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Douglas Kysar

Faculty Co-Director

Doug Kysar is Faculty Co-Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program, Deputy Dean, and Joseph M. Field ’55 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He was born and raised in Indiana. Under his mother’s guidance, he developed a love of reading and a love of the more-than-human world. Kysar later studied at Indiana University, where his two loves developed further with guidance from the great nature writer and teacher Scott Russell Sanders. After law school, Kysar began teaching at Cornell Law School and moved to Yale in 2008. Kysar’s work studies the way society utilizes laws and regulations to prevent, manage, and respond to threats of harm to life. He has had a particular focus on climate change law and policy for several years now because climate change will bring harm to life on an almost unimaginable scale.

 
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Jonathan Lovvorn

Faculty Co-Director

Jonathan Lovvorn is Faculty Co-Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School, a Senior Research Scholar, and Lecturer in Law. Lovvorn’s teaching and scholarship focuses on the intersection of animal law, environmental law, and food policy, and the search for practical legal solutions that advance diverse public interest causes. Lovvorn and Professor Doug Kysar co-teach the Climate, Animal, Food, and Environmental Law & Policy Lab, which provides a creative space for students, faculty, outside experts, and non-governmental organizations to devise and propagate novel legal and policy strategies to compel industrial animal agriculture to pay the uncounted and externalized costs these operations saddle upon animals, workers, communities, and the environment. He has taught courses on animal and environmental law at Harvard, Georgetown, and NYU law schools, and litigated extensively on behalf of animals and the environment. Lovvorn also serves Chief Counsel for Animal Protection Litigation for the Humane Society of the United States, and as a board member and/or legal advisor to other animal and environmental protection organizations. He holds an LL.M. in Environmental Law from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, and a J.D. from University of California Hastings College of the Law.

 
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Viveca Morris

Executive Director

Viveca Morris is the Executive Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School and an Associate Research Scholar in Law. She founded LEAP in partnership with Faculty Co-Directors Doug Kysar and Jonathan Lovvorn in 2019. Her work focuses on the legal, moral and scientific questions raised by humanity’s treatment of non-human creatures, and on how insights from multiple disciplines, the power of storytelling, and the force of law can together be leveraged to address the industrialized abuse of animals, people and the environment. She co-hosts and co-produces the Yale University podcast "When We Talk About Animals," which features in-depth interviews with leading thinkers on the big questions animals raise about what it means to be human. She received BA, MBA and MEM (Master of Environmental Management) degrees from Yale University.

 
 
 

Noah Macey

Program Fellow

Noah's interest in the relationships between human and non-human animals began when he started keeping bees as a child in Atlanta. Before coming to LEAP, he served in several positions at the Yale Sustainable Food Program, including summer intern, farm manager, senior adviser, and full-time program coordinator. In these capacities, he developed an appreciation for the wicked problems of the food system and how they resist description by single narratives and single disciplines. Along with animal and food systems policy, Noah is broadly interested in language, especially cognitive semantics and phonetics. He graduated from Yale College in 2019 with a linguistics degree and is a Master Beekeeper through the University of Georgia Honeybee Program.

 

Hope Bigda-Peyton

Research Fellow

Hope Bigda-Peyton is a recent graduate from the Yale School Environment, where she specialized in sustainable and equitable food systems policy. Recent research projects include modeling the carbon sequestration potential of regenerative agriculture in Illinois and identifying state levers for sustainable biogas legislation. She is currently collaborating on the Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Program’s Regulatory Responses to Live Animal Markets research project. She is fascinated by the intersection of agrobiodiversity and culture.

 

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Cortney Ahern Renton

Research Fellow

Cortney Ahern Renton is a Research Fellow for LEAP's Climate, Animal, Food, and Environmental (CAFE) Law & Policy Lab. Her research is focused on accelerating regenerative agriculture in the United States and food system innovation. Cortney holds a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) degree from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University. She has built her career working across the food chain. At Feeding America, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Slow Food, and as an independent researcher and consultant for many nonprofits, think tanks, and start-ups, she has tackled complex issues including food insecurity, climate change, food system biodiversity, and international agricultural development. She is a proud Midwesterner from Minnesota and Chicago.


 

LEAP Student Fellows (2020-2021)

 

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Anya Allen

J.D. 2022

Anya is a second year student at Yale Law School. After graduating with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy from Wellesley College, she obtained her M.A. and M.Phil. at Yale University, where she studied Slavic Languages and Literatures with a Minor Field in Ecocriticism. As a graduate student, she researched animal ethics in nineteenth-century Russian literature and political philosophy. As a LEAP fellow, she is interested in exploring human-animal relationships through the lens of law and literature, as well as conducting research on First Amendment challenges to ag-gag laws.

