2021 Summer Public Interest Fellows

megan acosta

Megan Acosta graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo in 2018 with a B.A. in English Literature. Following graduation, she joined Teach for America as a 2018 corps member in Miami-Dade County, where she taught twelfth grade ELA at Homestead Senior High School. She also earned her M.Ed. in Education & Social Change from the University of Miami in 2020. During the summer of 2021, Megan served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Legal Services of Greater Miami in the Health and Income Maintenance Unit.

 

Jordan Brooks graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience from Kenyon College in 2013. Following graduation, he completed a post-baccalaureate premedical certificate program at Duquesne University. He then worked for four years for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center, researching traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. While there, Jordan graduated with his MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, where he was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society of Public Health. Currently, Jordan is an MD/JD candidate at the University of Miami, having completed two years of medical school and one year of law school. He has worked with numerous local organizations such as the UM Department of Community Service, the Miami Law Center for Ethics and Public Service and Human Rights Clinic, the Ladies Empowerment and Action Program, and Catalyst Miami. His areas of research include traumatic brain injury, neuroendovascular surgery, endoscopic spinal surgery, asylum seekers’ health, health disparities, public banking, and business and human rights. He has also taught community classes on nutrition, general wellness, fitness, resilience, and the neuropsychology of meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, and trauma. During the summer of 2021, Jordan served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at Legal Services of Greater Miami in the Health and Income Maintenance Unit.
 

jess chiasson

Jess Chiasson graduated magna cum laude from the College of William and Mary in 2018 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. During her undergraduate career, she focused on the relationship between religion and the American legal system. Following graduation, she conducted historical research on enslaved populations at Sherwood Forest Plantation. As a 2L at Miami Law, she is participating in the Human Rights Clinic. During the summer of 2021, she served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at the Office of the Miami-Dade State Attorney in the Human Trafficking Unit. 

 


kristen dagherKristen Dagher graduated from Arizona State University in May 2018 with a B.A. in Business Communications and an M.S. in the Science of Health Care Delivery from the College of Health Solutions. During her graduate program, she researched the increasing rate of physician burnout in Arizona and developed upstream intervention policies to be implemented as state legislation. After graduation, she worked in government relations at an immigration law firm and as a legal research intern under the compliance director at a non-profit community health center. As a 1L at Miami Law, Kristen joined the Health Law Society and served as an intern with the Center for Ethics and Public Service, where she researched health disparities in relation to COVID-19 in the Miami-Dade community. During the summer of 2021, Kristen served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Disability Law Project and Monroe County Unit.
 

melany danielsonMelany Danielson graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a B.S. in Zoology. She spent three years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cambodia, conducting community health projects relating to child nutrition and healthy behaviors among youth, as well as supporting staff and fellow volunteers as a volunteer leader. Upon returning to the US, Melany joined Citizens Climate Lobby to lobby Congress for sustainable solutions to the climate crisis, while mentoring a Cambodian Scholar attending university in the US with SHE-CAN. As a 1L at Miami Law, Melany interned with the Prisoner Legal Advocacy Network, where she focused on prisoners’ rights and the prison response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a 2L, Melany is participating in the Children & Youth Law Clinic, and continues to be a part of Miami Law Women, the Hispanic Law Society, the Environmental Law Society, the Environmental Justice Network, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. During the summer of 2021, Melany served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Disability Independence Group, as part of the litigation team.
 

catherine dremlukCatherine Dremluk graduated from the University of Miami in 2018 with a B.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Science with majors in Marine Science and Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She conducted research in the Ocean Acidification Lab and has dedicated her time to conservation efforts throughout South Florida and the Galapagos Islands. Catherine strives to use both her legal expertise and scientific background to address environmental management issues and to support communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice. As a 1L at Miami Law, she worked with the CEEJH Lab to develop a community-engaged research program to support local air quality monitoring efforts in Savannah, GA. As a 2L, she is participating in the Environmental Justice Clinic and serving as the Environmental Justice Chair of the Environmental Law Society. During the summer of 2021, Catherine served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at the City of Miami Beach Attorney’s Office.

cory hartsteinCory Hartstein graduated from the University of Florida in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. He was an active volunteer with the English Language Institute which assisted international students as they navigated American universities and learned conversational English. Prior to entering law school, Cory worked for AIPAC and ran the business development for a small technology startup in New York City. As a 2L at Miami Law, Cory is participating in the Health Rights Clinic and serving on the Executive Board of the Health Law Association. During the summer of 2021, he served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.


lauren jonesLauren Jones graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a B.A. in American Studies. In 2016, she graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School with a Master of Public Health degree. Following graduation, she worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician and Administrative Director for Autism Consulting and Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA, where she developed a passion for the intersection of health and law. At Miami Law, she is a member of the Black Law Student Association, Miami Law Women, and the Health Law Association. During the spring of her 1L year, she interned with the Center for Ethics and Public Service, researching and taking action on health disparities in Miami-Dade County. During the summer of 2021, Lauren served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Florida Health Justice Project.
 

teodora mafteiTeodora Maftei graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and minors in Chemistry and Healthcare Management. In 2018, she earned her Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Miami. Prior to law school, she spent two years working in healthcare innovation and strategy. As a 1L at Miami Law, Teodora served as a 1L representative in the Health Law Association and as an intern on the Center for Ethics and Public Service Health Disparities Team. During the summer of 2021, Teodora served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section within the Criminal Division.


