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Douglas Kysar

Faculty Co-Director

Doug Kysar is Faculty Co-Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program 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 L.L.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 and Research Scholar

Viveca Morris is the Executive Director of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School, a Research Scholar at Yale Law School, and a Lecturer in Law. She founded LEAP in partnership with Faculty Co-Directors Doug Kysar and Jonathan Lovvorn in 2019. Her research investigates the impacts of big business on the environment and animals, including the role of multinational agribusinesses in the climate crisis, strategies to hold agribusinesses and associated actors accountable for their environmental impacts and externalized costs, and policy reforms needed to make agriculture more sustainable, humane, and resilient. 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. Morris received B.A., M.E.M. (Master of Environmental Management), and M.B.A. degrees from Yale University. Her writing on business and the environment has been published by The Los Angeles TimesThe Hill, Politico, and other publications. 

 

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Daina Bray

Climate Change and Animal Agriculture Senior Litigation Fellow

Daina Bray leads the Climate Change and Animal Agriculture Litigation Initiative within the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School and is a Clinical Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar in Law. Daina has extensive animal law and litigation practice experience, and a sustained and pragmatic commitment to making a positive difference in the ways that we interact with non-human animals. She previously served as general counsel of the nonprofits Mercy for Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and practiced with major international law firms in the areas of litigation and international arbitration. Daina is a past chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) TIPS Animal Law Committee, the ABA International Animal Law Committee, and the Tennessee Bar Association Animal Law Section. Daina received a JD from Stanford Law School, a BA in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead scholar, a Fulbright scholarship for research in environmental education, and the 2021 ABA Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award.

 

 

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Laurie Sellars

Postgraduate Fellow

Laurie is the Postgraduate Fellow with the Law, Ethics & Animals Program at Yale Law School and an Associate Research Scholar at Yale Law School. Her research seeks to understand how anthropogenic activities - particularly food systems - affect and exploit nonhuman animals - particularly marine wildlife and maricultured animals. Before joining LEAP, Laurie received an M.A. in Animal Studies from New York University, where she conducted research on the representation of sharks in tourism activities, the ethics of xenotransplantation, and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted nonhuman animals. Prior to graduate school, Laurie worked as an analyst at an economic consulting firm, The Brattle Group, which provides expert economic testimony in litigation. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 2015 with a degree in economics and political science.

 

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Caroline Zhang

Climate Change and Animal Agriculture Litigation Fellow

Caroline Zhang is a Climate Change and Animal Agriculture Litigation Fellow. She is originally from Carmel, Indiana. Prior to joining LEAP, she worked at the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel and interned with the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the Washington State Office of the Attorney General Environmental Protection Division. Caroline received a JD from Stanford Law School, where she was involved in the Environmental Law Clinic.

 

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Jennifer Skene

Co-host, When We Talk About Animals

Jennifer Skene is a Clinical Lecturer in Law with the Environmental Protection Clinic at Yale and the Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Canada Project. Her work focuses on policy advocacy around primary forest protection in the Canadian boreal and other Northern forests, forest carbon accounting and regulation, and Indigenous rights. Jennifer co-hosts the Yale University podcast “When We Talk About Animals,” through which she explores with guests the astonishing non-human world and the reflections, lessons, and insights it provides on our own humanity. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2014 and holds a B.S. in Communication from Northwestern University.

 

LEAP Student Fellows (2023-2024)


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Reni Axelrod

J.D. / M.E.M. 2024

Reni Axelrod is a Joint Degree J.D. and Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Environment and Pace Law School. Her professional focus lies at the intersection of public health, human rights, and systems thinking. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to explore the impact of climate change on zoonotic diseases, with a specific emphasis on addressing water management in agricultural regions susceptible to extreme flooding. She seeks to apply an interdisciplinary approach to address zoonotic disease transmission that considers the health of people and animals. She seeks to learn how animal law can have a role in public health responses to zoonotic diseases. Prior to law school, she obtained a Master of Public Health at Columbia University and B.S. in Bioengineering. 

 
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Stuart Babcock

J.D. 2024

Stuart Babcock is a third year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, he is broadly interested in advancing animal welfare in agricultural, scientific, and wild contexts. Before matriculating at Yale, Stuart attended Northwestern University, where he earned a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.M. in Music Theory, and Boston University, where he earned an M.A. in Neuroscience. Between stints in school, he worked as a software engineer and as a patent professional. In the animal space, Stuart has volunteered with Faunalytics, a data-driven animal advocacy non-profit, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a natural history museum with a focus on connecting Chicagoans to nature. He hopes to leverage his technical background as he continues to explore legal avenues to advance animal welfare.

 

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Anagha Babu

M.P.H. 2024

Anagha Babu is a second-year Master of Public Health Candidate concentrating in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Anagha is Co-President of the student organization, Plant-Based For Public Health, which promotes how eating plant-based is indeed practicing public health. Anagha seeks to unite the lens of animal health into public health and vice versa, to promote population health through diet and ultimately foster the lives of Earth’s sentient creatures. Through LEAP, Anagha hopes to bring about change in public health by incorporating and learning about legal and policy-driven strategies around animal treatment in our country. 

 

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Terra Baer

J.D. 2026

Terra is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She received B.A. degrees in Environmental and Urban Studies and Law, Letters, and Society from the University of Chicago, where she produced scholarship analyzing the feasibility of criminalizing ecocide as the fifth core crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Prior to law school, Terra worked in legal academia researching extractive energy market regulation and design. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to further explore her interests in ecocentric legal frameworks, animal rights, and environmental ethics in the context of global governance.

 

 

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Emily Brookfield

M.Div. 2026

Emily is a first-year Master of Divinity student at Yale Divinity School. She is interested in the relationship between animal ethics and religion. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to explore the depiction of non-human animals in the New Testament while considering how these depictions influence modern animal treatment. Emily recently graduated with a B.A. from Washington and Lee University, where she studied English, Classics, and Poverty and Human Capability Studies. 

 

 

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Diarmuid Cassidy

M.P.P. (Global Affairs) 2025

Diarmuid hopes to reduce the suffering and generally improve the lives of non-human animals, with a particular focus on farmed animals. He plans to use his time as a LEAP Fellow to advocate for improvements in farm animal welfare policy, targeting both policy professionals and a wider public audience. Diarmuid is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs. Prior to Yale, Diarmuid trained and practiced as a medical doctor and subsequently worked as a management consultant and philanthropic researcher focused on global public health. After graduating from Yale, he plans to work in politics and foreign policy in Ireland and the EU, where (among other things) he will continue to advocate for improvements in the lives of non-human animals.  

 

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Jade Chowning

J.D. 2024

Jade Chowning is a third-year J.D. Candidate at Yale Law School. She is interested in the intersection between climate justice, environmental justice, and the labor movement. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to highlight the connections between human and non-human animal exploitation under capitalism. In law school, she is a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and the Challenging Mass Incarceration Clinic. 

 

 

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Huangrui Chu

M.S. 2024

Huangrui Chu is a graduate student at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). He is currently the research assistant for the bird collision project. As a LEAP Fellow, he hopes to dig into this research to make Yale a bird-friendly environment. Prior to Yale, he also joined the Bird Collision Project at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) and visualize the bird collision data based on DKU’s campus map. Huangrui holds a bachelor's degree in data science from Duke Kunshan University.