 
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Sarah Baldinger

J.D. 2022

Sarah is currently pursuing a J.D. at Yale Law School and plans to focus her studies on environmental law. She is particularly excited about marine conservation and protecting ocean life. Before attending Yale, Sarah was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group for three years in Washington, D.C. and worked primarily on Energy, Public Sector and Industrial Goods projects. Sarah has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Political Science from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah’s undergraduate thesis (“Lost and Won: A New Empirical Analysis of Economic Power Sharing”) focused on natural resources from a political perspective, by exploring the importance of sharing control over resources and other forms of “economic power” to resolve civil conflict. 

 
 
 

Corey Baron

M.B.A. 2021

Corey is a 2nd Year MBA Candidate at Yale School of Management, with a focus on nonprofit finance and social enterprise. A lifelong lover of animals, Corey worked on an organic farm/ranch on the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains after high school and became an advocate for plant-based eating while studying philosophy at Colorado College. Prior to SOM, Corey worked in philanthropy and rural economic development and last summer, worked for Eat the Change™ – a new consumer brand and associated philanthropic initiative that empowers individuals to choose (and enjoy!) planet-friendly foods. Corey is passionate about all things social impact, with an emphasis on climate change and wealth inequality, and can usually be found with a book or frisbee in hand.

 
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Kristy Ferraro

Ph.D. (Forestry & Environmental Studies) 2023

Kristy is a third year Ph.D. student in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her dissertation work focuses on how large non-human mammals impact nutrient and carbon cycles, specifically in boreal and arctic ecosystems. More broadly, she is interested in how humans think about and conceptualize non-human animals, and understating how conservation scientists use and speak on behalf of non-human animals. Kristy received a B.S. in Philosophy and Environmental Geoscience from Boston College and an M.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Science from Vanderbilt University. 

 
 
 
 
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Helia Bidad

J.D. 2022

As a LEAP Fellow, Helia is interested in policy and litigation as tools to combat injustice in industrial agriculture operations, enhance corporate accountability, and advocate for laborer rights and welfare. Prior to attending law school, she was a Research Associate at an environmental consulting firm, working on philanthropic strategies, recruiting, and organizational design for environmental nonprofits and foundations. Her research and experience have primarily focused on food systems, both at the local and international levels. She received a B.S. in Society & Environment and a minor in Geospatial Information, Science, and Technology from UC Berkeley. 

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Natasha Brunstein

J.D. 2022

Natasha is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Prior to studying at Yale Law School, Natasha worked as a legal research assistant at the Institute for Policy Integrity where she worked on various issues surrounding the environmental regulatory process. Natasha holds a bachelor's degree in economics and environmental science from New York University.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jacqueline Buonfiglio

M.E.Sc 2022

Jacqueline is a Master of Environmental Science candidate at Yale's School of the Environment. As a LEAP Fellow, her work focuses on wildlife conservation and human attitudes towards wildlife, particularly those involving human-wildlife conflict. Before coming to Yale, she earned her B.S. in Biology at Bates College and worked as a field research intern monitoring endangered species in South Africa.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kevin Chen

J.D. 2023

Kevin is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is broadly interested in issues at the intersection of environmental justice, political economy, and international security. As a LEAP Fellow, Kevin hopes to explore the role of animal law and policy in increasing corporate and government accountability for transnational environmental harms. Prior to law school, he worked as a research assistant at the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation, where he developed curricula and supported community-led research on nuclear contamination in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Economics from Columbia University.

 
 

Ryan Clemens

J.D./M.E.M. 2022

Ryan is a joint degree student at Yale School of the Environment and Vermont Law School after graduating from Colby College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, Policy Concentration. Inspired by Maine’s biodiverse coastline and by his time as an oyster farmer in Massachusetts, he studies legal protections for ocean and coastal natural resources. He is passionate about enhancing ecosystem-based management for New England’s marine systems by connecting anthropocentric environmental laws through to protecting nature and marine life, for example by considering fisheries health as a proxy for coastal resilience as a whole. He aims to advocate for conservation within co-management regimes by working with stakeholders on measures that adequately protect marine resources yet are equitable and practicable enough for self-enforcement.

 
 
 
 
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Brooke Dekolf 

J.D. 2021

Brooke is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2017 with a B.A. in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is broadly interested in exploring issues surrounding the commercial pet industry, federal regulations protecting aquatic species, and the intersection of environmental and reproductive justice. Specifically, she is interested in the growing aquaculture business and its related environmental impacts. Prior to attending Yale Law School, she worked in the commercial pet industry, primarily with marine and freshwater aquatic animals. 

