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International and Comparative Law Programs
Applied Human Rights

Center for Applied Human Rights

Experiential learning through human rights advocacy

The Center for Applied Human Rights at Vermont Law School provides opportunities for research and advocacy training on cutting-edge issues in human rights law and policy.  The Center also serves as a focal point for human rights-related events at the law school. Student Human Rights Fellows hone their skills and deepen their understanding of international law as they engage in projects for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) under the supervision of Professor Stephanie Farrior.  Through hands-on learning experience, students gain exposure to real-world issues of human rights theory and practice, interact directly with international organizations and grassroots rights advocates, and build their professional network.

2014 Projects and Project Partners

ARTICLE 19, the freedom of expression NGO; based in London.
Two students are developing a report on attacks on environmental activists and media covering environmental issues in Europe. The report will be submitted jointly by Article 19 and Vermont Law School’s Center for Applied Human Rights to the Aarhus Compliance Committee for the June 2014 Meeting of the Parties (MoP) to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).

Another student is examining multiple issues of freedom of expression and assembly in relation to social media and protest. This work will inform the development of a standard-setting instrument on protection of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in peaceful protest.

A student is conducting research and analysis in support of CRIN’s campaign to end sexual violence against children in religious institutions, launched to follow up on CRIN’s shadow report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Child Sexual Abuse and the Holy See: The Need for Justice, Accountability and Reform.

A student is working with LGBT activists in Burundi to prepare a shadow report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in preparation for the Committee’s review this October of Burundi’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She’s skyping with them in French every week as they work together on this project.

A student is conducting research and analysis in support of a project of the Inter-American Commission’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women regarding access to information in addressing violence against women in the Americas.

2014 Human Rights Fellows

Sarah Truckle

Sarah Truckle graduated cum laude with a double major in Business Management and Political Science from Johnson State College and then earned a Master's in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. After earning her master's degree, Sarah completed the Accelerated Language Program at Dartmouth in French. Now enrolled in the JD program at Vermont Law School, Sarah has worked for The Clark Group, LLC, an environmental policy firm based in Washington, D.C. and the State's Attorney's Office in Chittenden County. She is currently a Google Grant Fellow at the Vermont Law School Center for Legal Innovation. Sarah is passionate about tackling the interrelated issues of natural resource management, corporate practices and human rights.


Kathryn Long

Kathryn Long holds a BA in Political Science from Union College, with a Minor in Spanish. For her undergraduate senior thesis she researched and analyzed the international refugee regime with a focus on the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in providing aid, using Haiti as a case study. In summer 2013 Kathryn was a legal intern at the South Royalton Legal Clinic, where she assisted political asylum applicants, counseled refugees in the Burlington area on their green card applications, and translated client letters from English to Spanish. Kathryn also spent her summer as a per diem house parent at Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, a residential school for at-risk children. Kathryn is passionate about developing solutions to international human rights issues pertaining to children, immigrants, refugees and displaced persons.


Crystal Abbey

Crystal Abbey has a BA in political science from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and an MA in history from Eastern Illinois University.  Following her first year at Vermont Law School, she was a law clerk at the United States Attorney's Office, District of Vermont.  In summer 2013 she studied International Criminal Law and the Impact and Legacy of the Holocaust on the Law in Nuremberg, where she gave an oral argument before the Honorable Geoffrey Robertson in legendary courtroom 600, the same court room where the Nazi trials were held.  Crystal is especially interested in the law regarding freedom of expression as it relates to the use of social media in protests.


Cristina Mansfield

Cristina Mansfield holds a BA in politics from NYU, a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master’s in Agribusiness from Kansas State. Before entering law school she worked for seven years in Cambodia on democracy and governance issues and participated in national corruption surveys. She then taught advocacy to NGOs and activists in countries as varied as Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, and Guatemala. Her most recent consulting has been in Afghanistan and Libya. Cristina plans to pursue a career in international human rights. With that in mind, she has been developing her skills in trial practice and evidence preservation by interning in the State Attorney’s offices in Rutland and Windsor counties in Vermont. Cristina is fluent in Spanish and French, proficient in Italian, and has a working knowledge of Khmer and Arabic.


Sonum Nerurkar

Sonum Nerurkar is currently a candidate for the Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree at Vermont Law School. She received her BS in Environmental Technology and Management from North Carolina State University in May 2012. She has worked on numerous projects dealing with ecological restoration and conservation, including work with the Saint Francis Satyr butterfly, an endangered species. In the summer of 2010, she travelled to Peru to see first-hand restoration efforts in the Andean highlands. She is an avid environmentalist with a keen interest in the interrelationship between climate change and human rights. In the future, she hopes to help create effective climate migrant policy.


Colleen Carroll

Colleen Carroll graduated from Cornell College in 2012, triple-majoring in Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Spanish. Her desire to learn the legal skills and tools to help effect change was sparked by her undergraduate work analyzing race and ethnic relations, the rights and culture of indigenous peoples, gender roles and discrimination, violence against women and children, the history and structure of authoritarian regimes, colonialism, and slavery. During her undergraduate career, she traveled to the southern islands of Chile to study the effect of globalization on rural farming and fishing communities. From there she traveled to Bolivia to research the long-standing effects of colonization and Western culture. Her volunteer work has focused on women’s rights, including participating in the Rally Against Sexual Assault and mentoring middle school girls in her local community as part of GIRLSS Group. For the last six years she has spent summers working at a biotech patent firm outside Boston.