 

 

 

 

 

Ilaria Cimadori

Ph.D. 2027

Ilaria is a third-year Ph.D. student at the Yale School of the Environment. Her interest in animal protection motivated her master's thesis research project. In particular, she carried out a policy effectiveness assessment of four prominent conventions protecting biodiversity with African Elephants as a case study, analyzing data on African Elephants in four countries to see how effective these conventions were at protecting the population over the years. During her Ph.D., she would like to focus her research on new bio-technologies regulations and how they may impact animals and the environment. During her free time, she volunteers at the animal shelter of her hometown. She also has a background in languages and international relations.

 

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Margaret Cyr-Ohngemach

J.D. / M.E.M. 2024

Margaret is a second-year Joint Degree JD/MEM student at Yale School of the Environment and Pace Law School. Her professional interests include supply chain & grid decarbonization, circular economies, food/agricultural policies and ending cruel confinement. Her scholarly interests pertain to advancing and expediting rights of nature and rights of nonhumans in a generally anthropocentric society with a rapidly declining natural environment and ecological milieu. Margaret is engaged at YSE via the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and at YLS through the Environmental Protection Clinic. Outside of school, Margaret enjoys hiking, yoga, trying new plant-based foods, skiing/snowboarding, and snuggling her two black cats.

 

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Pranjal Drall

J.D. 2026

Pranjal is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. His primary research interests are in the fields of environmental law, corporate governance, and bankruptcy. Before starting law school, he was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), where he analyzed the relationships between misallocation of resources, firm learning, and lease terms on productivity in the U.S. fracking industry. Prior to joining EPIC, he was a Tobin pre-doctoral fellow at YLS and focused on retirement menu design, gun policy, and racial discrimination in a variety of contexts. He graduated from Grinnell College in 2020 with a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics.

 

Diego Ellis Soto

Ph.D. (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) 2024

Diego's work lies at the intersection of using emergent technology and satellite imagery to study ecology and conservation biology. His dissertation aims to understand how sudden changes in the environment can lead to drastic responses of wildlife across the globe and whether, in turn, we can learn about environmental change through a bird’s eye view of animals themselves. For this he primarily analyzes large amounts of animal data collected from GPS collars to link these with environmental variables. He is currently exploring whether we can use animal-collected meteorological information (collected through on-board sensors deployed on animals) to predict weather. Another chapter of his dissertation assesses whether extreme events – from heatwave events up to lockdowns occurring during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic -- lead to long-term changes in wildlife behavior across the world. More broadly, Diego has been interested in bringing the humanities and the sciences closer together for the past ten years. Specifically, Diego is interested in showcasing how technology allows us to see the world through the lens of animals themselves, from their individual movements, to the sounds animals make, to an animal music opera he is currently working on. He hopes that such artistic expression increases public appreciation on the beauty of animals in the wild and the dangers they face during their day to day voyages in response to increasing human pressures and warming climates. Diego’s work has been covered by numerous news outlets, including the New York Times, BBC, ABC News, the Spanish news outlet EFE, Yahoo News, and more. He received a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Trier, a M.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Konstanz, and a M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale.

 

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Grace Engelman

J.D. 2025

Grace is a second year J.D. candidate. Prior to law school, she worked for a holistic public defense organization in New York City and assisted clients with the civil legal issues that resulted from their contact with the criminal legal and family regulatory systems. She received her B.A. in philosophy from Brown, where she studied alternatives to retributive punishment. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to link her background in public defense to topics in animal law and policy. She is interested in the intersection between labor justice, environmental justice, and factory farm abolition.

 

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Kristy Ferraro

Ph.D. (Forestry & Environmental Studies) 2024

Kristy is a sixth year Ph.D. student in the School of the Environment. Her dissertation work focuses on how large non-human mammals impact nutrient and carbon cycles, specifically in northern 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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Marisol Garcia

Yale Prison Education Initiative 2026

Marisol Garcia is a justice-impacted scholar who graduated in 2022 and 2023 from Trinity College with a Master's in Public Policy and attends Vermont Law School. She is a Yale Prison Education College to Career Fellow for 2022-2024 and is in the Yale Law School Access Program for 2021-2023. Marisol works on policy and research on the intersection of the carceral system, humans, and animals' dispensability in society.  She hopes that her continued research on carceral policy and health outcomes will benefit those deemed unfit for society.

 

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Kelli Hata

M.A.Rc. Religion and Ecology, Yale Divinity School 2025

Kelli Hata is a Master of Arts in Religion, Concentration in Religion and Ecology, Candidate at Yale Divinity School. She is interested in Environmental Theology and Philosophy, including Animal Theology and Christian Food Ethics, and Eco-Justice and the Global South. Currently, she serves as a Research Assistant for the Yale Bird-Friendly Building Initiative (YBFBI). As a LEAP Fellow, Kelli will engage in a creative venture called the Haecceity Project, which complements her work with YBFBI. Inspired by John Duns Scotus' notion of "haecceitas" or "thisness," the aim of this project is to undertake what can be likened to "Adam's task." Centrally, the Haecceity Project seeks to assign a unique name to each bird documented within the YBFBI so as to cultivate a profound and personal connection with these individual beings. Through the act of naming and recognizing the distinctiveness of each bird, the Haecceity Project hopes to inspire a deeper empathy and appreciation for the inherent value of these beautiful creatures. Such a connection can serve as a potent catalyst for driving policy reform and systemic change in favor of the welfare of birds.

 

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Sarah Hirschfield

J.D. 2025

Sarah Hirschfield is a J.D candidate at Yale Law School. She is interested in animal ethics, animal-welfare arguments for veganism, and impact investing. She received an M.Phil. in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Sarah holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University, where she co-founded the Princeton Vegan Society.

 

 

Momoko Ishii

Ph.D. (Environmental Engineering) 2025

Momoko Ishii is a fourth-year Ph.D. 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.

 

 

 

 

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Advesh Jalan

M.B.A. 2025

Advesh (he/him) is a first-year MBA Student at the Yale School of Management. He has a varied background in engineering and financial services, but his interest in LEAP stems from his passion for animal rights. In India, he was part of a national collaborative focused on raising awareness about animal rights. As a LEAP Fellow, he wants to learn from accomplished and like-minded people, understand the business and legal context around animal rights and plant-based food in the U.S., and find his niche to build a career in this space in the future.

 

 

 

 

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Judson (Judd) Katz

Executive M.P.H. 2024

Currently at Elligo Health Research as a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Judd handles and assists in all legal areas of the business. Judd was formerly with the FDA as a lead counsel, as well as several pharmaceutical companies in varying roles. Judd earned his Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University prior to obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University, where he was a managing editor of the Animal Law Journal. He obtained a Master in Healthcare Administration at Seton Hall University, a Master’s of Science degree from John’s Hopkins University, and another Master’s of Science from Columbia University. Judd has graduate certificates from American University in Genetics, Medicine, International Health, Bioethics, and Pharmaceutical Law. Judd also has a Healthcare Compliance Certificate from Seton Hall University School of Law.  He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at Yale University. Being a LEAP Student Fellow brings together Judd's desire to pursue legislative change and advocacy for animals, and he looks forward to contributing to the program.

 

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Eui Young Kim

J.D. 2025

Eui Young is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She has a B.A. in philosophy from Yale College. Her interests include effective altruism, factory farming, and plant-based meat. She worked at New Haven Legal Assistance before starting law school.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Landau

J.D. 2024

Rebecca is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, she is interested in policy issues surrounding the human impact on biodiversity. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a legislative drafter for the South Carolina Senate. In this role, she drafted legislation related to various environmental policy issues, including animal law—from the illegal capture of wild reptiles to the study of microplastics in aquatic life. She holds a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina.

