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NCYL’s 2016 Summer Clerks and Interns

Clerks and Interns 2016

Noah Moore, Cindy Chu, Katie Joh, Kyle Serrott, Melissa Bejarano, Kate Mallula, Madeline Wiseman [Not pictured: DeAngelo Cortijo, Alison Dame-Boyle, Noah Lehman]


Melissa BejaranoMelissa Bejarano is a rising second-year law student at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. This summer, she will be working with Staff Attorney Bill Grimm on Child Welfare issues, particularly with creating an administrative petition addressing the over-use of psychotropic drugs in foster youth.

At Hastings, Melissa is the acting president of the Hastings Students for Immigrant Rights group as well as the representative for the Hastings for Public Interest Law Foundation. She was an active Spanish interpreter at several Legal Advice and Referral Clinics throughout San Francisco and is an active member of the Hastings Association of Youth Advocates where she plans on becoming an Educational Surrogate for foster youth this fall.

Prior to beginning law school, Melissa was a full immersion Spanish Early Childhood Educator in Wilmington, Delaware, where she created a bilingual culturally conscious play-based curriculum aimed at instilling essential critical thinking skills and identity empowering language to Delaware’s youngest and most at-risk learners.

Melissa graduated from Amherst College with a degree in Black Studies and Sociology. There, she reinvigorated her commitment to social justice and fighting racial injustices through mentoring at-risk youth and pregnant teens in Holyoke, MA for four years.


Cindy ChuCindy Chu is a third-year law student, graduating in December, at Santa Clara University School of Law. This summer she will be assisting Attorney Atasi Uppal, Director of FosterEd: California Casey Schutte, and the FosterEd team to improve educational outcomes for foster care youth.

Cindy spent her first summer during law school interning for the San Mateo County Counsel, where she worked on a child welfare case. Seeing the ways the foster care system did more harm than good to the children involved, is what motivated her to pursue advocacy for foster care youth. The following summer, she interned as a law clerk at the Legal Advocates for Children and Youth in San Jose, where she successfully represented a youth in expulsion proceedings and helped to manage a foster youth identity theft clinic.

For the past year and a half, Cindy has assisted SCU Law’s International Human Rights Clinic to advocate for better educational outcomes and services for children with disabilities in Puerto Rico. During the school year she has also externed at the Youth Law Center, the Northern District Court of California, and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Cindy volunteers with Fresh Lifelines for Youth to teach law and life skills to at-risk youth and youth in juvenile hall, and recently began volunteering with San Jose State University’s Record Clearance Project.

Prior to law school, Cindy worked in low-income housing and social work. Cindy graduated from Harvard University and holds an A.B. in History. She is excited to be working with NCYL to improve the well being of youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems.


DeAngelo Cortijo currently works with individuals and families with developmental disabilities. DeAngelo Cortijo, is a former representative for Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and has previously interned at the National Center for Youth Law.

Deangelo is a national advocate that has successfully helped pass several reform bills that became law. Namely, AB 854 foster youth education bill, psychotropic medication bill package and ending solitary confinement in youth facilities. Additionally, Deangelo has trained youth in advocacy and successfully advocates for Youth to receive housing and other services.

Deangelo earned a Paralegal diploma in December of 2014. DeAngelo is originally from San Francisco’s Mission District. At age two, he entered the dependency system. By age 21, DeAngelo had served seven years in the juvenile justice system, including three years in California’s Department of Juvenile Justice.

DeAngelo obtained his GED and held leadership and advocacy positions while in the juvenile justice system. Since his release, DeAngelo has used his experiences not only turn to his life around, but also to become an advocate for vulnerable youth. He is a former Board Member for San Francisco’s City­Wide Transitional­aged Advisory Board where he advised on budget expenditures, local policy, and programs. DeAngelo is currently a student at Chabot College and hopes to transfer to U.C. Berkeley in the fall of 2018. Ultimately, he wants to attend law school and become a
champion for vulnerable youth and advocate for reforms that treat children in trouble with the law fairly and appropriately for their age and level of culpability.


Alison Dame-Boyle is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School. She will be spending her summer at NCYL working with Senior Attorney Rebecca Gudeman on issues related to adolescent healthcare. She is particularly interested in minors’ ability to choose and freely access reproductive health services and in how healthcare intersects with other issues facing adolescents.

At law school, she is a member of the Prison Legal Assistance Project, a line editor for the Journal of Law and Gender, and a board member of Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

Prior to law school, she spent several years working as the Development Writer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology rights and digital civil liberties nonprofit. She also spent a summer at the Center for Adolescent Health and the Law, where she helped edit State Minor Consent Laws: A Summary, Third Edition. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English.


Katie JohKatie Joh is a native of the Bay Area, and a rising 3L at Michigan Law. This summer, she will be assisting Staff Attorney Poonam Juneja in litigation related to child welfare reform.

