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2020 Gallatin Global Fellows

Akshara Anirjita

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Fellowship Organization Location: India
ActionAid India

Akshara is an MPA student at the Wagner School of Public Service, concentrating in international development. She completed her bachelor’s in political science and history at NYU’s College of Arts and Science in 2019. She is interested in looking at how women of color in “developing” nations are both subjects of law and catalysts. During an internship with ActionAid, Akshara studied the intersectionality of poverty and caste and their effects on access to education in rural India. This summer, she will provide remote support for ActionAid’s India chapter with the mission to illuminate women’s work, both unpaid and informal, within the legal system and in global economic calculations of national productivity. Her study aims to calculate the “exploitation rate” of such work and the rate that it effectively cross-subsidizes the rest of the economy, with a light to refining international labor laws and national policy.


Dylan Brown

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Fellowship Organization Location: USA (New York & California)
Rikers Public Memory Project (RPMP) and Critical Resistance

Dylan is a junior at Gallatin with research interests in critical race theory, carceral studies, displacement, and forced migration. His self-designed course of study focuses on the intersection of US settler-colonialism, the construction of race, and the disposability of Black bodies within carceral systems. Dylan’s work experience in US direct-service and anti-carceral organizations has informed his desire to better understand the harms of the prison industrial complex globally. He is passionate about leveraging academic resources for communities harmed by the carceral state. This summer, he will work remotely with the Rikers Public Memory Project (RPMP), an initiative that seeks to utilize storytelling and oral history strategies as tools to enact justice, and with Critical Resistance, an organization that seeks to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex. Dylan will transcribe oral interviews documenting public memory of Rikers Island, one of the largest jailing complexes in the world; aid in coordinating with partner organizations; and manage RPMP’s social media. He will assist Critical Resistance primarily with campaign research.


Esther H. Choo

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Fellowship Organization Location: USA (New York)
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

Esther is a master’s student in the Department of Anthropology at GSAS, studying human skeletal biology with a focus on forensic anthropology, human rights, and post-conflict resolution. She is interested in critically comparing mass exhumations of graves in post-conflict regions impacted by political violence and civil war. This summer, Esther will intern remotely with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an organization that uses medicine and science to fight against human rights violations. As a research intern, Esther will assist the PHR research and investigation team, contribute to the development of advocacy strategies, and aid in other PHR projects. Through this fellowship, Esther hopes to gain valuable hands-on experience and continue to enhance her anthropological research on issues related to human rights and transitional justice.

Dariely De La Cruz

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Fellowship Organization Location: Dominican Republic
El Centro para la Observación Migratoria y el Desarrollo en el Caribe (OBMICA)

Dariely is a sophomore at Gallatin pursuing a concentration in race, social justice, and public policy, a minor in Spanish, and pre-law. Coming from a high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhood in the South Bronx, she envisions herself as an agent of change working to solve the underlying causes of such injustices. A Dominican American and Afro-Latina daughter of an immigrant father and a first-generation-student mother, Dariely is passionate about being a voice for the underrepresented. This summer, she will telework with El Centro para la Observación Migratoria y el Desarrollo en el Caribe (OBMICA), a think tank focused on advancing migrants’ rights and social development, to explore the treatment of Haitians in DR, investigate the superior and inferior complex in Haitians and Dominicans, and learn more about the denial of blackness in DR and its history and deportation of Haitians from DR. She hopes her work can contribute to a more democratic consolidation and more inclusive citizenship.


Stephanie Holguin

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Fellowship Organization Location: Dominican Republic & We Are All Dominican

Stephanie is a graduate student at Gallatin concentrating on human rights related to trauma and healing, with a specific interest in working with women of the African Diaspora. In addition to her social work background and nonprofit partnerships, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, where she focused on global health issues and injustices. This summer, she will partner remotely with the Dominican organization and with the We Are All Dominican movement to help them in their mission of promoting transnational solidarity with Dominicans of Haitian descent. She will produce social media content that raises awareness about denationalization in the Dominican Republic and will help facilitate workshops. Stephanie will also help translate's justice projects and assist with their virtual fundraising events for Dominican families of Haitian descent, who are facing additional adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic.