 

 

Emma Findlen LeBlanc

J.D. 2024

Emma is a third-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She studies evolving legal formulations of personhood, especially their relation to rights, citizenship, standing, and property. She is interested in how strategies of restricting the legal personhood of historically excluded groups, such as non-white racial minorities and women, are deployed against nonhuman animals in ways that obscure the complex interdependence of structures of oppression. Emma earned her D.Phil. and M.Phil. in anthropology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and a B.A. in sociology from Brown. She is currently writing a book about poor forest communities in eastern Canada trying to live outside of and against capitalist moral structures. She focuses on the impact of industrial forestry on rural communities’ moral relationships with animals and trees. Previously, she worked as a senior researcher at the ACLU of Maine, where she focused on racial justice and bail reform.

 

Rosalyn Leban

J.D. 2024

Rosalyn is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School studying the intersections of environmental justice, economic justice, immigrant justice, and the criminal legal system. She is interested in exploring the impacts of capitalism and environmental racism on immigrant communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color. Prior to law school, Rosalyn worked with asylum-seekers and migrants in Guatemala, many of whom fled untenable environmental and economic conditions in their ancestral homelands. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College.

 

 

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Richard Li

Ph.D. (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) 2025

Richard is a Ph.D. candidate in Yale's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research focuses on the spatial and temporal dynamics of biological invasions, and aims to use biodiversity data from global databases to inform and improve the monitoring of species invasions worldwide. Richard is additionally interested in the networks of social and ecological values that underpin conservation decisions around invasive species control and management, at the nexus of ethics, conservation science, and invasion ecology. Before coming to Yale, Richard completed his B.A. in Environmental Biology at Columbia University.

 

 

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Kaitlyn Maurais

M.P.H. 2024

Kaitlyn Maurais is a second-year graduate student pursing her Master’s of Public Health specializing in the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. She is interested in studying vector-borne diseases and utilizing One Health intervention and policy strategies to improve the health of humans, animals and the environment. Currently, she is a research assistant at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station studying Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in local CT mosquitoes. Kaitlyn received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Skidmore College in 2022.

 

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Chloe Medina

J.D. 2025

Chloe is a second-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She is originally from Los Angeles and graduated from Columbia University in 2021. She is greatly interested in environmental justice and animal law reform, so she hopes to expand her knowledge of those fields while a LEAP Fellow. Animal protection, in particular, is very important to her, so she hopes to focus on that.

 

 

 

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Brooke Mercaldi

M.E.M. / J.D. 2024

Brooke is a dual degree student at the Yale School of the Environment and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law. Her background in coastal and marine sciences introduced her to the discrepancies between the reality of environmental issues and the legal structures intended to address them. This issue inspired Brooke to pursue a career in environmental law to help bridge the gap between environmental science, policy, and law. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to expand her knowledge on the vulnerabilities of nonhuman species within this intersection and uncover leverage points that can enable more effective legal protections. 

 

Ian Miller

J.D. 2024

Ian is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is interested in housing affordability, factory farm abolition, and air pollution as issues of environmental justice. As a LEAP Fellow, he explores factory farm expansion in the developing world. Ian holds a B.A. in Philosophy, History, and South Asian studies from Stanford University. In 2019-2020, he was a Fulbright Research Scholar based at the Supreme Court of India and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

 

 

Jonathan Perez-Reyzin

J.D. 2024

Jonathan is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is especially interested in questions about animals at the intersection of law and philosophy, including issues regarding the relationship between animals’ consciousness and their legal status. While completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Harvard, he served as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Review of Philosophy, where he oversaw the publication of an issue entirely dedicated to philosophical work on animals. In addition to his commitment to working towards greater legal and political support for the ethical treatment of animals, he also has interests in drug policy reform, criminal legal system reform, and environmental justice, and hopes to think more about the common philosophical commitments which underpin these various legal movements.

 

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Santiago Potes

J.D. 2026

Santiago T. Potes is a first-year student at the Law School. His entryway into animal law has principally been through sport, and he looks forward to studying animal welfare in this context as a LEAP Student Fellow. Equally he is interested in understanding the psychological, philosophical, and economic foundations of differing welfare laws comparatively.

 

 

 

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Stefan Oliva

M.B.A. 2024

Stefan is a second-year M.B.A. student at Yale School of Management. He is committed to studying the future of food systems and how best to reconcile the needs of all species in a warming world. At Yale, Stefan also serves as the founding climate deal team lead with the Meng Impact Investment Fund, where he is focused on deploying capital to early-stage startups with high potential for climate mitigation and adaptation solutions. Stefan has previously worked at a remote sensing-focused startup and in climate tech venture capital. Prior to Yale, Stefan majored in both International Relations and African Studies as an undergraduate at Colgate University. 

 

 

 

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Thomas Peterson

J.D. 2026

Thomas Peterson is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is interested in the impact of animal agriculture on climate change and deforestation and in legal strategies for holding corporations accountable for their environmental impacts. Prior to law school, he worked in climate-related shareholder advocacy at the non-profit As You Sow and at Green Century Capital Management, where he led shareholder proposals targeting some of the world’s largest agribusinesses, retailers, oil and gas companies, and banks on issues related to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and conservation. His achievements include majority-supported shareholder proposals focused on climate and deforestation at companies like Costco and Home Depot. Before that, he worked as a field organizer on campaigns to support legislation on environmental issues. Thomas holds an A.B. from Harvard in History & Literature and in Theater, Dance & Media and was a postgraduate Harvard Williams-Lodge Scholar at the Sorbonne Nouvelle.

 

Thomas Poston

J.D. 2024

Thomas Poston is a third-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. A native of eastern North Carolina, Thomas studied politics, international affairs, and economics at Wake Forest University. He has a particular interest in the legal frameworks governing international trade and development, environmental degradation, and human and non-human animal exploitation, which he explored during a Fulbright research fellowship in Cambodia. Thomas has previously worked with a variety of public-service institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Department of State, and the Inter-American Development Bank. He is a Ludwig Program Fellow at the Law School and a 2022-2023 Emerging Scholar Fellow with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy.

 

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Philine Qian

J.D. 2024

Philine is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She is committed to social movement building for a more just future and seeks to address the harmful impact of industrial animal agriculture on environmental justice communities in her academic and professional endeavors. Prior to law school, Philine worked at Greenpeace Belgium and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Los Angeles. She received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Southern California.

 

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Yousuf Rehman

M.B.A. 2024

Yousuf is a second-year MBA student at Yale School of Management. He is interested in interdisciplinary methods that address animal welfare alongside other issues often implicated with animal welfare, such as climate, human rights, racial equity, and economic welfare. Yousuf holds a B.S.E. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Duke University, where he researched machine learning algorithms for geospatial analysis of environmental systems. As a LEAP Fellow, Yousuf plans to develop and promote policy changes at Yale that empower students to disinvest from products derived from animal cruelty.

 

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Ethan Shopmeyer

J.D. 2026

Ethan is a first-year student at Yale Law School and recent graduate of Butler University. There, he completed a senior thesis applying conceptual tools from feminist philosophy in order to establish a critique of latent anthropocentric norms within American legal institutions. At Yale, he hopes to continue such research and eventually pursue a career as an animal scholar in legal academia.

 

 

 

Nathalie Sommer

Ph.D. (School of the Environment) 2025

Nat is a fifth-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.