 
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Christopher Ewell 

J.D. 2022

Christopher has been passionate about problems surrounding animal exploitation and animal ethics for several years. As an undergraduate at NYU, he worked on a project to help combat the illegal internet wildlife trade and wrote his senior thesis on how transshipment on the high seas facilitates the interrelated issues of marine animal overexploitation, habitat degradation, and human rights abuse. Afterwards, he worked on marine protected areas and fisheries through Peace Corps in the Philippines and later as a researcher on a project about the extent of (or, more appropriately, lack of) welfare research on aquaculture animals. As a law student, Christopher plans to engage more deeply in understanding how global animal exploitation systems, including livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries, and the animal trade contribute to environmental degradation, climate change, and animal welfare issues and how these systems can be better regulated, reformed, and managed. He is excited to be a LEAP fellow!

 
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Samantha Godwin 

J.S.D. 2021

Samantha works in the intersection of law, ethics and political philosophy. In particular, her research focuses on themes of moral universalism, political liberalism and egalitarianism, with special concern for the ethical and legal status of people who are thought to have compromised autonomy given age or mental health status, and for conflicts between individual and group interests. As a LEAP fellow, Samantha plans to work on the closely related set of dilemmas found in animal law and ethics. Please visit samanthagodwin.com for publications.

Liam Gunn

M.E.M. 2022

Liam Gunn is currently a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). There, he specializes in environmental economics and policy, with a focus on climate justice—and its numerous intersections with agriculture and animal law. Before Yale, Liam was a Program Manager at The Mentor Group, where he managed a constitutional and economic law peer group of U.S. & E.U. justices, regulators, diplomats, and flag officers. Liam graduated Bowdoin College with a degree in Government, Environmental Studies, and Economics. At Bowdoin, he also led the first nonpartisan voter registration movement as the inaugural Election Engagement Fellow, and a student-volunteer trip to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward focusing on environmental justice.

 

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Ted Hamilton 

Ph.D. (Comparative Literature) 2021 

Ted is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at Yale and an attorney working on climate change and social movement support. His research focuses on environmental ideologies and social change in the United States and Latin America, with a focus on the way that the human-nonhuman divide is represented in law and literature. He is also a co-founder of Climate Defense Project, which represents climate change activists engaged in civil disobedience and provides legal support to the climate justice movement.

 
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Bianca Herlitz-Ferguson 

J.D. 2021

Bianca is a J.D. Candidate at Yale Law School. She is a 2019-2020 Board Member of the Yale Animal Law Society. Undergraduate courses on environmental ethics and animal rights sparked her interest in animal law. She also has interests in children and the law and is deeply fascinated by the parallels between how the law treats non-human animals and how it treats human children. Bianca earned her undergraduate degree in Government and Philosophy from Cornell University. 

 

 
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Sam Hull

J.D. 2022

Sam Hull is a student fellow of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School. A JD candidate, his main research interests include corporate farming, habitat destruction and the relationship between animal ethics and sustainability. He holds a BA in history and economics from McGill University.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Momoko Ishii 

Ph.D. 2025 (Chemical Engineering)

Momoko Ishii is a first-year PhD student of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. Her research foci include bio-based synthetic materials and CO2 utilization. She is interested in human-animal interactions and responsible ways to engage with non-human species.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Aarthi Kannan

M.E.Sc. 2022

Aarthi Kannan is a Master of Environmental Science candidate at the Yale School of Environment. She graduated with Honors from Austin College, Texas. Her undergraduate research and Honors Thesis focused on elucidating the links between vital cellular processes using yeast genetics and molecular biology. After graduating from college, she was a field assistant on a leopard camera-trapping project with the Nature Conservation Fund. She also worked with Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington on marine mammal (whale and dolphin) conservation. She is a current research intern with the Tiger Cell at the Wildlife Institute of India. At YSE, she studies wildlife ecology, conservation genetics, and animal law & policy. Her interest in joining LEAP spurted from her passion to protect endangered species, such as large carnivores, and their habitat. She is interested in exploring the laws and policies of international wildlife trade, endangered species conservation, and wildlife crime.

 
 
 

Nina Leviten

J.D. 2023

Nina is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley with B.A.s in Economics and Molecular and Cellular Biology and is particularly interested in public health and health policy. As a LEAP fellow, Nina is looking forward to investigating the intersection of health, the environment, and animal rights, particularly in the area of medical research.

