her legal education to advocate for those most adversely affected by the justice system.
Elizabeth Gudgel attended college at Johns Hopkins, where she built an interest in the inequities surrounding gender and public health. While in school she worked for organizations seeking to improve women’s healthcare access, and protect tenants from eviction and exploitation in Baltimore housing. Since moving to New York she has done extensive community organizing and service provision with the city’s homeless populations through the association of Sant’Egidio. She is looking forward to translating a legal education into advocacy and better policy.
Shana Iden graduated from Smith College in 2017, where she studied Government and English Literature. Prior to law school, Shana worked as a campus organizer at J Street, an organization advocating for an end to the occupation and a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a Stein Scholar, Shana is eager to explore the intersection of mass incarceration and voting rights.
Kevin JeanBaptiste graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2016, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in public administration. After graduating, Kevin worked as a Constituent Liaison for New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. providing constituent services for residents in South Jamaica & Far Rockaway. Since leaving the Senator’s office, Kevin has worked as a Community Coordinator at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office hosting public safety events and campaigns to build trust with communities in Manhattan. He now serves as the Supervisor of Community Engagement Coordinators overseeing several projects and initiatives designed to improve the quality of life and safety of residents throughout Manhattan. He’s very excited to develop legal tools to combat the inequities that exist in the criminal justice system.
Gina Kim recently graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with a Master in Human Rights Studies, where she concentrated in children’s rights and juvenile justice. She previously worked for Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute and interned at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. She graduated summa cum laude from Ewha Womans University in Seoul. Gina is excited to join a strong community of advocates as an incoming Stein Scholar and looks forward to pursuing a career in juvenile justice.
Aleezah Merali graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BS in Secondary Education and a BA in English. She pursued her goal of teaching under-served populations in Alexandria, VA for five years. After teaching at a court-ordered probation office school, she decided to leave the classroom with the hopes of using a law degree to promote systemic change and create better opportunities for students with low socioeconomic backgrounds. She has also spent time in developing countries, participating in service-oriented activities.
Akosua Opong-Wiredu graduated from American University in 2018 where she studied Law & Society, International Relations, and was a Politics, Policy, & Law Three-Year Scholar. While there, she interned at the Drug Policy Alliance advocating for the end of mass incarceration of Black people due to the War on Drugs. Her passion for human rights brought her to study in Chengdu, China where she took courses on human trafficking and international criminal organizations. After graduating, she worked as a Litigation Legal Assistant at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where she worked on several pro bono cases—from asylum requests to assisting the National Law Center on Homelessness’ COVID-19 response team.
Cristina Pardo graduated from Fordham University in 2019 with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. While there, she founded the Students for Disability Advocacy, the first student group made by and for disabled students at the university. After engaging with disability advocacy in more abstract terms through literature and theoretical frameworks, Cristina wanted to participate in actively building a more just and accessible society, and plans to do so by studying public interest law with the Stein Scholar Program at Fordham Law.
Sarah Seo is a Los Angeles native and 2016 graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in Psychology and Education Studies. Her experience as a writing tutor at the Cheshire Correctional Institution through the Center for Prison Education inspired her to apply for Teach for America, which brought her to New Orleans following graduation. For the last four years, Sarah has taught kindergarten at a Title I charter school in Jefferson Parish, LA. While sad to leave the classroom, Sarah is excited to be a Stein Scholar at Fordham Law and plans to use her degree to pursue her interests in criminal justice reform and educational inequality.
Gabriella Silva recently graduated from University of Hartford’s College of Arts and Sciences. She majored in Economics and International Studies with a concentration in Global Development. Gabriella served as president of the Hispanic & Latino Student Association where she spent time advocating for English Language Learners and volunteering with students in the Hartford area. She affirmed her interest in the law during her internship with Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP through the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. As a lawyer she hopes to fight for economic equity, immigrant rights, and/or criminal defense.