 

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Lauren Taylor

J.D. 2026

Lauren is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She is broadly interested in multi-disciplinary approaches to pushing for structural change. Prior to law school, she worked in political advocacy and specifically focused on researching how digital communication strategies could help register and mobilize underrepresented communities to vote. As a LEAP fellow, Lauren is interested in exploring the intersection of labor, environmental, and animal rights issues. 

 

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Quynhanh Tran

J.D. 2024

Quynhanh is a third-year student at Yale Law School. Prior to law school, she served as District Director for a member of the Texas House of Representatives, where she led the office’s environmental policy agenda. As a LEAP Fellow, she hopes to explore how local governments can leverage their power to protect animals and the environment. She holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

 

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Audrey Uitenbroek Rosa da Silva

M.A.Rc. Religion and Ecology, Yale Divinity School 2025

Audrey is a first-year student at the Divinity School, where she is undertaking a Master of Arts in Religion, with a concentration in Religion and Ecology. She is a recent graduate of Durham University (UK) where she received a BSc in Geography. As a Leap Fellow, Audrey hopes to explore and develop her interests in environmental policy and environmental justice. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stephanie von Ungern Sternberg Prufer

J.D. / M.E.M. 2026

Stephanie is a J.D. / M.E.M. student at Yale Law School and the Yale School of the Environment. Before coming to graduate school, Stephanie worked at the Center for Biological Diversity where she campaigned for policies that preserve marine biodiversity and address the climate crisis. Stephanie is generally interested in the intersections of international environmental law, ocean governance, biodiversity conservation, and human and non-human rights. Stephanie holds a B.S. in Marine Biology and Environmental Science & Policy from Duke University. 

 

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Lakshmi Venkataraman

M.B.A. / M.P.P. 2025

Lakshmi is a lawyer and an M.B.A./M.P.P. joint-degree candidate at Yale. This summer, she interned with Archer Daniels Midland’s VC arm, focused on alt-protein investments. Prior to Yale, she worked in the Indian animal rights movement. At Humane Society International/India and at the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, she partnered with the government, farmers, and food businesses (hospitality, CPG, retail, and startups) to grow India’s cage-free and alt-protein ecosystems. She co-created India’s first trade association for cage-free egg farmers (2022), chaired India’s first roundtable on sustainable aquaculture and fish welfare (2020), co-organized India’s then largest alt-protein conference — The Future of Protein Summit (2019), and led India’s then largest animal rights conference — India for Animals (2018). Lakshmi graduated from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India in 2016, with a B.A., LL.B (Hons.). After Yale, she hopes to bring an intersectional perspective to the US alt-protein industry.

 

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Kathleen Voight

M.E.Sc. 2024

Kathleen Voight is a Master of Environmental Science candidate focused on the conservation and management of working lands in the Rocky Mountain West. Her research focuses on agricultural viability, resiliency, and drought adaptation in livestock grazing systems in southern Colorado. Kathleen is passionate about agricultural systems that bolster ecosystem health, rural economies, and animal welfare. Prior to matriculating at the Yale School of the Environment, Kathleen worked in agriculture, conservation, and environmental education. Kathleen holds a B.A. in History of Art from Yale University and she is a former Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Fellow. In her free time, Kathleen likes to bike, hike, and ski as often as possible.

 

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Maggie Wang

J.D. 2025

Maggie is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, she is especially interested in food systems and sovereignty, urban ecology, and conservation. She holds a B.A. in history and economics from the University of Oxford.

 

 

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Luning Yang

M.S. (Health Informatics) 2025

Luning Yang is a Year 1 M.S. student majoring in Health Informatics at Yale. Being a person who advocates against animal cruelty, she pays close attention to the progress of the highly appealed legal bills on animal welfare that are still being drafted in China. She actively reflects on the embodiment and practice of animal rights in law. As a LEAP fellow, she hopes to explore how laws and policies can contribute to the prevention of abusive behavior towards animals and the implementation of universal social norms. She also wants to conduct research to investigate how the improvement of animal welfare impacts the mental health of individuals by analyzing population health data. She hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics from the Xi’an-Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou, China.

 

Quincy Yangh

M.E.M. 2024

Quincy Yangh (he/him) is a Master of Environmental Management Candidate at Yale School of Environment. Guided by his upbringing as a child of Hmong refugees, he centers his life’s work on indigenous and cultural resurgence within diaspora communities. In this work, he aims to magnify the strength of these communities and co-create environmental solutions that center ecological, cultural, and spiritual vitality. As a LEAP Fellow, Quincy will explore the ancestral kinship/relationship between animals and the Hmong Shaman community. In doing so, he hopes to illuminate an alternative, kin-centered, human-animal ethic that his people have practiced since times immemorial.

 

Undergraduate Affiliates (2023-2024)


Daniel Blokh

Assistant Podcast Producer

B.A. 2024

Daniel Blokh is a 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 senior at Yale.

 

Past LEAP Student Fellows

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Stuart Babcock

J.D. 2024

Stuart Babcock is a second year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, he is broadly interested in advancing animal welfare in agricultural, scientific, and wild contexts. Before matriculating at Yale, Stuart attended Northwestern University, where he earned a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.M. in Music Theory, and Boston University, where he earned an M.A. in Neuroscience. Between stints in school, he worked as a software engineer and as a patent professional. In the animal space, Stuart has volunteered with Faunalytics, a data-driven animal advocacy non-profit, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a natural history museum with a focus on connecting Chicagoans to nature. He hopes to leverage his technical background as he continues to explore legal avenues to advance animal welfare.

 

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Hannah Beath

M.P.H. 2023

Hannah Beath is a second-year Master of Public Health candidate in the Health Policy department with a concentration in Climate Change and Health. She is particularly interested in the intersection of health and climate policy and how to leverage communication strategies to increase support for policy intervention, particularly in the Southern United States and Southern Appalachia, where she is from. As a LEAP fellow, her research will explore the relationship between health co-benefits, environmental regulations, and animal rights through a policy lens.

 

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Elinor Case-Pethica

J.D. 2023

Elinor is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She received her undergraduate degree in studio art from Wesleyan University in 2017 and spent several years working in curation and contemporary art research prior to starting law school. Her introduction to the animal welfare and rights movement was through this curatorial lens, confronting issues of cultural expression and exchange in the Guggenheim’s Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World exhibition, which was widely critiqued for its inclusion of artworks that incorporated live animals. Elinor looks forward to investigating how human interactions with animals unsettle the perceived divide between the natural and the cultural, particularly as it pertains to farming and food systems.

 

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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.

 

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Huangrui Chu

M.S. 2024

Huangrui Chu is a graduate student at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). He is currently the research assistant for the bird collision. As a LEAP fellow, he hopes to dig into this research to make yale a bird-friendly environment. Prior to Yale, he also joined the Bird Collision Project at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) and visualize the bird collision data based on DKU’s campus map. Huangrui holds a bachelor's degree in data science from Duke Kunshan University.

 

 

 

 

Ilaria Cimadori

Ph.D. 2027

Ilaria is a second year PhD student at the Yale School of the Environment. Her interest in animal protection motivated her master's thesis research project. In particular, she carried out a policy effectiveness assessment of four prominent conventions protecting biodiversity with African Elephants as a case study, analyzing data on African Elephants in four countries to see how effective these conventions were at protecting the population over the years. During her PhD, she would like to focus her research on new bio-technologies regulations and how they may impact animals and the environment. During her free time, she volunteers at the animal shelter of her hometown. She also has a background in languages and international relations.

