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2018 Fellows


Erick Aguilar

Erick Aguilar, of Mount Olive, North Carolina, is a rising senior at Duke University majoring in Migration Geographies of Undocumented Labor as a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar and Point Scholar. He is interested in the intersection of immigration, globalization, and labor rights. Through his major, he studies how the geography of Central American migration to the U.S. is shaped by Frontera Sur, a Mexican policy enacted in 2014. Aguilar is president of Duke’s Individualized Majors Union, a first-generation mentor, and a community engager with Latino’s in the Deep South, where he has programmed events on helping low-income and undocumented people get access to HIV-prevention medication and care. He has worked as a Spanish instructor and field trip coordinator with Plantersville Summer Academy (a summer program for underprivileged students), an advisory intern with Ernst & Young, and has volunteered in Mexico City with La Casa Tochan, a refuge home for Central American migrants in the U.S. He hopes to pursue a J.D./Ph.D. in human geography and will work with ABF Research Professor Jothie Rajah during his summer fellowship.

Leilanie Martinez

Leilanie Martinez, of Los Angeles, California, is a graduating senior from the University of California, Berkeley majoring in legal studies and Chicanx studies. She is a self-described feminista who helps to empower women of color through her work as a senior resident assistant, Girl Scout co-troop leader, and researcher. Martinez is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and studies rights mobilization, issues of inequality, and access to justice. Her current research project explores how women of color facing evictions mobilize their housing rights using legal aid resources. She is an advocate for increased legal aid and volunteers at a community non-profit called Bay Area Legal Aid, where she works on furthering housing justice and reentry services. Martinez hopes to pursue a joint J.D. and Ph.D. in sociology of law to study issues of inequality and access to justice and will work with ABF Director Emeritus Robert Nelson during her summer fellowship.

Rebecca Lei

Rebecca Lei, of Alhambra, California, is a rising senior at the University of California, Berkeleypursuing a B.A. in legal studies. She is interested the intersection between law and the social sciences, particularly constitutional law and the experiences of minority groups within the legal system. Lei served as an AmeriCorps member in the Bay Area Division of JusticeCorps in 2016 working to improve access to justice by assisting self-represented litigants in minority and low-income communities. She is an active member of Berkeley’s Chinese Student Association and a research assistant in the Department of Legal Studies. She has also worked in her hometown community as a writing tutor at East Los Angeles College and volunteered at the Superior Courts of Los Angeles. In Spring 2018, she lived for a semester abroad in Rome, where she studied the political and sociological complexities of Roman society. Lei hopes to pursue a J.D. in law and will work with ABF Executive Director and Research Professor Ajay Mehrotra during her summer fellowship.

Wesley Chen

Wesley Chen, of Old Bridge, New Jersey, is a rising junior at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service majoring in international politics and pursuing a B.S. in foreign service and a certificate in American studies. He is interested in international law, foreign policy, economics, global migration, and the impact of the judicial system on democracy. He is currently working on a thesis focused on the counter-majoritarian difficulty in the U.S. Last year, he served as a research assistant to Professor Uday Chandra at Georgetown’s Center for International and Regional Studies and studied comparative perspectives on populism and fascism in democratic politics with a focus on contemporary India. At Georgetown, he has participated in Model United Nations and the Honor Council and served as an undergraduate teaching assistant and tutor. Last summer, Chen traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos as part of a service trip, where he assisted Syrian refugees. He hopes to pursue a J.D. to further his study in international law and will work with ABF Research Professor Terrence Halliday during his summer fellowship.

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