Monday, October 19, 2020


Six Yale Law Students Named 2020–2021 Kerry Fellows

Six Yale Law School students are among the 26 newly named Kerry Fellows who will collaborate with former Secretary of State John Kerry on leading-edge research aimed at developing real-world policy solutions as part of Yale University’s Kerry Initiative in partnership with the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

The new student Fellows from the Law School are Helia Bidad ’22, Abby Lemert ’23, Randi Michel ’22, Emma Montoya ’22, Fernando Rojas ’23, and Alisa White ’22.


Helia Bidad is a second-year student at Yale Law School. She is co-chair of the Yale Environmental Law Association, the Yale Food Law Society, and the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students' Association. She is a member of the Rule of Law Clinic, a fellow with the Law, Ethics & Animals Program, and cofounder of the Environmental Justice Project. Helia has also interned for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Honorable Victor A. Bolden in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Prior to law school, Helia worked in environmental consulting, advising environmental nonprofits and family foundations on program strategy development and implementation. She conducted research and fieldwork in Iran for her honors thesis on the impacts of climate change and technological development on saffron farmers in the Khorasan Province of Iran. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Society and Environment and a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology.

Abby Lemert is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She researches digital authoritarianism, emerging technologies, and their intersection with international human rights, and co-authors a Lawfare column on U.S.-China technology policy and national security. Before law school, Abby interned for the U.S. State Department, the NSA’s Civil Liberties & Privacy Office, and Privacy International, developing mechanisms to facilitate transparency and privacy in global surveillance supply chains. She holds an M.Sc. in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh and an M.A. in Public Diplomacy & Global Communication from UCL, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar. She received her B.S.E. in Engineering and International Relations from Purdue University.

Randi Michel is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School, where she studies international law with a focus in election security, anti-authoritarianism, and anti-corruption. Randi serves as an articles editor for the Yale Journal of International Law, a student fellow at the Center for Global Legal Challenges, career development co-chair of the National Security Group, and events co-chair at the Paul Tsai China Center. During her summer, she worked at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on victims' rights and at the Southern District of New York's U.S. Attorney's Office on national security law and financial fraud. Before law school, Randi worked as a conflict and stabilization advisor at the U.S. Department of State, including leading the U.S. Embassy’s election violence prevention efforts in Nairobi, Kenya. Randi graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard.

Emma Montoya is a second-year student at Yale Law School, where she is co-director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, a submissions editor for the Yale Journal of International Law, a student director of the Schell Center for International Human Rights, a member of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, a participant in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, and a member of the National Security Group. During her summer, she worked as a Kirby Simon Fellow at the European Court of Human Rights and Twenty Essex Chambers. Prior to law school, Emma worked as a municipal finance investment banking analyst at RBC Capital Markets. She has also interned in the Scottish Parliament, where she worked on issues relating to the provision of NHS healthcare to refugees. Emma graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. She also holds an M.Sc. in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Jackson Scholar and won the Best Thesis Prize for her scholarship on immigration detention in the United States.

Fernando Rojas is a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. He graduated from Yale College with a B.A. and M.A. in History. A recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Beinecke Scholarship, he researched the history of 20th-century migration between the United States and Mexico as well as the history of Mexican social movements during the Cold War. Fernando is interested in the law’s ability to create and influence ideas of movement, citizenship, and belonging. He also holds an M.Phil. in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge, where he studied as a Gates Cambridge scholar.

Alisa White is a joint J.D. and Master of Environmental Science candidate at Yale Law School and Yale School of the Environment. Alisa is passionate about climate and environmental justice in the United States and abroad. At the law school, she is board member of the Yale Environmental Law Association and the Yale Immigrant Justice Project, a submissions editor for the Yale of International Law, and a member of the Rule of Law and Environmental Protection Clinics. This past summer, she worked at Environmental Defense Fund and Our Children’s Trust, advocating for clean air for all and the legal right to a stable climate. Prior to law school, Alisa graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, worked in environmental consulting, and conducted research on community-based forest management in the state of Vermont, Mexico, and Ecuador.

The Kerry Initiative is an interdisciplinary program that will tackle pressing global challenges through teaching, research, and international dialogue. In partnership with the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Kerry Initiative will advance Yale’s long tradition of preparing the next generation of world leaders.

Kerry will partner with scholars from across Yale, applying their shared expertise to questions of global importance: failed and failing states and the challenge of authoritarian populism; rising sectarianism and violent extremism; climate change and other environmental threats; and capacity building, global economic opportunity, and development. Drawing on experience from his long and distinguished career, Kerry will convene and lead conversations among global stakeholders, both in New Haven and overseas, to develop new approaches to solving these crucial challenges.

The 2020–2021 Kerry Fellows represent Yale College and several of Yale’s professional schools, including the schools of the Environment, Law, Management, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.