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Former Fellows

Taiyyaba Qureshi

July 2011-August 2013

Taiyyaba Qureshi

Attorney Fellow Taiyyaba A. Qureshi is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her law degree with honors at UNC School of Law. During law school, Taiyyaba participated in the Legal Education and Advancement Program, tutoring and mentoring fellow students, served two terms on the Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, and worked in the Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic. Taiyyaba was a summer intern in 2009 and rejoined the Center in 2011 as the Educational Advancement and Fair Opportunities Fellow, where she serves communities across the state on school desegregation and education quality and equality issues.

Taiyyaba has also published two legal articles: "State of Emergency: General Pervez Musharraf's Executive Assault on Judicial Independence in Pakistan"in the NC Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, and "The Convention Against Torture, Extraordinary Rendition, and the Prospects for Treaty Application in North Carolina," published by the UNC Immigration and Human Rights Policy Clinic.

Benita Jones

August 2009-August 2011

Fellow Benita N. Jones is a graduate of Yale University. She received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Dean's Scholar and a recipient of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Student Advocacy Award. As an undergraduate, Benita taught violin and directed a university-based nonprofit that partners Yale students with underserved public school students in New Haven, CT to provide free private music lessons. During law school, Benita was a student attorney in Georgetown's Harrison Institute for Housing and Community Development, where she designed and co-taught finance and entrepreneurship workshops for clinic clients and provided legal counsel to housing cooperatives. Benita also updated the District of Columbia Tenant Survival Guide, a Harrison Institute publication in circulation throughout D.C. Before joining the Center, Benita was an associate at Klein Hornig LLP, where her practice included complex affordable housing financing transactions and economic development initiatives. Benita joined the Center in August 2009 to focus on education issues.

Sarah Krishnaraj

November 2008-July 2010

Sarah is a three-time graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing her undergraduate degree, Sarah earned a Master of Social Work in 2003 and a law degree in 2008. Prior to entering law school, Sarah worked as a research assistant to Sen. Ellie Kinnaird in the NC General Assembly and served as an Americorps VISTA with Progressive Redevelopment, Inc., an affordable housing developer in Atlanta, GA. During law school, Sarah pursued a variety of public interest and pro bono activities including working with Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Durham County Attorney's Office. Following her second year of law school, Sarah received the Hank Tersango Public Interest Scholarship to pursue an internship with the National Women's Law Center. While at NWLC, Sarah worked in the Family Economic Security division helping to craft legislation and public policies to assist economically vulnerable women. Sarah joined the Center in November 2008 and focused on community inclusion and economic development issues.

Leah C. Aden

October 2007-September 2009

Leah joined the center as a fellow to work on the education program in October 2007. Leah is a graduate of Columbia University. She received her law degree from Howard University Law School in 2006, where she was a Merit Scholar and twice recipient of the Dean's Public Interest Law Summer Fellowship. During law school, Leah was a Student Attorney with the D.C. Law Students in Court Program, a constitutional law instructor in a D.C. charter school, and a research assistant to Professor Andrew E. Taslitz. Further, Leah served as a legal research intern with the Mississippi Center for Justice, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., and the ACLU Women's Rights Project. After graduation, she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable John T. Nixon of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Prior to attending law school, Leah was a middle school teacher in a D.C. public school.

Leah completed her fellowship in September 2009. Leah relocated to New York City to work for two years as a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, followed by two years as a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Diane M. Standaert

August 2006-August 2008

Diane joined the center as a fellow working with the community development program in August 2006. Diane is a graduate of Florida State University. She received her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2006 where she was a recipient of the Chancellor's Scholarship, the school's highest merit scholarship.

Prior to law school, Diane was a housing policy analyst with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation in Tallahassee, FL, a law clerk for the NC Court of Appeals and a summer associate with Brown, Goldstein, and Levy in Baltimore, MD. During law school, Diane was a research assistant with the UNC Center for Civil Rights. She is the recipient of the inaugural Winston Crisp Award given to the graduating student who has had a lasting impact on public service while a student at the UNC School of Law.

Diane completed her fellowship in August of 2008. Currently, Diane is Legislative Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, NC.

Barry L. Williams

March 2006-December 2007

Barry joined the Center in March 2006 to work with the community development program. Barry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law where he received his law degree in 2005 and was a recipient of the Chancellor's Scholarship, the Law School's highest merit scholarship. Prior to attending UNC-Chapel Hill Law School, Barry attended Hampton University where he received his BA in Mass Media Arts and also was awarded the Presidential Scholar award. During law school, Barry was a research assistant with the UNC Center for Civil Rights and also an assistant to Professor Thomas Hazen where he updated Uniform Commercial Code. After working for the Center, Barry was the diversity project coordinator at Conservation Trust for North Carolina located in Raleigh, NC. He is currently an attorney-advisor for the US Department of Social Security Administration - Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Fayetteville, NC.

Torrey D. Dixon

July 2005-May 2007

Torrey joined the Center in July 2005 and worked on a number of civil rights matters including education, voting rights and community development. Torrey is a graduate of Averett University in Danville, Virginia, where he was valedictorian of his graduating class. He received his law degree and Master's of theological studies degree from Duke University in December 2004. During law school, Torrey was a legal research assistant with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as a clerk with Danville Circuit Court in Virginia. Torrey now works at the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, Consumer Protection Division.

Shoshannah A. Smith

September 2004-August 2006

Shannah joined the center to work with the education program in September 2004. Shannah is a graduate of New College of Florida, Honors College of the Florida University system. She received her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2004. Prior to attending law school, Smith worked for Manatee Glens Rape Crisis Center and Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. While in law school, Smith designed and implemented the Pro Se divorce clinic, which helps people who cannot afford attorneys navigate the divorce process in North Carolina. Shannah is currently the director of the Orange County Human Rights and Relations Department in Chapel Hill, NC.

Heather Hunt

January 2003-January 2005

Heather joined the center as a fellow to work with the community development program in January 2003. She graduated with a BA in History from Columbia College in New York City and received a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in May, 2002. Heather is currently the assistant director of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and works just down the hall from the Center for Civil Rights' staff.

Rebecca High

January 2003-January 2005

Prior to her fellowship, Rebecca was a researcher on the North Carolina Death Penalty Project and a researcher and editor at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School. As a fellow, Rebecca managed the book project School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back?, edited by the Center's deputy director John C. Boger and the Civil Rights Project's director Gary Orfield (UNC Press, 2005). She also wrote, with Julius L. Chambers, John C. Boger, and Anita S. Earls, The Socioeconomic Composition of the Public Schools: A Crucial Consideration in Student Assignment Policy in support of organizing efforts she conducted with Charlotte citizens working for educational equality. Rebecca received a J.D. from UNC-CH in 2000.


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