The American Bar Foundation (ABF) has chosen five outstanding undergraduate scholars to take part in the 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. These students were selected from a highly competitive pool of applications for their exceptional work in their undergraduate careers and their interest in the mission of the ABF. The 2023 Fellows are Ahmad Abdulwadood, Dianna Garzón, Tasfiya Kashem, Victoria Ylizaliturri, and Judy Zhang.
The SURF program allows students from underrepresented backgrounds who are considering careers in the field of law or social science to gain a hands-on learning experience with an ABF researcher over the course of eight weeks. SURF Fellows also gain unparalleled insight into a career in law, scholarship, and legal aid through site visits to local law firms, legal aid clinics, law schools, and advocacy groups.
The 2023 Fellows will join a community of alumni that have gone on to make significant contributions in the fields of law and social science, working as legal practitioners, deans, and professors in the fields of government, social policy, and business. Notable alumni include Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, former California Supreme Court Associate Justice and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1992); Erika George, the Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (1992); Danielle Holley-Walker, President of Mount Holyoke College (1995); and Grey Mateo-Harris, Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP (2004).
“The time that the SURF Fellows spend at the ABF each summer since 1988 is always a special time,” said ABF Interim Executive Director Bryant Garth. “They enrich the ABF with their energy, intelligence, sensitivity to vital social issues both domestically and globally, and, despite being undergraduates, truly remarkable records of societal and scholarly achievement. In addition to enriching the ABF, we know that the Fellows will obtain lasting insights into sociolegal research from their ABF mentors and the ABF’s unique interdisciplinary community.”
The SURF program has received generous support from the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Foundation; the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC); Walmart; Kirkland & Ellis, LLP; AT&T; and several individual donors.
The ABF also welcomes the 2023 Communications Intern, Dania Siddiqi, a rising senior at the University of Chicago, who will be assisting the ABF Communications team in creating digital and print content.
Meet the 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows:
Ahmad Abdulwadood is a rising senior at Bowdoin College. He is pursuing a double major in Africana Studies and Government and Legal Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies. Ahmad will be working with ABF Research Professor Laura Beth Nielsen and her research on legal consciousness, true crime podcasts, and gender violence on college campuses.
Dianna Garzón is a Chicago native and a rising senior at Yale University, where she studies Ethics, Politics, and Economics, with a concentration in international political economy and development economics in Latin America. Dianna will be researching economic analysis of court systems with ABF Research Professor William H.J. Hubbard this summer.
Tasfiya Kashem is a rising junior in the Honors Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she has created a double concentration in Critical Socio-Legal Studies and Carcerality and Abolitionist Theory. Tasfiya will be working with ABF Research Professor Christopher Schmidt on his book project examining the history of the United States Supreme Court and its evolving relationship with the American people since 1930.
Victoria Ylizaliturri is a junior in the College of Letters & Science Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is pursuing a BA in Political Science and Honors Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research. Victoria will be assisting ABF Postdoctoral Fellow Hardeep Dhillon with her research on the history of the exclusion of South Asian immigrants in the United States.
Judy Zhang is a rising senior at the University of Chicago where she studies Political Science and Philosophy with a particular interest in human rights. Judy will be working with ABF Research Professor Tom Ginsburg on his project analyzing the legal characteristics of international organizations.
Meet the 2023 Communications Intern:
Dania Siddiqi is a rising senior at the University of Chicago majoring in Philosophy and Cinema & Media Studies. Dania is looking forward to working with the ABF team this summer and applying to law school this upcoming fall, where she hopes to pursue a career in Entertainment Law.
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.