John Jamil Kallas

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Fellowship Organization Location: Lebanon
Salon Syria

John is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Middle Eastern Islamic Studies and focusing on political geography and social mobilization, especially related to the Levant and Iraq. Growing up a Syrian in America during the 2011 uprisings and coming from a familial tradition of radical organizing and scholarship, John was motivated to study and organize around the Middle East and North Africa with a specific interest in connecting historical and contemporary Syria. This summer, John will telework with Salon Syria, a Beirut-based publication that promotes the work of Syrian writers worldwide. He will primarily co-edit the Syria Resource Page, framing the human rights crisis in Syria within a larger historical and international context to gain a deeper understanding of it. He plans to use this research to write about the transformation of human rights, existence, and struggle in Syria.


Xandi McMahon

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Fellowship Organization Location: USA (New York)
Domestic Workers United

Xandi is currently in their junior year at Gallatin concentrating in women’s and labor history and minoring in French. In their studies, they examine the historical underpinnings of “women’s work,” consider reproductive labor in a political economy framework, and unravel what it means to create and write history. As a Human Rights Fellow, Xandi is looking to explore the following questions: What does it mean to be a woman and to be a worker? How is emotional, sexual, and reproductive labor understood and valued? How can the monetization of care labor and intimacy be both exploitative and empowering? How do we embody ourselves in the work we do?


Erin O'Brien

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Fellowship Organization Location: USA (New York)
PEN America

Erin graduated from Princeton University in 2016 with a BA in Near Eastern studies and a concentration in Persian studies. Originally from Washington DC, Erin moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where she lived for three years studying Turkish and running communications and recruitment for a technology company. Influenced by her years in Istanbul, she is interested in disappearance, body politics, US involvement in Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s, and how this past has affected contemporary Turkish society. This summer, Erin will work remotely as a Writers at Risk intern for the Free Expression Program at PEN America. She will also support a variety of NGOs and activist organizations in Turkey, related to her thesis research. In all of her projects, Erin will be engaged primarily in translation, drafting content, editing, and research.


Nithya Reddy

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Fellowship Organization Location: India
Gender at Work

Nithya is a junior at Stern double majoring in economics and psychology. She is interested in how social enterprises can affect widespread change beyond the narrative of profit. Her business and psychology background allows her to understand how individual decisions influence global markets. She is looking forward to working this summer with Gender at Work, a consulting firm advocating for gender equality in India. She will conduct research on how COVID-19 impacts women differently in India. She is also looking forward to leveraging her business experience to accelerate and support social change in Andhra Pradesh while reconnecting with her Telugu roots.


Brian Ruiz

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Fellowship Organization Location: USA (New York)
Radical Love Consciousness

Brian is a junior at Gallatin concentrating in prison abolition. He has had experience working both inside and outside the criminal legal system through his internship with the Bronx Defenders’ Community Organizing Project, where he was able to organize with local community members and grassroots organizations on issues related to carcerality. For his fellowship project, he will explore the effects of the recently approved jails being built in New York City. Over the summer, he will work with Radical Love Consciousness, a self-funded community grassroots organization focused on the idea of “radical love” as a verb and revolutionary mindset that demands the liberation of all those who have been marginalized and oppressed. Brian will work with others to develop a documentary series that highlights the voices of people directly impacted by the opening of the new jails, as well as a popular political education course for local community members about prison abolition.


Annissa Saleh

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Fellowship Organization Location: Argentina
UNHCR Argentina

Annissa is a junior at Gallatin with a concentration entitled “The Art and Science of Childhood.” This summer, she will work remotely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the operational response to the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in the Southern Cone, focusing primarily on Venezuelan refugees and families. She currently works as a research assistant at the NYU Infant Action Lab, where she is learning how to code and analyze infant movement and language. Her passions—although far and wide—ultimately lie in the study of children actively shaping, rather than being passive actors, in the world.