IILJ Scholars in J.D. & J.D.-LL.M. Programs
For Graduate Scholars, see separate listing.
The Institute for International Law and Justice each year selects a small group of outstanding J.D. students as IILJ Scholars. The Program provides carefully tailored individualized mentoring and opportunities to this group. Scholars work closely with the Law School's permanent and global faculty members in international law on joint research projects. They participate in the development of ideas and scholarship with other IILJ JD and Graduate Scholars from around the world, and with Visiting Fellows and Researchers. They are carefully selected to draw upon, and enrich, an exceptionally fertile and energetic intellectual community.
IILJ Scholars take part in IILJ events throughout their time at law school. The third year students, together with IILJ LL.M. and Graduate Scholars, typically participate also in a weekly IILJ seminar on international law research and scholarship, designed to assist them in producing far-reaching research papers for eventual publication.
Scholars are selected either before coming to Law School, or at the end of their second year. Many stay at the Law School for a 4th year, in the IILJ's J.D.-LL.M. program.
NYU 's pioneering J.D.-LL.M. program for prospective academics and international law specialists is believed to be the only one of its kind in international law in the U.S.
Recent cohorts of Scholars have taken up a range of positions following graduation. Many Scholars accept clerkships in US Circuit and District Courts, the US Court of International Trade, in international courts, including the International Court of Justice. Some take up positions in leading firms (including, in the period 2008-2011, Skadden; White & Case; Freshfields; Debevoise & Plimpton; Sidley Austin and Cleary Gottlieb) or in government, particularly the State Department. Other Scholars are undertaking fellowships with a range of NGO and advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Reproductive Rights and New Orleans Public Defenders. More information about the opportunities for Scholars to work with different organizations both during and following the J.D. is available under Professional Experience.
Chelsea graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with Distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 with degrees in both Political Science and Spanish Literature. While at Wisconsin, Chelsea worked for various elected officials, but her most compelling experience was a summer internship with Amnesty International USA advocating for human rights in the Americas. This internship strengthened her desire to better understand how culture, education, and poverty interact in the Americas. Upon graduation, Chelsea moved to Nicaragua to serve as an Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps. For over two years she experienced the country's rich culture and complex political system while working to improve teaching practices, impacting over 500 English teachers on a national level. After completing her service, Chelsea spent seven months in rural El Salvador as a Youth Development Response Volunteer for Peace Corps Response working with at-risk youth in her community. While at NYU, she aspires to learn more about the intersection of governmental policy and international law as it relates to international development and human rights.
Mikaela was awarded the Blyth Cambridge Scholarship in 2009 for three years' study at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. After graduating with an Honors BA in 2012, she moved to Japan as a graduate researcher under the Government of Japan’s Future Leaders' program. She spent the next two years pursuing a Masters degree in International Relations at Waseda University in Tokyo. Her thesis focuses on the Tokyo Tribunal (International Military Tribunal of the Far East), its strategic function within Occupation policy, and its legacy in Japan’s postwar reconciliation process. Mikaela's research interests lie at the intersection of international law and international security studies. They include international tribunals, transitional justice, humanitarian law relating to conflict-afflicted populations, and East Asian regionalization. In her free time, Mikaela enjoys traveling and working on her French and Japanese.
Nathaniel graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a degree in philosophy. He focused on moral and political theory and won an award for his work in those subfields. While at Stanford, he was a research assistant at Philosophy Talk Radio, and lived for two years in a cooperative living house, which helped spark his interest in negotiation and conflict resolution. After graduating, he worked on electoral and issue campaigns as a community organizer. At NYU he plans to study trade, investment and environmental treaties, and the linkages between them.
Tucker (Tess) Graham
Tess graduated magna cum laude from Westminster College with a major in Economics and a minor in Philosophy. While there, she served as Captain of the nationally competitive Ethics Bowl team and earned an Honors Program Research Grant to study divergent assumptions in theories of consumer demand during deflation. As the Arab Spring flared, her interests focused on the Middle East; her undergraduate thesis examined economic catalysts for the Arab Spring. She completed a master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah, focusing on legal and economic origins of unrest in postcolonial states. She has worked for the last year as a Research Associate to Professor Benedict Kingsbury, studying inter-institutional interactions between, and the uses of indicators by, regulators and illicit actors. At NYU, Tess hopes to return to the study of structural causes of—and policy solutions to—conflict, particularly in the Middle East.
Claire graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 2015 with degrees in International Relations and Economics. While at Tufts, Claire worked as a research assistant with the Economics department conducting an impact assessment of the International Labor Organization program, Better Work. Based on her interests in labor migration and international labor standards, Claire wrote a senior honors thesis examining forced labor in Jordanian apparel factories, for which she received highest thesis honors. Claire has spent time in San Jose, Costa Rica doing translation work for an environmental NGO, and studied in Santiago, Chile for a semester. Claire’s interests include the intersections of law and economic development, and issues of international labor migration.
Caroline Zielinski graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Interested in international security and organizations, her thesis focused on cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations on international security threats, as per the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism stipulated in the 2003 European Security Strategy. During her undergraduate career, she conducted research about the challenges facing European think tanks, interned for the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, and served as online editor for the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations. At NYU, she is interested in studying inter-institutional relations, European Union law, and national security law.