jessica mayesJessica Mayes graduated from the American University in 2019 with a B.A. in Spanish and Language Studies and a minor in International Studies with a concentration in Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights. She was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority and held multiple leadership positions in the student government. She spent a year interning at a local law firm that specialized in immigration, which sparked her interest in the law and public interest. As a 1L at Miami Law, Jessica joined the National Lawyers Guild, Miami Law Women, and the Human Rights Society. As a 2L, she is participating in the Children & Youth Law Clinic. During the summer of 2021, Jessica served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender.
 


alyssa morrisAlyssa Morris graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2020 with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While in Boulder, she coached recreational gymnastics at a local gym and fostered animals through a local animal shelter. As a 2L at Miami Law, she is serving as a volunteer with the Overtown Youth Center. During the summer of 2021, she served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow at Dade Legal Aid in the Child Advocacy and Guardianship Divisions, where she addressed issues such as independent living, trafficking, immigration, and former foster youth guardianship.


 

megan norrisMegan Norris graduated from Emory University in 2018 with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology. She served as an intern with the American Red Cross, Gunster & Yoakley, LLP, and the Law Office of Judy Kim. Following graduation, she worked as a paralegal at Fragomen Worldwide, a national corporate immigration firm. During her two years at Fragomen, Megan assisted attorneys with drafting and submitting non-immigrant and permanent visa applications for foreign nationals. At Miami Law, Megan is vice president of the Human Rights Society, on the Executive Board of the Public Interest Leadership Board, vice-chair of UNetworking, and a member of Miami Law Women, the Technology Law Society, and Entertainment and Sports Law Society. As a 2L, she is participating in the Human Rights Clinic. During the summer of 2021, Megan served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Catholic Legal Services, a non-profit agency providing immigration-related legal services to low-income clients.
 

luisa paganiniLuisa Estrada Paganini graduated from cum laude from Georgetown University in 2016 with a B.A. in Government. She completed a fellowship with Venture for America and contributed research and writing to Facebook's Africa Public Policy Team, through the Business & Human Rights Group, on issues of digital rights, technology, and freedom of expression. Luisa worked on the Yang2020 presidential campaign as National Campaign Coordinator and managed Humanity Forward's COVID-19 Relief Fund. As a 1L Harvey T. Reid Scholar at Miami Law, she interned for the Center for Ethics and Public Service. During the summer of 2021, she served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Appellate Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
 

jessica palmaJessica Palma graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami in 2020 with a B.A. in Criminology and Philosophy. As an undergrad, Jessica worked as a restaurant manager, mentor and tutor, and a research assistant on several projects regarding crime and criminal justice. She was also on the executive board of UM’s Criminology Club and a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, Criminal Justice Honor Society. As a 1L at Miami Law, Jessica joined the Public Interest Leadership Board and was elected social advocacy co-chair of Miami Law’s Cannabis Law League. She also interned with a private criminal defense firm, focusing on pretrial motions and general trial advocacy respectively. During the summer of 2021, Jessica served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender.


diego rosetteDiego Rosette graduated from Columbia University in May 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science and a Concentration in Latin American Studies. He was a staff writer for the Columbia Spectator, a member of the Residence Hall Leadership Organization, and an inductee into Pi Sigma Alpha Mu, a Political Science Honors Society. Following graduation, he worked with political consultancies in Washington, DC and New York, where assisted with numerous campaigns involving progressive candidates and social advocacy issues. Since returning to Miami, he has been active in community projects, including volunteer work with Children of Inmates and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As a 2L at Miami Law, he is participating in the Immigration Clinic and is serving as a member of the Society of Bar and Gavel. During the summer of 2021, Diego served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender.
 

claudia stevensClaudia Stevens graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. At FSU, Claudia also studied social change and leadership, and her work often revolved around promoting equity and justice among underserved communities there. Prior to law school, she worked with the US Green Chamber of Commerce to help globalize its sustainable business coursework in an effort to reach international clients and appeal to other countries’ unique environmental challenges. During the summer of 2021, Claudia served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with P.E.E.R. Group, a non-profit focused on systemic change regarding environmental justice and sustainability. Her duties included advocating for the weatherization of homes in underserved communities to help protect against the unique threats posed by climate change in South Florida.
 

christian swanepoelChristin Swanepoel graduated summa cum laude from Bowling Green State University in 2018 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a specialization in Pre-Law. Prior to law school, she interned with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, where she worked with clients in the pretrial diversion program. As a 1L at Miami Law, Christin was elected as a Student Bar Association (SBA) Senator, acted as the co-chair of the Public Interest Committee, and volunteered with the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she prepared parole requests for individuals detained in ICE detention centers. As a 2L, she is participating in the Immigration Clinic and is serving as secretary of the Alliance Against Human Trafficking. During the summer of 2021, Christin served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender.
 

gabby teixeiraGabby Teixeira graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies – Economics and a minor in Human Rights. Following graduation, she worked in marketing for an impact investment asset management firm in South Florida. Later as a consultant at Deloitte, she led a pro bono consulting team in Miami and a sustainability group out of Chicago. Gabby is the president of Miami Law’s Insightful Mind Initiative, advocacy chair for the inaugural Mental Health Collective, a member of the Society of Bar & Gavel, and a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer. During the summer of 2021, Gabby served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with the Florida Justice Institute, focusing on prisoners' rights.