In the past, Human Rights Fellows worked on projects with the following NGOs:

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
In a project exploring legal issues at the intersection of human rights, environmental justice and the extraterritorial application of law, a student examined non-U.S. cases imposing extraterritorial liability on corporations for environmental harm that negatively affects human rights.

Center for economic and social rightsCenter for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
A student examined human rights-based challenges that advocates have raised in courts and quasi-judicial bodies to contest austerity measures instituted by governments in response to the global financial and economic crisis. This research is part of a larger project to incorporate human rights protections into the measures governments take in response to the crisis.

child soldiers internationalChild Soldiers International
A student worked with this London-based NGO to identify and analyze international standards that apply to the recruitment of children and use of children in hostilities by non-state armed groups.

earthrights internationalEarthrights International
A student analyzed legal issues arising from the exploitation of natural resources by a state in a region where the state's sovereignty is contested. She also conducted an assessment of potential avenues, including national and international litigation and arbitration, for addressing these problems.

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human RightsGlobal Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights of the Heartland Alliance.
A student worked in Spanish with grassroots LGBT rights activists in Latin America to document rights violations, and set out the information within the framework of state obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The document she drafted was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and appears on this UN webpage


2013 Human Rights Fellows

Allison Cameron

Allison Cameron

Allison Cameron earned a BA in Asian Languages and Civilizations from Northwestern University and an MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University. After completing her undergraduate degree, Allison moved to Beijing for a year to study Mandarin. Later, she received a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Scholarship to attend Middlebury's Chinese Language School and a FLAS Fellowship to study Chinese and complete her MA at Stanford. Before coming to Vermont Law School, Allison worked as a paralegal at Goldblum & Hess, an immigration firm outside Philadelphia. In the summer of 2011, she worked as an intern at the Office of the Chief Counsel for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. At Vermont Law, Allison has been a Joint Research Fellow with the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law. She was also the first student to participate in Vermont Law's semester exchange with Renmin University of China School of Law in Beijing.


Heather CroshawHeather Croshaw

Heather Croshaw holds a BA in Politics from Mount Holyoke College, with a Minor in Chemistry, and a Master's of Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, where she focused on Environmental Economics and Policy and International Development. After graduate school she worked at Global Witness, and then at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) on its program on Strengthening Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict States through Natural Resource Management (PCNRM). At VLS, Heather has been a Joint Research Fellow in the US-China Partnership for Environmental Law, working on the issue of US-China cooperation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for energy security. In summer 2011, Heather clerked at ELI to continue her work on the PCNRM, and in summer 2012, she interned at the World-Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in Hong Kong. She spent Fall 2012 in a full-time externship Washington DC at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

Emily Flewelling

Emily Flewelling

Emily Flewelling graduated from Keene State College in 2008, with a BA in American Studies and a minor in writing. Before coming to Vermont Law School, she spent two years pursuing her Masters in Business Administration at the College of St. Joseph and working for the Killington Chamber of Commerce in Killington, VT. After her first year at Vermont Law School, she worked as a summer law clerk for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Rutland, VT. Most recently, she worked in the environmental compliance department at United Technologies Aerospace systems, a global supplier of aerospace and defense products. Emily is passionate about developing creative solutions to international human rights issues by utilizing corporate law and economic policies.


Joseph Kaifala

Joseph Kaifala

Joseph Kaifala is the Founder and Executive Director of the Jeneba Project Inc. He was born in Sierra Leone and spent his early childhood in Liberia and Guinea. He later moved to Norway where he studied for the International Baccalaureate (IB) at the Red Cross Nordic United World College, before enrolling at Skidmore College in upstate New York. Joseph was an International Affairs & French Major, with a minor in Law & Society. Joseph is also a Human Rights activist, a Rastafarian, and a votary of ahimsa. He speaks six languages. Joseph has served as a Davis United World College fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; a Humanity In Action senior fellow; a Tom Lantos US Congressional fellow, and an intern at the Child and Adolescent Development Department of the World Health Organization in Geneva. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, a Diploma in Intercultural Encounters from the Helsinki Summer School, and a Certificate in Professional French administered by the French Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded a 2012 Arthur C. Helton Fellowship by the American Society of International Law.


Jennifer Reinbold

Jennifer Reinbold

Jennifer Reinbold graduated from Indiana University in 2009, receiving a BA in International Studies, Anthropology and a minor in Spanish.  Following graduation Jennifer earned her Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate and spent time teaching English in both Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco, Mexico and Los Angeles, CA.  She was then hired by Peace First, an AmeriCorps program, to teach conflict resolution in two public elementary schools in the Los Angeles School District.  Jennifer is now a research assistant helping to translate the Legal Rights for Women in Vermont document into Spanish. In summer 2012, Jennifer was as a legal intern at an UNHCR affiliated organization in San Jose, Costa Rica working with refugees.