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Meet Our Students


Kathleen NorrisKathleen Norris

A combination of educational and experiential learning opportunities led to my passion in the field of foreign affairs and human rights. Along with obtaining a degree in political science and history, my study abroad program in India, Senegal, and Argentina narrowed my academic interests to the human rights field. After completing an independent study on symbolic speech and political inclusion of youth during my study abroad semester, I discovered that UC Law and its fellowship program would allow me to further pursue my interests in women’s rights, democratic implementation, and electoral inclusion. So far, I have been able to pursue these topics through my participation in the Human Rights Quarterly as well as special dinner events with human rights speakers from around the globe. The Urban Morgan program has given me a small, intimate environment to pursue my career goals and it has most importantly given me the freedom to go after my dreams with an individualized approach that would not otherwise be possible at a larger school.

Emily RobertsEmily Roberts

I graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in International Studies and Global Health, with a focus on African studies and human rights. When I heard about the amazing opportunities the Urban Morgan Institute provides to its students, as well as the chance to work on the Human Rights Quarterly, I was very intrigued. After attending the 30th Anniversary Conference for Urban Morgan, I was sold. I knew I wanted to be a part of the UC Law alumni striving to make an impact in the world in a variety of ways, all beginning with the choice to become an Urban Morgan Fellow. While in undergrad, I studied abroad in Botswana and fell in love with Southern Africa. I hope to use this summer internship opportunity to go back to South Africa and learn about human rights work with new eyes and a legally focused mind.

Rebecca SeipelRebecca Seipel

During my undergrad at Xavier University I developed a passion for serving immigrants while working for Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement in Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduation, this passion led me to work for the Jesuit Refugee Services in Johannesburg, South Africa and later for Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services in Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland, I witnessed how a legal degree can make positive change in the life of an individual and a community while observing the Catholic Charities legal department.
The Arthur Russell Morgan Fellowship was a driving force in my decision to attend UC law school. The Fellowship allows me to broaden my understanding of global human rights issues by attending regular discussions and dinners with distinguished visitors. Further, working with the Human Rights Quarterly helps me develop my editing skills. I look forward where the internship opportunities might take me on my journey to become a public interest immigration attorney.

Melanie Navamanikkam

As the daughter of Sri Lankan refugees, the plight of refugees and human rights has always been important to me. During my undergraduate career, it became clear that I felt passionate about making a real difference, and changing the way people think and feel regarding human rights. I began to explore human rights violations connected to key pieces of international policy, such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I am extremely proud to have been selected as an Arthur Russell Morgan Fellow. The program has given me to opportunity to work on the internationally recognized Human Rights Quarterly publication, and attend numerous dinners and discussions that highlight key human rights issues. I look forward to continuing my studies with UC Law and becoming a part of a system that advocates for positive policy changes and a fair justice system.



Caroline DrennanCarolina Drennen

As a Morgan Fellow, I find the networking opportunities provided as a fellow to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the program. As a Fellow, I have had the opportunity to be surrounded by diverse students who have a passion for change and social justice. I also have had the opportunity to meet with activists from around the world at the Human Rights Quarterly sponsored dinners. One of my favorite experiences, at one of the dinners, was when I got the opportunity to talk to a Sri Lankan Journalist as well as an Advocacy Officer from Afghanistan. As a videographer who has travelled around the world, I greatly value the opportunity to hear firsthand from people of various cultural backgrounds and learn about different culture perspectives. In 2015, I interned at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Los Angeles. Following the completion of law school I hope to find a way to combine my passion for video and social justice to promote legal lasting change.

Michael Lasonczyk

After studying abroad in Cuba, tutoring English as a second language elementary students, and graduating with a BA in Spanish and Political science my interest in pursuing a career in international or immigration law had been well established. Upon hearing about the opportunities provided to Arthur Russell Morgan Fellows in the form of exposure to the vanguard of scholarship in Human Rights through Human Rights Quarterly and summer externship opportunities, the choice to pursue a fellowship with the Institute was a no-brainer. I hope to use my experiences gained through my fellowship to make me a more passionate and learned advocate for Human Rights in the field of international or immigration law.

Elizabeth Newman

Before I came to UC Law, I worked at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, assisting attorneys and paralegals to secure health care and housing for low-income clients. This experience shaped my desire to join the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights to prepare for a practice in public interest law. I am drawn to the study of human rights as a way to look beyond American constitutional law for broader conceptions of rights and means of realizing them. This past summer, the Institute generously funded my internship at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights in Utrecht—an invaluable interdisciplinary research experience.


Andrew Hakala-Finch

The Urban Morgan Institute was the driving force behind motivation to attend University of Cincinnati College of Law. I have been a globetrotter since childhood and couple with a passion for history, geopolitics, and socioeconomic issues the institute has been the perfect fit for my studies. The Urban Morgan Institute as well as the Freedom Center have become particularly interested in the issues of human trafficking, both domestic and internationally. Due to the exposure from these programs I decided to spend my 1L summer in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with the NGO Child Workers In Nepal (CWIN). The experience was invaluable and something that I will always cherish. As I contemplate my future and career I have decided to dedicate a large part of my advocacy to bringing international human rights values and norms back to the United States.

Patrick Higgins

The Arthur Russell Morgan Fellowship in Human Rights has allowed me to develop the foundation for a career focused on bringing human rights home. As a part of the first graduating class from New York University’s Global Liberal Studies program, I had the unique opportunity to study and work in two metropolitan cities with rich human rights histories: New York, New York and Buenos Aires, Argentina. After living and learning in those cities, my passion for human rights studies and advocacy grew stronger and I knew that the Urban Morgan Institute was the place to continue my academic career. My role as a Morgan Fellow and background with the Spanish language took me to Bogotá, Colombia, where I spent my first summer working at Dejusticia, a human rights think tank focused on domestic and international human rights issues. I spent the following summer working with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality's Agricultural Worker and Immigrant Rights practice group in Toledo, Ohio. Following graduation, I will begin my career at the Ohio Poverty Law Center as an Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Justice for All Fellow.

Jonathan Hilton

During undergrad, I was a volunteer English-Spanish interpreter for Cincinnati's local Guatemalan population. The more I interpreted, the more often I was called in to assist attorneys in legal matters. University of Cincinnati Law and the Urban Morgan Institute have given me invaluable tools to help me continue to help others. They have urged me to expand my horizons, and I have now worked on human rights issues ranging from the flogging of prisoners in Botswana to the right to gay divorce right here in Ohio.

I chose the Urban Morgan Institute over programs at other schools specifically because of its congenial atmosphere and focus on ensuring each individual student succeeds. The program regularly brings students together on a daily basis in both formal and informal settings--something larger programs often aren't capable of doing. The Institute funded my summer clerkship after 1L year, sending me to clerk for Justice David Newman on the High Court of Botswana. Currently, I am working with Jones Day to litigate on behalf of unaccompanied minor immigrants.

Kelsi Steele

Managing Editor of the Human Rights Quarterly, 2015-2016

Kelsi N. Steele graduated from the University of Montana with a BA/MA in Political Science with an option in International Relations and Comparative Government. Her MA research focused on United States policies on international human rights treaties.  She chose to attend UC Law to continue her research in these areas as an Arthur Russell Morgan Human Rights Fellow. Kelsi will serve as the 2015-2016 Managing Editor of Human Rights Quarterly.  She is also a Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry Fellow and an Associate Member of the University of Cincinnati Law Review. In 2014, she interned with the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and volunteered with the United States Human Rights Network. In 2015, she will be interning with the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon.  Upon graduation, Kelsi plans to pursue a career in international human rights law to promote international peace and security both between states and within states.