 
 
 

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Zoe Novic

M.P.H. 2021

Zoe is a student at the Yale School of Public Health. Her academic work focuses on food security, factory farming, climate change, and how all of those factors interrelate. Understanding the effects that animal agriculture has on our planet is essential to addressing the most pressing public health concerns. Before studying at Yale, Zoe worked as the San Francisco Grassroots Director for The Humane League. She presented in high school and college classrooms about the environmental effects of animal agriculture, and helped pass regional and national welfare reforms for farmed animals. Zoe is a graduate of Brandeis University, and she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia from 2014-2016. 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Parker

J.D. 2022

Caroline is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP fellow, she hopes to highlight the connection between contemporary capitalism and exploitation in animal agriculture. As a law student, Caroline has worked with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and the Law and Political Economy Project. Prior to law school, Caroline worked with the Colorado General Assembly. She believes that state and local governments should play an important role in advancing just climate, land use, and food policy. Caroline holds a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of the Virginia.

 

 

 

Varshini Parthasarathy

J.D. 2023

Varshini is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School interested in the intersection of climate change, water management, and environmental health. As a LEAP fellow, she hopes to explore the implications of climate change to local communities and biodiversity. Prior to law school, she worked for New York State focused on clean energy and sustainable infrastructure investment. Varshini holds a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University.

 

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Colin Peterson

M.A. (Global Affairs) 2021

Colin is a graduate student at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where his studies focus on addressing climate change and fostering climate resilience in developing countries. His interests include examining the impacts of animal food systems on ecological integrity, public health, and rights of non-human animals. Most recently, he worked to help build the capacity of rural communities in Madagascar through the promotion of climate-smart agriculture, nutrition and disease prevention initiatives, and biodiversity conservation. As a LEAP Student Fellow, he is excited to learn from both his peers and animal law experts to collaboratively innovate solutions that uplift all kinds of life and their environments.

 
 
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Manny Rutinel 

J.D. 2021

Manny is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School with a course load focused on Animal and Environmental Law. He hopes to use his education and experiences to tackle a neglected issue with some of the most significant consequences for our environment, our health, and the moral fabric of our humanity: animal agriculture. Manny has worked as an Economist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, which included a several month work detail at the Institute for Water Resources as well as a deployment to Puerto Rico as a First Responder after Hurricane Maria. In 2018, Manny interned in the Farm Animal Protection division of the Humane Society of the United States. Manny holds a B.S. in Microbiology, a B.A. Economics, and minors in Chemistry and Philosophy from the University of Florida. He also holds a M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

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Lexi Smith 

J.D. 2022

Lexi is a second year student at Yale Law School. Her father is a wildlife veterinarian in Georgia, so she grew up surrounded by animals and the outdoors. That inspired her to study environmental science as an undergrad at Harvard College, and during that time, she served as Chair of the school’s Environmental Action Committee, as a research intern at the Sierra Club’s DC office, as a campus outreach fellow for Mercy for Animals, and as a research intern on sustainable farm policy at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic under Professor Emily Broad Leib. After graduating, she worked as an advisor to Mayor Marty Walsh at the City of Boston, where she helped update the City’s Climate Action Plan, launch its Community Choice Energy program, and expand its food waste composting efforts.

 

Nathalie Sommer

Ph.D. (School of the Environment) 2024

Nat is a second year Ph.D. student in the Yale School of the Environment. She works with terrestrial arthropods to understand how evolutionary processes within food webs affect nutrient cycling under climate change. Her previous research has focused on how consistent individual differences in animal behavior (aka animal personality) drives trophic cascades. Nat is broadly interested in the gamut of environmental ethics and the consequences of anthropocentrism on wildlife management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from the College of William & Mary and a M.E.Sc. from the Yale School of the Environment.

 

Raghav Srivastava

M.E.M. 2022

An environmental law and justice practitioner, Raghav graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru in 2013 and has been working in conservation across India since 2015. Since 2018, he has been consulting independently with various organisations, primarily on the design and implementation of tools for variously increasing the access of environmental law in the mountains and coasts of India. He is pursuing a MEM with a specialisation in People, Equity and the Environment, to nurse his interest in the inter-disciplinary study of environmental issues (primarily through a political economic lens). He is currently also obsessed with attempting to strengthen the ground beneath a common practicable position for human action within ecocentric ethics. He likes to hike, climb and write poetry.
 

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Lindsay Stern

LEAP Podcast Co-Founder

Ph.D. (Comparative Literature) 2023 

Lindsay is the author of two novellas and one novel, The Study of Animal Languages (Viking/Penguin). After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, she taught and wrote in Phnom Penh, Cape Town, and Cuzco on a Watson Fellowship before attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow and won the Taylor-Chehak prize in fiction. The co-founder and co-host of the Yale University podcast "When We Talk About Animals," she has received a FLAS fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, an Amy Award in poetry from Poets & Writers, and a Franke Fellowship from Yale, where she is pursuing a PhD in comparative literature. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including PANK, DIAGRAM, and Smithsonian Magazine.  