Katie graduated from Wellesley College with a major in International Relations and a minor in Education Studies. While in college, she spent three summers volunteering with a summer camp for children in foster care, where she first developed an interest in the structural challenges facing families and youth.

After her first year of law school, Katie interned at the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, where she assisted in the defense of children and indigent parents in dependency proceedings. In her second year, she worked for the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, a medical-legal partnership at Michigan Law, and spent a semester in South Africa at the Legal Resources Centre working on litigation to enforce the right to a basic education. Katie is also an advocate and executive board member of the Student Rights Project, a pro bono project run by law and social work students that advocates for local K-12 students facing expulsions or long-term suspensions.


Noah Lehman is a current policy intern for the National Center for Youth Law under Anna Johnson. Over the summer he is doing advocacy work, data analysis, and research on issues surrounding mental health care for foster youth. After the summer, he will begin his 2nd year as a Master of Public Policy candidate at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. When not engaging in policy related work, he also teaches undergraduate students in UC Berkeley’s Statistics Department. Broadly speaking, his interests and focus included youth advocacy, social inequality, education policy, and quantitative analysis.


Kate MallulaKate Mallula is a third year graduate student in the concurrent MPH/MSW program at the University of California, Berkeley. She will be assisting Anna Johnson this summer on NCYL’s campaign to reduce the overprescription of psychotropic medications to youth in foster care.

Kate has spent the past two years at UC Berkeley exploring best practices in supporting families who are recovering from trauma. During graduate school, she worked as an intern at UCSF-Bennioff Children’s Hospital’s Family Information and Navigation Desk, as a medical social work intern at John Muir Medical Center, and is also interning at UCSF’s Child Trauma Research Program this summer. Next year, she will be completing her final social work internship at Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco where she will support families working towards reunification with children who have been placed in foster care due to parental substance abuse. She is particularly interested in combining the voices of parents and youth impacted by child welfare systems with research on early childhood development and toxic stress to inform both individual-level interventions and policy that can protect and promote children’s long-term well-being.

Prior to graduate school, Kate spent 9 months studying the development of the prison system in Uruguay while assisting a grass-roots advocacy project to reform prison conditions through community-driven journalism. After returning from Uruguay, she spent 3.5 years working at a domestic violence agency in Kansas City as a hospital-based advocate for survivors and their families and as a health services coordinator developing programs and practices to meet the health needs of shelter residents.

Kate graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in history. During her time at NCYL this summer, Kate is looking forward to continuing to learn about strategies for change that can help children and families heal from trauma and access what they need to be happy and healthy across the lifecourse.


Noah MooreNoah Moore is a Jackson, MS native, and a rising third year law student at Indiana Tech Law School located in Fort Wayne, IN. This summer, he will be assisting Staff Attorney Hannah Benton in the area of Juvenile Justice on issues related to the school to prison pipeline, and implicit bias.

During his first year of law school, Noah served as an intern for the County Prosecutor’s Office at the Allen County Juvenile Center (ACJC).  While interning there, he saw first-hand the vulnerabilities and risk factors that youth faced while maneuvering through their young lives.  The following year Noah spoke and mentored youth in the Fort Wayne, IN area on how to transcend through high school and college while facing turbulent times.

Noah graduated magna cum laude from Rust College, a small private HBCU, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Pre-Law.   While enrolled at Rust College, he was one of the students that started the program “Say NO to the School to Prison Pipeline” where they raised awareness about this epidemic and found ways to bring it to a halt.  After law school, Noah’s hope is to become a juvenile public defender or a family law attorney with a specialty in juvenile law.


Kyle SerrottKyle Serrott is a rising second year law student at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. Kyle is a summer law clerk with the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, California, where he is working on the Commercially and Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) team, as well as the Child Welfare Team. Kyle is interested in legislation, impact litigation, and policy work.

During his first year in law school, Kyle was a junior fellow in the Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School, where he performed research pertaining to Juvenile Justice and the “School-to-Prison” pipeline. He also was a law clerk with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus during the semester. Kyle is passionate about issues faced by youth in both the Juvenile Justice System, and the Child Welfare System. Prior to law school, Kyle attended Ohio University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Gender Studies.


Madeline WisemanMadeline Wiseman is a rising second-year student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.  She is working with Michael Harris to support the juvenile justice team’s ongoing litigation challenging the school-to-prison pipeline and implicit bias.

Before law school, Madeline taught second grade in New Orleans, Louisiana through Teach for America.  The state school board voted to close her school in March 2015 after parents and teachers participated in an investigation that uncovered illegal special education practices.  Her time in New Orleans pushed her to attend law school, and she plans to spend her career working to make system-wide changes that positively impact children like her students.

In her first year of law school, Madeline provided direct legal services as a counselor for the Employment Law Center’s Workers’ Rights Clinic, including representing a client at an unemployment insurance appeal hearing.  She is also a member of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice and co-president of the Animal Law Society.

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