2020-2021 George Van Amson Fellows

Eriife Adelusimo

Columbia College, 2022 l Political Science

Internship Site: Legal Outreach

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Eriife will be working alongside law students at Legal Outreach to create and administer a five-week legal education program that will serve rising ninth-graders. Legal Outreach helps prepare urban youth from underserved communities in New York City to compete at high academic levels. Eriife will spend the first half of her internship in training and development to create the summer curriculum, and the second half she will help teach and mentor the program participants in time management, extracurricular involvement, etc. Every Friday Eriife will lead a cohort of students on field trips to different courts and law firms throughout the city. The final week of the program will culminate in a large mock trial competition that Eriife will help coach and support. 


Ari Jones

Columbia College, 2021 l Anthropology and Human Rights Concentration

Internship Site: Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Ari will work for the legal and advocacy departments of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP). QDEP is a project under the Center for Transformative Action, an educational nonprofit. QDEP aims to provide legal referrals, commissary funding, court accompaniment, and post-release support to LGBT+ and HIV-positive immigrant detainees and their families. As an intern, Ari will assist QDEP staff in performing court accompaniments and legal referral services as well as assist the community organizing staff in an effort to promote outreach programs, such as the Prisoner Pen Pal Program. Ari will help organize outreach at large events throughout the city to raise awareness and support the important advocacy work. 


Christina Kim

The School of General Studies, 2022 l Sociology

Internship Site: Room to Grow

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Christina will work with Room to Grow. Room to Grow’s mission is to support the growth and care of babies whose families struggle with poverty and limited resources by providing a long-term, therapeutic program that begins at the third trimester of pregnancy and continues on into age three. As an intern, Christina will develop a community outreach guide and plan that is specifically tailored to the new location in the South Bronx. Christina will play a vital role assisting in the transition by making connections with the local community, raising awareness to potential clients who may benefit from Room to Grow services. 


Mabel Smith

Columbia College, 2022 l Economics

Internship Site: The Brave House at Urban Justice Center

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Mabel will serve as the Development Intern at The Brave House. The Brave House is a nonprofit that provides free legal support, community space, and holistic services to young immigrant women that are survivors of gender-based violence. Mabel will supervise the organization’s budget management by keeping track of donations, applying for grants, and general bookkeeping. As an intern, Mabel will experience the financial inner workings of the nonprofit, while also engaging in the supportive services like English lessons, art therapy, self-defence classes, meditation, college and career advising and a mentorship program. 


Jahnavi Zondervan

Columbia College, 2022 l Psychology and African American Studies

Internship Site: The Petey Green Program

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Jahnavi will intern at The Petey Greene Program this summer. The Petey Greene Program fights for education rights and services for incarcerated people and supports incarcerated students in their academic pursuits by providing them with trained, capable tutors. As an intern, Jahnavi will continue tutoring at Rikers Island and will help the NY Directors in administrative duties like attending meetings with the Department of Corrections, and maintaining tutor records. Jahnavi will help plan and supervise the program’s informational events and workshops, including book talks, re-entry simulations, and documentary screenings. As a special project, Jahnavi will work toward creating art based opportunities that will hopefully inspire more enthusiasm and motivation to participate in activities within the facility.