An American flag hanging from a balcony.

Meet the 2024 Summer Fellows

The 10-week DEI Summer Fellowship Program aims to ensure that law students from all backgrounds can gain meaningful experience in public interest law, while also gaining practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills and expanding professional networks. The Summer Fellows will also attend programming at the BBA throughout the summer, and are paired with a mentor from the BBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Section. The paid internships are made possible through the generosity of law firm sponsors, as well as proceeds from the BBA’s Beacon Awards event.  

Meet the 2024 Fellows:

Michelle-Joy Alphonso, New England Law | Boston – Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

A UMass Dartmouth alum who was also the first woman in her family to graduate from college, Michelle-Joy is looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside experienced attorneys and gain real-world exposure to a diverse set of legal issues. As a representative of NESL’s Student Bar Association as well as its DEI Committee, she hopes to help foster a community and environment where students from a multitude of backgrounds feel empowered to not only care about DEI, but to make DEI an integral part of their legal career.

Lilya Dreik, New England Law | Boston – Massachusetts Executive Office of Veterans’ Services

A Suffolk University graduate, Lilya is also a former employee of the BBA, where she worked as a Member Engagement Assistant. Lilya hopes her work with the EOVS will allow her to “do her part in serving those who have selflessly served their country.” She says her time working with the BBA, where she saw firsthand the dedication of the legal community in Boston to work toward a better and brighter future for everyone, fueled her desire to continue down her current career path.

Vanessa Feola, Boston University School of Law – Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Vanessa is a graduate of University of California, Berkely, where she majored in philosophy with a minor in Race and the Law. Vanessa looks forward to her work with MCAD, and hopes to pursue a career in public interest, advocating for the rights of historically marginalized populations.

Aryssa Harris, Boston University School of Law – Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services

Aryssa is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and former President of Beloit College’s Black Students United and recipient of BU School of Law’s Antiracist Scholar for Progress, Innovation, and Racial Equity. She hopes CPCS will support her advocacy goals through litigation and allow her to honor her commitment to antiracist legal work.

Alexander Moore, Suffolk University Law School – Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services

Alexander, a graduate of Hamton University, says CPCS’s commitment to community well-being and justice resonates with his professional values and aspirations, particularly through practice areas such as the Youth Advocacy Division Private Counsel, Revocation Panel, and Juvenile Appellate. As an aspiring public defender, he is eager to contribute to the CPCS mission of upholding justice and serving the community.

Brandon Nam, Boston University School of Law – Office of the Inspector General

A first-year law student at BU, Brandon already has an extensive background in juvenile justice, highlighted by experiences with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and the National Center for State Courts. A former middle school math teacher, he says his experiences—especially during the COVID pandemic—align with the OIG’s focus on ensuring equitable delivery of public services. During his time with OIG, he looks forward to examining state agencies’ data use in benefits programs, evaluating hiring policies through a racial justice lens, and engaging in equity assessments.

Sara Nasah, New England Law | Boston – Massachusetts Port Authority

Sara looks forward to the prospect of contributing to MassPort’s mission of connecting Massachusetts and New England to the world while gaining practical experience that is applicable to both the public and private sectors. With a background in handling advanced corporate immigration cases, she believes she is a strong fit for the diverse legal assignments that the legal internship program at MassPort offers.

Nneka Nnaji, New England Law | Boston – Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

A second-year law student, Nneka is already a veteran of the BBA DEI Summer Fellowship Program, having interned through the program last summer with CPCS. This fall, she also had the opportunity to intern with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit. She looks forward to applying her legal research and writing skills to while channeling her passion for advocacy.

Taylor Perrodin, New England Law | Boston – Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

As a senior at Louisiana State University, Taylor wrote an honors research thesis on coastal land reclamation efforts in the Netherlands and how the methods employed there can be utilized to save Louisiana’s ever-eroding coast. She hopes to use her enthusiasm for environmental law and belief in the power of effective regulatory frameworks to make a hand-on difference with the Department.

Rebecca Shan, New England Law | Boston – Massachusetts Department of Children and Families

Rebecca, a graduate of Boston College, says DCF’s commitment to ensuring children grow up in a safe and nurturing environment resonates strongly with her. She notes that underprivileged children living in abusive households face obstacles of a multi-faceted nature, and she hopes to direct her work through the DCF at ensuring they gain equal access to the privileged opportunities that other children have.

Runlin Yao, Boston University School of Law – U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts

Runlin, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, wants to not only help those stuck in sophisticated financial and legal issues, but also understand how bankruptcy works and its role in today’s economy. He says this Fellowship will provide the opportunity to assist those stuck in complicated litigations who cannot afford expensive legal services.