 
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Aaron Troncoso

J.D./M.E.M. 2023 

Aaron is an aspiring environmental advocate originally from New York City. A recent graduate of Yale College, he is currently pursuing a dual J.D. and Master of Environmental Management at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before returning to Yale, he worked to help communities around Massachusetts prepare for the impacts of climate change at the grassroots nonprofit Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW). Aaron is also passionate about landscape, wildlife, and ecosystem conservation. For his senior thesis project in environmental studies, he hiked ~1,100 miles along the Appalachian Trail from West Virginia to Maine, studying how increases in use affected the trail’s ecology and social dynamics. As a LEAP Student Fellow, he hopes to learn more about innovative legal and policy techniques that can be used to address critical environmental issues.

 

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Molly Loomis Tyson

M.E.M. 2020

Molly is pursuing a Masters of Environmental Management through Yale's School of Forestry's Mid Career program. Since the mid-1990s, Molly has worked as an outdoor educator, international mountain guide, and most recently a climbing ranger for the National Park Service. This work, in addition to personal expeditions, has taken her to remote mountain ranges around the world. She combines her love of the out of doors with writing and has published over 300 articles, including pieces in multiple books. As a LEAP Fellow, Molly looks forward to exploring issues of human-wildlife coexistence pertinent to her home in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is particularly interested in pursuing questions about legal protection for migratory corridors; tribal rights relevant to wildlife management; and legislation against controversial predator hunting techniques. Molly is a Research Associate with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. For information and samples of her writing visit mollyloomis.com.

 

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Miklós Veszprémi 

Ph.D. (Music Theory) 2022

Miklós is an aspirational student of environmental law and Ph.D. candidate in music theory. His research interests range from Franz Liszt and the perception of form to the evolutionary origins of music. He was born in Barcelona and grew up in Basel, where he became a concert pianist. As an undergraduate at the Royal College of Music in London, he read much philosophy and puzzled over the underlying metaphysics of moral systems. He believes that animal law, by problematizing personhood, has the potential to destabilize the ontology of our selves which is precipitating an environmental catastrophe.

 
 

 

 

 

Alice Yiqian Wang

J.D. 2023

Alice Yiqian Wang is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School and a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. Her research is broadly concerned with immigration and citizenship policy in the United States and Europe. Some of her current projects focus on the dynamics of judicial decision-making in deportation and asylum proceedings, political control over the U.S. immigration courts, and racial bias in policing. As a LEAP fellow, she will engage with questions of worker safety in the meatpacking and agricultural industries, especially as they relate to the patterns of exploitation experienced by immigrants and foreign guest workers. Alice holds a M.A. in Political and Legal Theory from the University of Warwick, which she attended on a US-UK Fulbright scholarship. She received her B.A. in Philosophy and B.A. in Government from Smith College.

 

Alisa White

J.D./M.E.Sc. 2023

Alisa is a dual degree student at Yale Law School and Yale School of the Environment. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to further explore the intersection of climate change mitigation and adaptation, community-based forest protection, Indigenous rights, and animal agriculture in Latin America. She is also passionate about food systems resilience and corporate accountability in industrial agriculture. Prior to law school, she researched community-based forest management in Oaxaca, Mexico and analyzed the global impacts of climate change as an environmental consultant in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics from Dartmouth College.

 

 

Undergraduate Affiliates (2020-2021)

Daniel Blokh

Assistant Podcast Producer

B.A. 2024 (Undeclared)

Daniel Blokh is a 19 year old Russian-Jewish poet based in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a 2018 National Student Poet and is the author of In Migration (BAM! Publishing 2016), Holding Myself Hostage In The Kitchen (Lit City Press 2017), and Grimmening (Diode Editions, 2018). As an Assistant Podcast Producer on Yale University podcast "When We Talk About Animals," he edits podcast audio, manages the blog and newsletter, and helps with anything else the hosts need him to. He's a rising sophomore at Yale and probably majoring in English, but please email him at blokhdaniel@gmail.com if you have any other ideas.

 

 

Jack McCordick

Editorial Associate

B.A. 2022 (Humanities)

Jack McCordick is an undergraduate in the Class of 2022 majoring in Humanities. He got involved in LEAP because of his interest in the impact of industrial animal farming on workers, animals, human health, and the environment. He is also interested in the ways 21st century novels depict climate change.

 

 

Past LEAP Student Fellows


2019-20 LEAP Student Fellows:

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Anya Allen

J.D. 2022

Anya is a second year student at Yale Law School. After graduating with a B.A. in Russian and Philosophy from Wellesley College, she obtained her M.A. and M.Phil. at Yale University, where she studied Slavic Languages and Literatures with a Minor Field in Ecocriticism. As a graduate student, she researched animal ethics in nineteenth-century Russian literature and political philosophy. As a LEAP fellow, she is interested in exploring human-animal relationships through the lens of law and literature, as well as conducting research on First Amendment challenges to ag-gag laws.