 

Alice Courtright

S.T.M. Yale Divinity School 2023

Alice Courtright studies theology and literature at Yale Divinity School, with a particular interest in the environmental humanities. She received her BA from Yale in English literature and creative writing, and her MDiv from Sewanee’s School of Theology in Tennessee. After seminary, Alice served as an Episcopal priest in New Hampshire for five years. As a LEAP fellow, Alice will explore ideas around animals, suffering, motherhood, longing, and the environment in her poetry and prose.

 

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Margaret Cyr-Ohngemach

J.D. / M.E.M. 2024

Margaret is a first year Joint Degree JD/MEM student at Yale School of the Environment and Pace Law School. Her professional interests include supply chain & grid decarbonization, circular economies, food/agricultural policies and ending cruel confinement. Her scholarly interests pertain to advancing and expediting rights of nature and rights of nonhumans in a generally anthropocentric society with a rapidly declining natural environment and ecological milieu. Margaret is engaged at YSE via the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and at YLS through the Environmental Protection Clinic. Outside of school, Margaret enjoys hiking, yoga, trying new plant-based foods, skiing/snowboarding, and snuggling her two black cats.

 

 

Diego Ellis Soto

Ph.D. (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) 2024

Diego's work lies at the intersection of using emergent technology and satellite imagery to study ecology and conservation biology. His dissertation aims to understand how sudden changes in the environment can lead to drastic responses of wildlife across the globe and whether, in turn, we can learn about environmental change through a bird’s eye view of animals themselves. For this he primarily analyzes large amounts of animal data collected from GPS collars to link these with environmental variables. He is currently exploring whether we can use animal-collected meteorological information (collected through on-board sensors deployed on animals) to predict weather. Another chapter of his dissertation assesses whether extreme events – from heatwave events up to lockdowns occurring during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic -- lead to long-term changes in wildlife behavior across the world. More broadly, Diego has been interested in bringing the humanities and the sciences closer together for the past ten years. Specifically, Diego is interested in showcasing how technology allows us to see the world through the lens of animals themselves, from their individual movements, to the sounds animals make, to an animal music opera he is currently working on. He hopes that such artistic expression increases public appreciation on the beauty of animals in the wild and the dangers they face during their day to day voyages in response to increasing human pressures and warming climates. Diego’s work has been covered by numerous news outlets, including the New York Times, BBC, ABC News, the Spanish news outlet EFE, Yahoo News, and more. He received a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Trier, a M.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Konstanz, and a M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale.

 

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Grace Engelman

J.D. 2025

Grace is a first year J.D. candidate. Prior to law school, she worked for a holistic public defense organization in New York City and assisted clients with the civil legal issues that resulted from their contact with the criminal legal and family regulatory systems. She received her BA in philosophy from Brown, where she studied alternatives to retributive punishment. As a LEAP fellow, she hopes to link her background in public defense to topics in animal law and policy. She is interested in the intersection between labor justice, environmental justice, and factory farm abolition.

 

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Kristy Ferraro

Ph.D. (Forestry & Environmental Studies) 2024

Kristy is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the School of the Environment. Her dissertation work focuses on how large non-human mammals impact nutrient and carbon cycles, specifically in northern 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.

 

Robin Happel

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

Robin is a joint law student with Yale and Pace University. Previously, she worked with Earth Law Center supporting rights of nature language, and additionally served as a legal intern for the IUCN World Conservation Congress and as a member of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She is a signatory to the Youth for Nature Manifesto as part of the UN Environment Programme's Major Group of Children & Youth, and additionally certified in biodiversity law through UNEP and as a Protected Species Observer under BOEM. Before starting law school, she worked in a paleontology lab and as a research assistant for the Bronx Zoo.

 

 

 

 

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Vivian Hawkinson

M.E.S.c. 2023

Vivian's current research uses agent-based models to examine how changes in habitat availability, connectivity, and livestock herding practices in the American West alter grey wolf, ungulate, and livestock spatial and behavioral patterns. The aim is to understand contingent landscape factors that predictively lead to or diminish carnivore-livestock conflict. As the grey wolf population continues to rebound and an increasing number of wolf packs establish home ranges across the Western United States, it will be necessary to understand what features on the landscape contribute to occurrences of conflict and what grazing practices livestock owners might implement to mitigate potential instances of predation. By contributing to this field of knowledge Vivian hope to ease financial burdens faced by livestock owners, encourage long-term, sustainable wildlife movement patterns, and assist in the recovery of the narrative surrounding grey wolves.

 

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Sarah Hirschfield

J.D. 2025

Sarah Hirschfield is a J.D candidate at Yale Law School. She is interested in animal ethics, animal-welfare arguments for veganism, and impact investing. She received an MPhil in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Sarah holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University, where she co-founded the Princeton Vegan Society.

 

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A.J. Hudson

J.D. 2023

A. J. Hudson is a JD candidate at Yale Law School and a recent MESc graduate of the Yale School of the Environment (2019). Before law school, A.J. spent five years teaching and eventually helped to found a public high school in one of the most disenfranchised, polluted, and over-policed neighborhoods in New York City. His legal work at Yale Law School seeks to redefine and redirect the body of environmental law towards the objectives of human and non-human rights, the aims of the climate justice movement, and the pressing needs of the marginalized communities he has served through the establishment of environmental minimums which protect human and non-human interests in tandem. This is both a pedagogical and professional project that pushes environmental law curriculums toward asking uncomfortable questions about systemic inequality that has been ignored for decades and challenges environmental practitioners to examine the failures of the conservation movement for people of color.

 

Momoko Ishii

Ph.D. 2025 (Environmental Engineering)

Momoko Ishii is a third-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.

 

 

 

 

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Eui Young Kim

J.D. 2025

Eui Young is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She has a B.A. in philosophy from Yale College. Her interests include effective altruism, factory farming, and plant-based meat. She worked at New Haven Legal Assistance before starting law school.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Landau

J.D. 2024

Rebecca is a JD candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP fellow, she is interested in policy issues surrounding the human impact on biodiversity. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a legislative drafter for the South Carolina Senate. In this role, she drafted legislation related to various environmental policy issues, including animal law—from the illegal capture of wild reptiles to the study of microplastics in aquatic life. She holds a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina.

 

Emma Findlen LeBlanc

J.D. 2024

Emma is a second year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She studies evolving legal formulations of personhood, especially their relation to rights, citizenship, standing, and property. She is interested in how strategies of restricting the legal personhood of historically excluded groups, such as non-white racial minorities and women, are deployed against nonhuman animals in ways that obscure the complex interdependence of structures of oppression. Emma earned her DPhil and MPhil in anthropology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and a BA in sociology from Brown. She is currently writing a book about poor forest communities in eastern Canada trying to live outside of and against capitalist moral structures. She focuses on the impact of industrial forestry on rural communities’ moral relationships with animals and trees. Previously, she worked as a senior researcher at the ACLU of Maine, where she focused on racial justice and bail reform.

 

Rosalyn Leban

J.D. 2024

Rosalyn is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School studying the intersections of environmental justice, economic justice, immigrant justice, and the criminal legal system. She is interested in exploring the impacts of capitalism and environmental racism on immigrant communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color. Prior to law school, Rosalyn worked with asylum-seekers and migrants in Guatemala, many of whom fled untenable environmental and economic conditions in their ancestral homelands. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College.

