2024 George Van Amson Fellows

Obse Abebe - Columbia College, 2027 | Human Rights/Political Science | [email protected]

Obse Abebe

Obse, a rising Columbia College sophomore, will be interning with The Bronx Defenders’ (TBD) Community Organizing Team. TBD is a public defender nonprofit that transforms how members of the Bronx community are represented in the justice system and, in doing so, transforms the system itself. The Bronx Defenders pursues this mission through its nationally recognized Holistic Defense Model, which connects every client to an interdisciplinary team of advocates, including, but not limited to, criminal defense attorneys, social workers, benefits specialists, and investigators. This summer, Obse will focus on understanding the expressed needs of Bronx community members, engaging these members in collective organizing, leadership development, and civic participation.

Eloise Benoit - Barnard College, 2025 | Sociology | [email protected]

Eloise Benoit

Eloise, a member of the Barnard’s 2025 class, will be interning at The Fortune Society’s (Fortunes) Bronx location, specifically assigned to the Supervised Release Program (SRP). Fortunes works to facilitate successful reentry from incarceration and provide alternatives to incarceration, fostering community and supporting people, not prisons. The Fortune Society has become one of the nation’s most eminent reentry and justice-informed service organizations, providing formerly incarcerated people with the necessary skills, resources, and knowledge needed to break the cycle of crime and incarceration as well as building productive lives in their communities. Eloise will dedicate time between the food pantry management, case management, recruitment, and career development areas, specifically conducting outreach and consultations for participants referred to SRP.

Ines Legrand - Barnard College, 2027 | Economics/Political Science | [email protected]


Ines Legrand

Ines, a rising sophomore at Barnard College will be interning with Sanctuary for Families (SFF), a non-profit that provides free legal, clinical, and economic services to people experiencing gender-based violence. Ines was initially drawn to SFF due to its mission’s intersection of passion for social justice causes with legal advocacy. As someone extremely invested in gender-based social justice campaigns, specifically reproductive rights and domestic violence advocacy, SFF was the perfect fit for Ines. This summer, Ines will be working on the Family Law Project within SFF, which focuses on providing legal services to clients who require assistance with family law court. Ines’s role will encompass an array of responsibilities that include direct client communications, writing petitions, and outreach projects as well as writing their monthly newsletters for clients, assisting in the planning and production of podcasts, and setting up and working outreach events at libraries and community events. 

Katherine Mora - Columbia College, 2025 | English/Race & Ethnicity Studies | [email protected]


Katherine Mora

As a member of the Columbia College class of 2025, Katherine will intern at the Central American Legal Assistance (CALA) this summer. CALA supports New York’s immigrant community through legal services, specifically protecting and defending Central and South American asylum-seekers and expanding the civil rights of all immigrants. Katherine plans to use this internship experience is to learn more about being a human rights advocate and strengthen advocacy skills for refugees and asylum seekers. More specifically, Katherine will conduct screenings for potential clients, lead intake interviews for onboarding clients, and draft and present case summaries to the CALA team as well as edit and file legal documents, such as family reunification petitions, permanent residency applications, and work permit applications.

Cecilia Zuniga - Barnard College, 2026 | American Studies | [email protected]


Cecilia Zuniga

In the fall, Cecilia will be a third-year student at Barnard College. During the summer, Cecilia will intern at The Remedy Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the ongoing human rights crisis within our federal prison system. With a team of student volunteers and formerly incarcerated mentors, The Remedy Project strives to hold prison administrators accountable for abuse and neglect, demanding a departure from the punitive nature of staff punishment, and restoring humanity to people caught in an inhumane system. Cecilia will work on the Administrative Remedy Coordination team which functions as the main communication link between people on the inside and advocates on the outside. More specifically, Cecilia will manage individual casework of incarcerated members, oversee physical and email correspondence, prepare remedies for distribution, and organize Google Drive files as well as write administrative remedies on behalf of incarcerated members, while mentoring new student volunteers to learn the process.