 
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Sarah Baldinger

J.D. 2022

Sarah is currently pursuing a J.D. at Yale Law School and plans to focus her studies on environmental law. She is particularly excited about marine conservation and protecting ocean life. Before attending Yale, Sarah was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group for three years in Washington, D.C. and worked primarily on Energy, Public Sector and Industrial Goods projects. Sarah has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Political Science from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah’s undergraduate thesis (“Lost and Won: A New Empirical Analysis of Economic Power Sharing”) focused on natural resources from a political perspective, by exploring the importance of sharing control over resources and other forms of “economic power” to resolve civil conflict. 

 
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Kristy Ferraro

Ph.D. (Forestry & Environmental Studies) 2023

Kristy is a third year Ph.D. student in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her dissertation work focuses on how large non-human mammals impact nutrient and carbon cycles, specifically in boreal and arctic ecosystems. More broadly, she is interested in how humans think about and conceptualize non-human animals, and understating how conservation scientists use and speak on behalf of non-human animals. Kristy received a B.S. in Philosophy and Environmental Geoscience from Boston College and an M.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Science from Vanderbilt University. 

 
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Mollie Berkowitz 

J.D. 2021

Mollie is a second year law student and inaugural LEAP Fellow. She has a longstanding interest in animal rights and sustainability, though the primary focus of her studies is gender discrimination, sexual violence, and workers’ rights. Through her work in LEAP, she hopes to bring an intersectional lens to ethical issues and policy solutions surrounding animal agriculture and consumer products in addition to sharing her love of animals (and particularly her cat, Mimi). Prior to law school, she received her bachelor’s degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Michigan and worked as a legal assistant in a civil rights-focused law firm. She plans to pursue a career in civil rights law with a focus on gender discrimination, sexual violence, and privacy upon graduation from Yale Law School.

 
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Helia Bidad

J.D. 2022

As a LEAP Fellow, Helia is interested in policy and litigation as tools to combat injustice in industrial agriculture operations, enhance corporate accountability, and advocate for laborer rights and welfare. Prior to attending law school, she was a Research Associate at an environmental consulting firm, working on philanthropic strategies, recruiting, and organizational design for environmental nonprofits and foundations. Her research and experience have primarily focused on food systems, both at the local and international levels. She received a B.S. in Society & Environment and a minor in Geospatial Information, Science, and Technology from UC Berkeley. 

 

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Hope Bigda-Peyton

M.E.M. 2020

Hope is a master’s student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she studies food policy and social entrepreneurship. After six years working in food sovereignty in Southern Mexico, she is excited to research what a sustainable and healthy food system might look like at scale. As a LEAP fellow, her work focuses on how public policy could shift incentives towards a more plant-based and biodiverse food system in the United States and globally. She is a super fan of native crops of the Americas and the power of “forgotten foods” and culture, you can find more about her work with amaranth on the Lexicon of Sustainability’s Rediscovered Food Initiative and as featured in NPR: The Salt.

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Natasha Brunstein

J.D. 2022

Natasha is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Prior to studying at Yale Law School, Natasha worked as a legal research assistant at the Institute for Policy Integrity where she worked on various issues surrounding the environmental regulatory process. Natasha holds a bachelor's degree in economics and environmental science from New York University.

 

 

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Andrés Caro

L.L.M. 2020

Andrés Caro is a Colombian lawyer pursuing an L.L.M. degree at Yale Law School. His background and interests are the humanities, legal and political philosophy, and moral theory. He is also interested in the history and philosophy of science, old vallenatos, and Modernism. 

 

 

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Lingxi Chenyang 

J.D. 2020

Lingxi hails from Houston, Texas and is currently pursuing a joint J.D.-PhD in philosophy at Yale Law School and the University of Michigan. Her research is on how food systems--the production and consumption of food--can evolve to respond to climate change by leveraging laws and social norms. Lingxi is currently conducting research on how agricultural policy, contracts, and property rights can play a role in expanding regenerative agriculture. She has two cat friends: Sam Griffis and Lunchbox. 

 
 
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Brooke Dekolf 

J.D. 2021

Brooke is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2017 with a B.A. in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is broadly interested in exploring issues surrounding the commercial pet industry, federal regulations protecting aquatic species, and the intersection of environmental and reproductive justice. Specifically, she is interested in the growing aquaculture business and its related environmental impacts. Prior to attending Yale Law School, she worked in the commercial pet industry, primarily with marine and freshwater aquatic animals. 