 

Nina Leviten

J.D. 2023

Nina is a third-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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Richard Li

Ph.D. (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) 2025

Richard is a Ph.D. candidate in Yale's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research focuses on the spatial and temporal dynamics of biological invasions, and aims to use biodiversity data from global databases to inform and improve the monitoring of species invasions worldwide. Richard is additionally interested in the networks of social and ecological values that underpin conservation decisions around invasive species control and management, at the nexus of ethics, conservation science, and invasion ecology. Before coming to Yale, Richard completed his B.A. in Environmental Biology at Columbia University.

 

 

 

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Natalie Makableh

M.P.H. 2023

Natalie is a MPH candidate at the Yale School of Public Health. She is especially interested in the societal, ethical, and public policy questions arising from the adoption of AI-driven technology in transforming healthcare. As a EMD student, Natalie has worked with the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics; where her research focuses on the benefits and ethical challenges posed by synthetic biology and artificial life, genomics, neuropharmacology, and artificial intelligence. As a LEAP Fellow, Natalie hopes to explore the use of AI to detect welfare deviations and avoid preventable animal suffering that takes place in biomedical research. Prior to Yale, Natalie spearheaded and advised numerous early-stage startups in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area on fundraising and scaleup. Natalie holds a MBA and B.S. in Neurobiology and Economics.

 

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Chloe Medina

J.D. 2025

Chloe is a first year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She is originally from Los Angeles and graduated from Columbia University last year. She is greatly interested in environmental justice and animal law reform, so she hopes to expand her knowledge of those fields while a LEAP Fellow. Animal protection, in particular, is very important to her, so she hopes to focus on that.

 

 

 

 

Tamara Mehta

M.P.H. 2023

Tamara is a second-year MPH student at the Yale School of Public Health. Her interests lie between the intersection of non-communicable disease, climate change, and the role animal agriculture plays in South Asian food systems. Tamara holds a B.A. in Human Biology from Pitzer College, where she concentrated in cross-cultural health.

 

 

Ian Miller

J.D. 2024

Ian is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is interested in housing affordability, factory farm abolition, and air pollution as issues of environmental justice. As a LEAP fellow, he will explore factory farm expansion in the developing world. Ian holds a B.A. in Philosophy, History, and South Asian studies from Stanford University. In 2019-2020, he was a Fulbright Research Scholar based at the Supreme Court of India and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

 

 

 

Elijah Olson

J.D. 2023

Elijah is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School focusing on environmental and animal law. He grew up working on his family’s bison conservation ranch where he came to recognize the detrimental impacts of animal agriculture on topsoil and native plants. As a LEAP Fellow, Elijah hopes to explore the ways in which soil regeneration, species and habitat conservation, and rewilding can be supported by ending the exploitation of farmed animals. Elijah holds a B.S. in Economics from Brigham Young University.

 

 

Caroline Parker

J.D. 2023

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.

 

Jonathan Perez-Reyzin

J.D. 2024

Jonathan is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is especially interested in questions about animals at the intersection of law and philosophy, including issues regarding the relationship between animals’ consciousness and their legal status. While completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Harvard, he served as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Review of Philosophy, where he oversaw the publication of an issue entirely dedicated to philosophical work on animals. In addition to his commitment to working towards greater legal and political support for the ethical treatment of animals, he also has interests in drug policy reform, criminal legal system reform, and environmental justice, and hopes to think more about the common philosophical commitments which underpin these various legal movements.

 

Thomas Poston

J.D. 2024

Thomas Poston is a second-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. A native of eastern North Carolina, Thomas studied politics, international affairs, and economics at Wake Forest University. He has a particular interest in the legal frameworks governing international trade and development, environmental degradation, and human and non-human animal exploitation, which he explored during a Fulbright research fellowship in Cambodia. Thomas has previously worked with a variety of public-service institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Department of State, and the Inter-American Development Bank. He is a Ludwig Program Fellow at the Law School and a 2022-2023 Emerging Scholar Fellow with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy.

 

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Philine Qian

J.D. 2024

Philine is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She is committed in her academic and professional endeavors to social movement building for a more just future and seeks to address the harmful impact of industrial animal agriculture on environmental justice communities. Prior to law school, Philine worked at Greenpeace Belgium and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Los Angeles. She received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Southern California.

 

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Alix Rachman

M.P.H. 2023

Alix is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health, specializing in Climate Change and Health. Her academic interests include understanding the impacts of climate change on human, environmental, and wildlife health. Specifically, she is interested in the implications of climate change on agricultural practices, farmworker rights, and resources including livestock, fisheries, and crops. Prior to Yale, Alix worked as a biologist for ICF International, Inc. where she worked to implement environmental mitigation regulations and protect sensitive natural resources on urban development and energy-related projects. Alix graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2017 with a BS in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy and a concentration in Watershed Systems.

 

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Steffen Seitz

J.D. 2023

Steffen Seitz is a third-year JD candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP fellow, he is primarily interested in the intersection of animal law and criminal law. He has spent the past year helping defend animal activists facing felony charges for conducting “open rescues” at factory farms. Steffen holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton University.

 

Nathalie Sommer

Ph.D. (School of the Environment) 2024

Nat is a third-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.

 

Zack Steigerwald Schnall

M.E.M. 2023

Zack is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). He is interested in the structural mechanisms by which inequality is legitimized and reproduced, as well as best approaches to redress it. As a LEAP fellow, he hopes to extend this research to interspecies justice and improve representation for nonhuman species. Prior to Yale, he spearheaded and advised numerous projects in the Greater Boston area focused on strengthening youth voices through critical thinking and civic action. Zack holds an AB in Sociology from Harvard College, where he studied the role of dress in youth boundary work.

 

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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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Aneri Suthar

M.P.H. 2023

Aneri is a second year M.P.H. student in the Health Policy department at YSPH. Her academic interests include reproductive justice, environmental health, pharmaceutical industry regulation, and healthcare system reform overall. She is ultimately aiming towards a career at the intersections of health, law, and policy. She graduated in 2020 from UCLA where she studied Human Biology and Society and International Development Studies, before serving as a Judicial Fellow in the California court system for a year. As a lifelong vegetarian/pescatarian, Aneri has often grappled with the ethical and moral questions that humanity’s treatment of other animals raises. As a LEAP Fellow, she is looking forward to exploring these further and learning more about multidisciplinary opportunities to “think-and-do” positive legal and political change in the realm of animal welfare, especially mitigating the impacts of industrialized animal agriculture.

 

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Steph Tan

M.P.H. 2023

Steph Tan is a second-year Master of Public Health Candidate at the Yale School of Public Health. After being born and raised in New Zealand, then studying Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics at Cornell University ('19), Steph developed a great appreciation for the outdoors, marine conservation, and food security policies. A priority for Steph is banning the captivity of dolphins and other cetaceans. She is also interested in broader animal rights issues, and mitigating environmental degradation imposed by factory farming and overfishing.

 

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Quynhanh Tran

J.D. 2024

Quynhanh is a second-year student at Yale Law School. Prior to law school, she served as District Director for a member of the Texas House of Representatives, where she led the office’s environmental policy agenda. As a LEAP fellow, she hopes to explore how local governments can leverage their power to protect animals and the environment. She holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

 

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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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Kathleen Voight

M.E.Sc. 2024

Kathleen Voight is a Master of Environmental Science candidate interested in agricultural land and rural communities in the Rocky Mountain West. Kathleen is passionate about agricultural systems that improve ecological health, economic viability, and animal welfare. Her research focuses on resiliency and drought adaptation in crop production and livestock grazing in southern Colorado. Prior to coming to the Yale School of the Environment, Kathleen worked in environmental education and in agriculture, growing diversified vegetables and raising pastured livestock. Kathleen holds a BA in History of Art from Yale University and she is a current Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Fellow. In her free time, Kathleen likes to bike, hike, and ski as often as possible.

