Please join SABA-DC in welcoming this year's Summer Public Interest Fellows. We have a very strong group this year, with summer positions in the U.S. Department of State, local D.C. government, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The primary purpose of the SABA-DC Summer Fellowship Program is to help fund a student’s internship with a public interest organization for the benefit of the South Asian community and the metropolitan D.C. area. This year's class represents a significant expansion in the size of the program. We remain committed to supporting promising law students as they develop their public interest careers.
My name is Sonia Desai and I am a third-year law student at The George Washington University Law School. Prior to law school, I served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana for two years, where I assisted the Ministry of Education in the implementation of a national life skills education pilot program in the government schools. I graduated from the University of Miami, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with majors in International Studies and Political Science, and minors in English and Ecosystem Science and Policy.
This summer, I will be interning at the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State. In particular, I will be a Program Intern at the Office of Global Programs, where I will work to promote international legal standards for human rights through assignments that involve research and evaluation of complex democracy and international human rights issues and ensuring adequate oversight of legal assistance instruments. Through this internship, I hope to learn more about and gain experience with the practical utilization of international legal instruments by the U.S. government and the intersection between human rights law and international assistance.
Originally from St. Louis, MO, I attended Saint Louis University where I majored in Political Science, International Studies and Women’s Studies. At SLU, I was the Pre-Law Department’s coordinator for community service and was lucky enough to help facilitate programs such as “ Missouri Youth In Government” and “Project Citizen” with local high school students. I ultimately earned masters degree at SLU in Political Science with a concentration in Law, Culture, and Politics. Prior to beginning law school, I spent two years serving as a Teach For America Corps Member, during which I received my teaching certification and taught 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade for the Saint Louis Public Schools District.
Recently, I completed my first year at The George Washington University Law School and will be working for the D.C. Rental Housing Commission this summer where I hope to hone my legal research and writing skills through drafting decisions regarding appeals to the agency.
My name is Keerat Pannu and I am a second year law student at George Mason University School of Law. I grew up in northern Virginia and attended college at Georgetown University. Upon graduating from law school I hope to pursue a career as a civil rights attorney. My interest in civil rights began when I interned for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund during college. Through this experience I was exposed to the power of a legal education. The attorneys I worked with had the ability to change the civil rights landscape, even history, and I was determined to follow in their footsteps. Since then I have pursued my passion for public service, and civil rights in particular, by interning with Chancellor Rhee at D.C. Public Schools, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and the White House.
This summer, I will be interning with the Office of General Counsel at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Department of Justice. EOIR’s mission is to adjudicate immigration cases by fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the Nation’s immigration laws. EOIR conducts immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings. These cases involve detained aliens, criminal aliens, and aliens seeking asylum as a form of relief from removal. During my internship with the EOIR, I will assist the Associate General Counsels with their work. The General Counsels work on the development of agency regulations, review and comment on proposed legislation, and respond to Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests. They also administer EOIR’s Attorney Discipline Program and the Fraud Program, and coordinate EOIR’s involvement in litigation. Through this internship, I hope to gain a better understanding of immigration law and legal policymaking in the field of immigration.