 
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Christopher Ewell 

J.D. 2022

Christopher has been passionate about problems surrounding animal exploitation and animal ethics for several years. As an undergraduate at NYU, he worked on a project to help combat the illegal internet wildlife trade and wrote his senior thesis on how transshipment on the high seas facilitates the interrelated issues of marine animal overexploitation, habitat degradation, and human rights abuse. Afterwards, he worked on marine protected areas and fisheries through Peace Corps in the Philippines and later as a researcher on a project about the extent of (or, more appropriately, lack of) welfare research on aquaculture animals. As a law student, Christopher plans to engage more deeply in understanding how global animal exploitation systems, including livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries, and the animal trade contribute to environmental degradation, climate change, and animal welfare issues and how these systems can be better regulated, reformed, and managed. He is excited to be a LEAP fellow!

 
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Samantha Godwin 

J.S.D. 2021

Samantha works in the intersection of law, ethics and political philosophy. In particular, her research focuses on themes of moral universalism, political liberalism and egalitarianism, with special concern for the ethical and legal status of people who are thought to have compromised autonomy given age or mental health status, and for conflicts between individual and group interests. As a LEAP fellow, Samantha plans to work on the closely related set of dilemmas found in animal law and ethics. Please visit samanthagodwin.com for publications.

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Ted Hamilton 

Ph.D. (Comparative Literature) 2021 

Ted is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at Yale and an attorney working on climate change and social movement support. His research focuses on environmental ideologies and social change in the United States and Latin America, with a focus on the way that the human-nonhuman divide is represented in law and literature. He is also a co-founder of Climate Defense Project, which represents climate change activists engaged in civil disobedience and provides legal support to the climate justice movement.

 
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Bianca Herlitz-Ferguson 

J.D. 2021

Bianca is a J.D. Candidate at Yale Law School. She is a 2019-2020 Board Member of the Yale Animal Law Society. Undergraduate courses on environmental ethics and animal rights sparked her interest in animal law. She also has interests in children and the law and is deeply fascinated by the parallels between how the law treats non-human animals and how it treats human children. Bianca earned her undergraduate degree in Government and Philosophy from Cornell University. 

 

 
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Sam Hull

J.D. 2022

Sam Hull is a student fellow of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School. A JD candidate, his main research interests include corporate farming, habitat destruction and the relationship between animal ethics and sustainability. He holds a BA in history and economics from McGill University.

 
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Shreshtha Jain 

M.A.M. 2020

Shreshtha is a Master of Advanced Management student at Yale School of Management. He was born in a small historic town, Khajuraho, in central India. He gained his B.Tech from SASTRA University in India and worked as a tech consultant in India and the US. Before Yale, he was pursuing his M.B.A. at Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia. He firmly believes in the intersectionality of human, animal, and environmental justice. He has collaborated with non-profits, religious groups and political parties in India, the US, and Australia, and led the grassroots group to gain equity for marginalized individuals and groups with particular focus on animals. 

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Zoe Novic

M.P.H. 2021

Zoe is a student at the Yale School of Public Health. Her academic work focuses on food security, factory farming, climate change, and how all of those factors interrelate. Understanding the effects that animal agriculture has on our planet is essential to addressing the most pressing public health concerns. Before studying at Yale, Zoe worked as the San Francisco Grassroots Director for The Humane League. She presented in high school and college classrooms about the environmental effects of animal agriculture, and helped pass regional and national welfare reforms for farmed animals. Zoe is a graduate of Brandeis University, and she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia from 2014-2016. 

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Colin Peterson

M.A. (Global Affairs) 2021

Colin is a graduate student at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where his studies focus on addressing climate change and fostering climate resilience in developing countries. His interests include examining the impacts of animal food systems on ecological integrity, public health, and rights of non-human animals. Most recently, he worked to help build the capacity of rural communities in Madagascar through the promotion of climate-smart agriculture, nutrition and disease prevention initiatives, and biodiversity conservation. As a LEAP Student Fellow, he is excited to learn from both his peers and animal law experts to collaboratively innovate solutions that uplift all kinds of life and their environments.

 
 
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Kathryn Pogin

J.D. 2020

Kathryn is a third-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Northwestern University. She received her M.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and her B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Her theoretical work primarily concerns the relationship between social injustice and barriers to knowledge formation. She is also interested in animal ethics more broadly, and serves as an executive producer of the Philosophy Phridays series at The Daily Ant, which seeks to bring philosophy and myrmecology into conversation for a general audience.