 

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.

 

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Maggie Wang

J.D. 2025

Maggie is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP fellow, she is especially interested in food systems and sovereignty, urban ecology, and conservation. She holds a BA in history and economics from the University of Oxford.

 

 

 

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.

 

Quincy Yangh

M.E.M. 2024

Quincy Yangh (he/him) is a Master of Environmental Management Candidate at Yale School of Environment. Guided by his upbringing as a child of Hmong refugees, he centers his life’s work on indigenous and cultural resurgence within diaspora communities. In this work, he aims to magnify the strength of these communities and co-create environmental solutions that center ecological, cultural, and spiritual vitality. As a LEAP Fellow, Quincy will explore the ancestral kinship/relationship between animals and the Hmong Shaman community. In doing so, he hopes to illuminate an alternative, kin-centered, human-animal ethic that his people have practiced since times immemorial.

 

Yiheng Zhou

M.S. (Health Informatics) 2023

Yiheng Zhou is a second year master student in Health Informatics at Yale. She is broadly interested in investigating the human-animal relations under climate change. Her previous research has focused on the application of spatial analysis and modeling techniques for wildlife monitoring, disease surveillance and disaster management. As a LEAP fellow, Yiheng hopes to explore how laws and policies can support biodiversity conservation and improve animal welfare. She holds a B.S. in Geographic Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Undergraduate Affiliates (2022-2023)

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.

  

 

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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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Stuart Babcock

J.D. 2024

Stuart Babcock is a first year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, he is broadly interested in advancing animal welfare in agricultural, scientific, and wild contexts. Before matriculating at Yale, Stuart attended Northwestern University, where he earned a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.M. in Music Theory, and Boston University, where he earned an M.A. in Neuroscience. Between stints in school, he worked as a software engineer and as a patent professional. In the animal space, Stuart has volunteered with Faunalytics, a data-driven animal advocacy non-profit, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a natural history museum with a focus on connecting Chicagoans to nature. He hopes to leverage his technical background as he continues to explore legal avenues to advance animal welfare.

 

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Sarah Baldinger

J.D. 2022

Sarah is currently pursuing a J.D. at Yale Law School and is focusing her studies on renewable energy and environmental law. She is also passionate 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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Polina Bochenkova

M.M.S. 2022

Polina Bochnekova is a graduate student at the Yale School of Management. She obtained her first graduate degree at the HEC Paris in France and a Bachelor degree at the University College Roosevelt in the Netherlands. In between her studies, she worked in the public and private sector on sustainable agriculture, circular economy, waste management and plastic pollution, and researched corruption in the Russian banking system. Her academic interests lie in the intersection of business, policy and environment preservation, and she is also engaged in animal studies issues. At LEAP, she wants to explore the evolution of plant-based economies, challenges and opportunities in farmed animal sanctuaries, and the representation of non-human animals in arts.

 

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Elinor Case-Pethica

J.D. 2023

Elinor is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She received her undergraduate degree in studio art from Wesleyan University in 2017 and spent several years working in curation and contemporary art research prior to starting law school. Her introduction to the animal welfare and rights movement was through this curatorial lens, confronting issues of cultural expression and exchange in the Guggenheim’s Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World exhibition, which was widely critiqued for its inclusion of artworks that incorporated live animals. Elinor looks forward to investigating how human interactions with animals unsettle the perceived divide between the natural and the cultural, particularly as it pertains to farming and food systems.

 

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Kristy Ferraro

Ph.D. (Forestry & Environmental Studies) 2023

Kristy is a fourth 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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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Ilaria Cimadori

Ph.D. 2027

Ilaria is a first year PhD student at the Yale School of the Environment. Her interest in animal protection motivated her master's thesis research project. In particular, she carried out a policy effectiveness assessment of four prominent conventions protecting biodiversity with African Elephants as a case study, analyzing data on African Elephants in four countries to see how effective these conventions were at protecting the population over the years. During her PhD, she would like to focus her research on new bio-technologies regulations and how they may impact animals and the environment. During her free time, she volunteers at the animal shelter of her hometown. She also has a background in languages and international relations.

 

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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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Annie Crabill

M.A. (Global Affairs) 2022

Annie Crabill is a second year MA student at Yale's Jackson School of Global Affairs. As a LEAP fellow, she is interested in writing for a broad audience about dietary change in the context of the climate crisis. Before coming to Yale, Annie worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she created explainers for an education website, World101. She graduated in 2014 from the University of Virginia.

 

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Diego Ellis Soto

Ph.D. (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) 2024

Diego's work lies at the intersection of using emergent technology and satellite imagery to study ecology and conservation biology. His dissertation aims to understand how sudden changes in the environment can lead to drastic responses of wildlife across the globe and whether, in turn, we can learn about environmental change through a bird’s eye view of animals themselves. For this he primarily analyzes large amounts of animal data collected from GPS collars to link these with environmental variables. He is currently exploring whether we can use animal-collected meteorological information (collected through on-board sensors deployed on animals) to predict weather. Another chapter of his dissertation assesses whether extreme events – from heatwave events up to lockdowns occurring during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic -- lead to long-term changes in wildlife behavior across the world. More broadly, Diego has been interested in bringing the humanities and the sciences closer together for the past ten years. Specifically, Diego is interested in showcasing how technology allows us to see the world through the lens of animals themselves, from their individual movements, to the sounds animals make, to an animal music opera he is currently working on. He hopes that such artistic expression increases public appreciation on the beauty of animals in the wild and the dangers they face during their day to day voyages in response to increasing human pressures and warming climates. Diego’s work has been covered by numerous news outlets, including the New York Times, BBC, ABC News, the Spanish news outlet EFE, Yahoo News, and more. He received a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Trier, a M.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Konstanz, and a M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale.

 

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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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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. In addition to a LEAP Fellow, Liam has supported HRH The Prince of Wales as a Sustainable Markets Fellow and WE ACT for Environmental Justice as an Environmental Fellow and Energy Research Intern, and is currently work on a new nation-wide environmental justice screening tool. 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) 2022

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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Robin Happel

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

Robin is a joint law student with Yale and Pace University. Previously, she worked with Earth Law Center supporting rights of nature language, and additionally served as a legal intern for the IUCN World Conservation Congress and as a member of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She is a signatory to the Youth for Nature Manifesto as part of the UN Environment Programme's Major Group of Children & Youth, and additionally certified in biodiversity law through UNEP and as a Protected Species Observer under BOEM. Before starting law school, she worked in a paleontology lab and as a research assistant for the Bronx Zoo.

 

 

 

 

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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 involve the intersection of corporate farming and workers' rights. He holds a BA in history and economics from McGill University.

 

 

 

 

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Momoko Ishii

Ph.D. 2025 (Environmental 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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Rebecca Landau

J.D. 2024

Rebecca is a JD candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP fellow, she is interested in policy issues surrounding the human impact on biodiversity. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a legislative drafter for the South Carolina Senate. In this role, she drafted legislation related to various environmental policy issues, including animal law—from the illegal capture of wild reptiles to the study of microplastics in aquatic life. She holds a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina.