Suraiya-Asmau Zubair Banu
Suraiya graduated from Oxford University in 2012 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Before coming to NYU she worked on Nigeria’s 2015 general elections at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, where she explored her interest in democratic development. Suraiya previously worked at the Wilson Center in Washington DC, where she conducted research on the history of Islamic law in West Africa, and co-authored a paper on Muslim women’s rights in Northern Nigeria. She hopes to continue working on African affairs, particularly in the areas of human rights, institutional design and anti-corruption.
Jacob is curious about unsettled populations, “rogue” states, racialism, and historiography. Combining all these interests, at Harvard he authored a thesis on the revitalization of the Cuban Jewish community in the context of a post-totalitarian Cuba, after spending six months in Havana on an academic license. He recently extended this project on a Fulbright Research Grant at Tel Aviv University, exploring the migration of these community members to – and later from – the State of Israel. His writing has been recognized by a number of organizations, including the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, the Latin American Jewish Studies Association, and the Sales Prize Competition. At various times Jacob has worked, interned, and volunteered for the Sunlight Foundation, the Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, the Israel Religious Action Center, the Harvard Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Ta’ayush, and other social impact organizations.
Amith graduated from Bard College in 2012 as a Political Studies major with a Middle Eastern Studies concentration. Before attending NYU Law, he lived in Cairo, Egypt, where he was the Media Coordinator for a refugee services NGO. He is a committed Palestine solidarity activist and an anti-war activist, and has worked extensively to those ends as a student organizer. He spends summers teaching English in the Rashidieh refugee camp in Southern Lebanon. He is interested in studying international law with specific foci on the laws of occupation, armed conflict, international criminal law, and refugee rights. His writings are occasionally published in Middle East Monitor and the Arab Studies Institute's Jadaliyya.
Andrew graduated with distinction from the University of Minnesota with a degree in history and a minor in economics. He spent the summer of 2009 interning with public health NGOs in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where he also acquired an interest in French private investment in former colonies. In the summer of 2011 he received the University of Minnesota's Donovan Scholarship, allowing him to travel to archives in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Yaoundé to research the entanglements of French development aid and private industry in Cameroon from the 1950s through the '70s. Upon graduation Andrew received a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue an MA in history at the University of Sussex, where he researched international law in the writings of Bartolomé de las Casas, conflicts between utilitarian and natural-rights doctrines in nineteenth-century France, and the metaphysical and political thought of Pierre Bayle. Andrew's interests include issues of economic development and the intersection of sovereignty and international institutions.
Olivia graduated with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 2012 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Interested in the relationship between these two fields, Olivia completed her honors thesis on the origin and evolution of Peace and Conflict Studies and Security Studies. At Swarthmore, Olivia took on a number of leadership positions, including Co-President of the Student Council. Throughout college, Olivia was involved in a range of advocacy groups as well as mentoring programs for local middle school and high school students. Following graduation, Olivia spent a year as a Program Assistant with the Quaker United Nations Office in New York City. There she focused on the peacebuilding actions and architecture of the United Nations, as well as on the process surrounding the creation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Stephanie graduated from the Politics Honors program at the University of Virginia with a degree in Government and Foreign Affairs and a minor in Mathematics. Building upon her experiences working at both the Institute for the Study of War and Amnesty International, Stephanie’s honors thesis analyzed the constitutional gender quota system in Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga. She won the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Award for the best undergraduate essay focused on women, gender, and/or sexuality. After graduating from UVA, Stephanie returned to her math and engineering roots and worked for a small software development company. At NYU she hopes to delve further into issues of transitional justice and constitutional change in post-conflict countries.
Michelle graduated from Duke University with a degree in Public Policy and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, concentrating in Chinese language and culture. Particularly interested in the relationship between China and Taiwan, her undergraduate thesis analyzed the development of cross-Strait relations and examined the impact of economic relations on political development. During her undergraduate experience, she worked with both an education and community building NGO in Cape Town, South Africa and the United Nations Information Center in Washington, DC. Hoping to deepen her understanding of China and its role in the global community, she spent a year teaching and working in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Yunnan.
Andrew graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2009 with a degree in Hispanic Studies and a strong interest in the political and social transformations in Latin American societies. After spending a semester in Bolivia, he wrote an honors thesis on differing representations of the indigenous in the country’s new constitution, and went on to complete a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship in northern Argentina. After working for a year as an advocate for low-income individuals in the civil legal services department of the Bronx Defenders, he returned to Argentina to complete an MA in International Relations at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Buenos Aires, and worked for a year as a grant writer for a local legal nonprofit, the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ). At NYU, Andrew hopes to explore his wide range of interests, which include immigration, labor and the human rights implications of national security policies.
Nabil’s interests center on political theory and legal philosophy. Nabil has a B.A. with high honors from Wesleyan University, where his thesis addressed the ethics and political theory of Jürgen Habermas. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, Nabil's dissertation, "A Contextualist Theory of Legitimacy," aims at improving the understanding of non-democratic sources of political legitimacy. At NYU he hopes to explore questions regarding the legitimacy of global governance.
Haley graduated with highest honors from the University of Virginia in 2011 with degrees in Artistic Policy and Russian & East European Studies. Her honors thesis considered through the lens of contemporary philosophy the state-building implications of National Socialist policies regulating dance. After graduating from UVa, Haley came to NYU Law where she has continued her interdisciplinary pursuits, which have been varied in topic ranging from art law to the law of war but have always maintained a thematic continuity of philosophy, culture, and international studies. Haley’s current research interests focus on the intersection between international law and legal philosophy, particularly the work of H.L.A. Hart.