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2014 Fellows

From left to right: Pedro Alfonso, Jose Aguayo, Kaitlyn Williams, and Elijah Porter

Kaitlyn Williams, a native of Grand Prairie, TX, is a rising junior at Stanford University.  She is pursuing a B.A. in Public Policy with a concentration in Law and the Legal System. Kaitlyn is particularly interested in social inequality, civil rights, and public welfare. Last summer Kaitlyn was selected to participate in Stanford’s Public Policy Institute, and it was through this intensive seminar she became fascinated by the symbiotic relationship between law and public policy. Kaitlyn also enjoys writing, and she currently serves on the advisory board for The Duck Stops Here, an on-campus blog aimed at helping students navigate the complexities of being in college. Kaitlyn has even been recognized for her own writing. In 2013 she received the prestigious Boothe Prize, which recognizes outstanding expository and argumentative writing by first-year students, for her paper “When Gaming Goes Bad: An Exploration of Online Videogame Harassment Towards Female Gamers.” Aside from academics Kaitlyn is heavily involved with the athletic community at Stanford. She is a sprinter on the Varsity Track & Field team, balancing her studies with a rigorous training and competition schedule. When Kaitlyn is not running, she is an appointed track team representative on Cardinal Council, which is a coalition of scholar-athletes representing all of Stanford’s varsity programs. In the future, Kaitlyn plans to attend law school or pursue a Masters in Public Policy, leading to a career promoting social justice and alleviating societal issues. Kaitlyn is looking forward to a transformative and stimulating summer and the opportunity to work alongside Research Professor Rebecca Sandefur

Jose Aguayo is a Los Angeles native and rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is double majoring in History and Political Science with concentrations in American Studies and International Relations. Currently, he is interested in civil and political rights, specifically issues relating to voting rights and affirmative action in the present day. Other academic interests include: institutional development, Constitutional law and the Supreme Court. Most recently, Jose was a Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholar at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was introduced to Criminal Law, Family Law, and Legal Writing. At UCLA, Jose has been involved in student government for the past two years. He was an intern in the undergraduate President’s office and currently serves as Intern Director, where he works with first-year and transfer students to introduce them to student government, programming and getting involved on the UCLA campus. In addition, Jose is an AmeriCorps member; where he has had the pleasure of assisting low-income preschool children develop language and literacy skills. Previously, Jose served as an intern to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38), and volunteered in Ms. Sanchez’s re-election campaign. He is in the College Honors Program at UCLA and is a member of the Los Angeles Ephebian Society. He enjoys running and hopes to complete his third LA Marathon in 2015. Jose would like to pursue a career in legal academia and aspires to be a Professor of Constitutional Law. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a joint JD/Ph.D in Political Science. He is thrilled to work with Research Professors Traci Burch and Victoria Woeste.

Pedro Alfonso, a native of Los Angeles, CA, is a rising senior at St. John's University, majoring in Government and Politics, with minors in Spanish and Rhetoric & Public Address. His fields of interest include multilateral interventions, social policy, minority rights, urban development and the politics of Latin America. Currently, he is editing for publication "Rent Control, Rent Stabilization and its Adverse Effects on Housing in New York City." He is a Writing Consultant at the University's nationally award winning Writing Center, where he assists undergraduate, graduate and alumni students in all stages of the writing process. Pedro also serves as a Writing Fellow, in a faculty-student pedagogical program, which allows him to collaborate with a designated professor to develop writing assignments and methods of giving feedback to student writers. As a result of his Writing Center work, Pedro represented St. John's at the Conference of College Composition and Communication in Las Vegas, NV and at the Northeast Writing Centers Association Conference in Durham, NH by presenting student research titled "Scribing, Inscribing, Describing: Problem-Posing an Organic Tutor Development Program." Pedro has also been very involved in student government and student organizations. During his freshman year, he represented St. John's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in Student Government, Inc. As a sophomore, Pedro co-founded the St. John's chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the progressive ideas and legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Last summer, he interned at the district office of California Congressman Adam Schiff, where he researched and wrote briefing memos for the Congressman and staff.  Ultimately, Pedro plans to pursue an interdisciplinary degree in Law and Public Policy. His interest is in facilitating public private partnerships to establish infrastructure in underdeveloped communities. He is excited to be working with ABF Director Robert L. Nelson this summer.

Elijah Porter, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is a rising senior at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, GA. Appointed one of 75 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Ambassadors under President Obama’s White House Initiative for HBCUs, Porter is majoring in English with a concentration in writing. He is interested in the correlation between poverty and the prison industrial complex, human rights, social justice, political theory, and public policy. Elijah has previously interned in the Office of the Legislative Counsel in Atlanta, where he received firsthand experience of the legislative process and drafted over 150 privileged resolutions for State Representatives and Senators during the 2014 Georgia General Assembly Session. In the summer of his sophomore year, he studied contract law, legal writing and the role of law in a race seminar at Georgia State University's Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program. During his time at Fort Valley State University, Elijah held the positions of drum major of the Blue Machine Marching Band and president of FVSU Toastmasters Club. He also worked as a writing consultant in the university’s writing center to assist students with writing academic papers. His other achievements include becoming a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Ambassador, Chief Justice of Student Government Association, vice president of Sigma Tau Delta, an International English Honor Society, and a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Inc. Elijah plans to pursue a JD and a Master in Public Policy. His future career path includes serving as an attorney, community activist, and legislator, which accentuate his unwavering passion for public service and commitment to social justice. Elijah looks forward to working alongside Research Professor John Hagan.

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