 

 

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Emma LeBlanc

J.D. 2024

Emma is a first year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. She studies evolving legal formulations of personhood, especially their relation to rights, citizenship, standing, and property. She is interested in how strategies of restricting the legal personhood of historically excluded groups, such as non-white racial minorities and women, are deployed against nonhuman animals in ways that obscure the complex interdependence of structures of oppression. Emma earned her DPhil and MPhil in anthropology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and a BA in sociology from Brown. She is currently writing a book about poor forest communities in eastern Canada trying to live outside of and against capitalist moral structures. She focuses on the impact of industrial forestry on rural communities’ moral relationships with animals and trees. Previously, she worked as a senior researcher at the ACLU of Maine, where she focused on racial justice and bail reform.

 

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Rosalyn Leban

J.D. 2024

Rosalyn is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School studying the intersections of environmental, worker, and immigrant justice. She hopes to pursue justice for human and non-human animals through direct service, litigation, and policy work focused on farmworkers and migrant workers. She is interested in exploring the impacts of capitalism and environmental racism on immigrant communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color. Prior to law school, Rosalyn worked with asylum-seekers and migrants in Guatemala, many of whom fled untenable environmental and economic conditions in their ancestral homelands. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College.

 

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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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Tamara Mehta

M.P.H. 2023

Tamara is a first-year MPH student at the Yale School of Public Health. Her interests lie between the intersection of non-communicable disease, climate change, and the role animal agriculture plays in South Asian food systems. Tamara holds a B.A. in Human Biology from Pitzer College, where she concentrated in cross-cultural health.
 

 

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Ian Miller

J.D. 2024

Ian is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is interested in housing affordability, factory farm abolition, and air pollution as issues of environmental justice. As a LEAP fellow, he will explore factory farm expansion in the developing world. Ian holds a B.A. in Philosophy, History, and South Asian studies from Stanford University. In 2019-2020, he was a Fulbright Research Scholar based at the Supreme Court of India and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

 

 

 

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Millie Mutsios-Ramsay

L.L.M. 2022


Millie's research interest mainly focuses on finding solutions for the deprivation of the Peruvian Amazon, aiming to use the law as a tool to improve the conditions in which native and peasant communities live. This problem can be addressed from many angles, including wildlife trafficking, lack of Peruvian institutionalization, the divorce between the technical analysis and the regulatory scope, without even a clear definition of wildlife or one enclosing the ecosystem as a habitat, among others.

 

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Elijah Olson

J.D. 2023

Elijah is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School focusing on environmental and animal law. He grew up working on his family’s bison conservation ranch where he came to recognize the detrimental impacts of animal agriculture on topsoil and native plants. As a LEAP Fellow, Elijah hopes to explore the ways in which soil regeneration, species and habitat conservation, and rewilding can be supported by ending the exploitation of farmed animals. Elijah holds a B.S. in Economics from Brigham Young University.

 

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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.

 

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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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Jonathan Perez-Reyzin

J.D. 2024

Jonathan is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He is especially interested in questions about animals at the intersection of law and philosophy, including issues regarding the relationship between animals’ consciousness and their legal status. While completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Harvard, he served as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Review of Philosophy, where he oversaw the publication of an issue entirely dedicated to philosophical work on animals. In addition to his commitment to working towards greater legal and political support for the ethical treatment of animals, he also has interests in drug policy reform, criminal legal system reform, and environmental justice, and hopes to think more about the common philosophical commitments which underpin these various legal movements.

 

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Thomas Poston

J.D. 2024

Thomas is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. As a LEAP Fellow, he is interested in exploring contemporary international legal approaches to combatting climate change and securing animal, environmental, and human rights. Thomas previously worked in Deloitte Consulting's public sector practice, supporting various federal agencies and multilateral organizations, including the U.S. Department of State and the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as nonprofits in West Africa and Southeast Asia. He was also a Fulbright research fellow in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he studied the relationship between environmental degradation and forced labor. Thomas holds a B.A. in Politics & International Affairs and Economics from Wake Forest University.

 

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Manny Rutinel

J.D. 2022

Manny is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School with a focus on Animal and Environmental Law. He is the founder and CEO of TransfarmAg, a company leveraging carbon offset credits to help farmers transition away from factory farming. Previously, Manny has worked as an economist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, a First Responder to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, a Summer Law Clerk at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a Field Organizer for the Georgia Runoff Elections, and a Research Assistant for the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program. Manny holds an M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and both a B.S. in Microbiology and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Florida.

 

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Abdeali Saherwala

M.E.M. 2022

Abdeali Saherwala is a second year, Masters in Environmental Management student, who is specializing business, energy and policy from Yale School of the Environment. He is interested in decarbonizing the economies of developing and developed nations by proliferating renewable energy technologies. His goal is to eventually earn a JD in Environmental Law in order to work with governments and private companies to expand renewable energy technologies. The experience he has gained with National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the summer as a Clean Energy Policy and Finance Analyst has allowed him to gain the vital skills and experience needed to expand renewable energy. Abdeali is excited to join the LEAP Student Fellowship program as he is interested in protecting animal rights and he believes that the rightful treatment of animals will lead us to a healthier society.

 

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Lexi Smith

J.D. 2022

"Lexi is a third-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 undergraduate and to pursue environmental and animal law as a law student. Before law school, Lexi 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. At Yale, Lexi has been involved with the Environmental Law Association and Animal Law Society, and she spent her summers with Our Children's Trust and the Sierra Club.

 

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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.

 

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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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Zack Steigerwald Schnall

M.E.M. 2023

Zack is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). He is interested in the structural mechanisms by which inequality is legitimized and reproduced, as well as best approaches to redress it. As a LEAP fellow, he hopes to extend this research to interspecies justice and improve representation for nonhuman species. Prior to Yale, he spearheaded and advised numerous projects in the Greater Boston area focused on strengthening youth voices through critical thinking and civic action. Zack holds an AB in Sociology from Harvard College, where he studied the role of dress in youth boundary work.

 

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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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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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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.

 

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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)


 

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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.

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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 is focusing her studies on renewable energy and environmental law. She is also passionate 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

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 fourth 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

  

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Jeamme Chia

M.E.M. 2021

Jeamme is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). She is interested in sustainable land use management and its intersections with economic development and climate change. As a LEAP Fellow, Jeamme is excited to combine remote sensing and political economic approaches to achieve environmental protection and justice in food and agricultural systems and landscapes, especially at the state and local levels. Prior to Yale, she was a management consultant specializing in corporate sustainability and a land use analyst specializing in commodity-driven land use and trade flows in Indonesia and Malaysia. Jeamme holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she concentrated in Political Economy, Geography, and French.

 

 

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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.

 

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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. In addition to a LEAP Fellow, Liam has supported HRH The Prince of Wales as a Sustainable Markets Fellow and WE ACT for Environmental Justice as an Environmental Fellow and Energy Research Intern, and is currently work on a new nation-wide environmental justice screening tool. 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) 2022

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 involve the intersection of corporate farming and workers' rights. He holds a BA in history and economics from McGill University.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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. 2022

Manny is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School with a focus on Animal and Environmental Law. He is the founder and CEO of TransfarmAg, a company leveraging carbon offset credits to help farmers transition away from factory farming. Previously, Manny has worked as an economist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, a First Responder to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, a Summer Law Clerk at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a Field Organizer for the Georgia Runoff Elections, and a Research Assistant for the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program. Manny holds an M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and both a B.S. in Microbiology and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Florida.

 

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Lexi Smith

J.D. 2022

"Lexi is a third-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 undergraduate and to pursue environmental and animal law as a law student. Before law school, Lexi 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. At Yale, Lexi has been involved with the Environmental Law Association and Animal Law Society, and she spent her summers with Our Children's Trust and the Sierra Club.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.