 
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Manny Rutinel 

J.D. 2021

Manny is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School with a course load focused on Animal and Environmental Law. He hopes to use his education and experiences to tackle a neglected issue with some of the most significant consequences for our environment, our health, and the moral fabric of our humanity: animal agriculture. Manny has worked as an Economist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, which included a several month work detail at the Institute for Water Resources as well as a deployment to Puerto Rico as a First Responder after Hurricane Maria. In 2018, Manny interned in the Farm Animal Protection division of the Humane Society of the United States. Manny holds a B.S. in Microbiology, a B.A. Economics, and minors in Chemistry and Philosophy from the University of Florida. He also holds a M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

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Lexi Smith 

J.D. 2022

Lexi is a second year student at Yale Law School. Her father is a wildlife veterinarian in Georgia, so she grew up surrounded by animals and the outdoors. That inspired her to study environmental science as an undergrad at Harvard College, and during that time, she served as Chair of the school’s Environmental Action Committee, as a research intern at the Sierra Club’s DC office, as a campus outreach fellow for Mercy for Animals, and as a research intern on sustainable farm policy at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic under Professor Emily Broad Leib. After graduating, she worked as an advisor to Mayor Marty Walsh at the City of Boston, where she helped update the City’s Climate Action Plan, launch its Community Choice Energy program, and expand its food waste composting efforts.

 
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Lindsay Stern

LEAP Podcast Co-Founder

Ph.D. (Comparative Literature) 2023 

Lindsay is the author of two novellas and one novel, The Study of Animal Languages (Viking/Penguin). After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, she taught and wrote in Phnom Penh, Cape Town, and Cuzco on a Watson Fellowship before attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow and won the Taylor-Chehak prize in fiction. The co-founder and co-host of the Yale University podcast "When We Talk About Animals," she has received a FLAS fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, an Amy Award in poetry from Poets & Writers, and a Franke Fellowship from Yale, where she is pursuing a PhD in comparative literature. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including PANK, DIAGRAM, and Smithsonian Magazine.  

 
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Aaron Troncoso

J.D./M.E.M. 2023 

Aaron is an aspiring environmental advocate originally from New York City. A recent graduate of Yale College, he is currently pursuing a dual J.D. and Master of Environmental Management at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before returning to Yale, he worked to help communities around Massachusetts prepare for the impacts of climate change at the grassroots nonprofit Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW). Aaron is also passionate about landscape, wildlife, and ecosystem conservation. For his senior thesis project in environmental studies, he hiked ~1,100 miles along the Appalachian Trail from West Virginia to Maine, studying how increases in use affected the trail’s ecology and social dynamics. As a LEAP Student Fellow, he hopes to learn more about innovative legal and policy techniques that can be used to address critical environmental issues.

 

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Molly Loomis Tyson

M.E.M. 2020

Molly is pursuing a Masters of Environmental Management through Yale's School of Forestry's Mid Career program. Since the mid-1990s, Molly has worked as an outdoor educator, international mountain guide, and most recently a climbing ranger for the National Park Service. This work, in addition to personal expeditions, has taken her to remote mountain ranges around the world. She combines her love of the out of doors with writing and has published over 300 articles, including pieces in multiple books. As a LEAP Fellow, Molly looks forward to exploring issues of human-wildlife coexistence pertinent to her home in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is particularly interested in pursuing questions about legal protection for migratory corridors; tribal rights relevant to wildlife management; and legislation against controversial predator hunting techniques. Molly is a Research Associate with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. For information and samples of her writing visit mollyloomis.com.

 

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Miklós Veszprémi 

Ph.D. (Music Theory) 2022

Miklós is an aspirational student of environmental law and Ph.D. candidate in music theory. His research interests range from Franz Liszt and the perception of form to the evolutionary origins of music. He was born in Barcelona and grew up in Basel, where he became a concert pianist. As an undergraduate at the Royal College of Music in London, he read much philosophy and puzzled over the underlying metaphysics of moral systems. He believes that animal law, by problematizing personhood, has the potential to destabilize the ontology of our selves which is precipitating an environmental catastrophe.

 
 

 

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Alex Weiss 

J.D. 2022

Alex is a student at Yale Law School. He is primarily interested in animal law. In particular, he is excited to study the legal and economic issues around factory farming. He received M.A. and C.Phil. (candidacy) degrees in economics from UC San Diego, with a focus on law and economics theory.

 
 
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Rotem Weizman 

M.A. (Global Affairs) 2020

Rotem is a peacebuilder with a passion for the environment. Most recently she worked as a coordinator for the multilateral organization EcoPeace Middle East, where she promoted nonviolent solutions for transboundary water problems and facilitated environmental peacebuilding activities for youth. For her work, she was named an Ambassador for One Young World. In the organization’s 2017 summit, Rotem presented her work to 1,300 young leaders and dignitaries such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Kofi Annan and Juan Manuel Santos. Earlier, she coordinated an international alliance affiliated with one of Israel's political parties. With her experience as a field journalist, Rotem contributed to the public relations efforts of the Jewish Distribution Committee, a large humanitarian organization. She was also a seminar coordinator for the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Rotem graduated magna cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, communications and journalism.