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Meet Our Graduate Students

Picture of PhD student Olga Salazar

Observatory Spotlight: PhD student continues research in Mexico

Olga Salazar worked in Monterrey, Mexico over the summer interviewing journalists to better understand the correlation between the politics of information and accountability in cases of disappearances. Her research is helping to identify best practices in journalism that lead to better outcomes for the families in a country in which over 40,000 persons have disappeared.
Hunter Johnson

Hunter Johnson

Hunter Johnson (MHR ‘20) is producing a documentary on the role of the press in combating enforced disappearances and impunity in Mexico. “Since 2006, over 40,000 people have disappeared in Mexico. This film illustrates how exceptional reporters work with victims' families to demand state accountability in the search for their loved ones, helping to put an end to this ongoing human rights crisis.” Hunter received the Dunn Peace Research Scholarship to investigate and film this project in Mexico.
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A Sociological Human Rights Perspective

Brooke Chambers, a third year Sociology PhD student, studies some of the most difficult questions facing human rights scholars--how to understand and respond to the multi-generational effects of instances of mass violence. With a particular focus on the Rwandan genocide, Brooke is using her education to seek a better understanding of how genocidal violence reverberates throughout space and time, along with how Rwandan society remembers and commemorates the Genocide. Next semester she will conduct field research in Rwanda, interviewing young adults about their experiences growing up in a post-genocide society.
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Called to Action, Making Change

Since graduating from the University of Minnesota, Sarah Super has been unstoppable in raising awareness around sexual violence and advocating for survivors. Read more about the work she is doing, including her diligent efforts to raise funds for a Memorial for Survivors of Sexual Violence. Please consider making a donation to make this project possible.
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Interdisciplinary Minnesota Delegation Lobbies Congress to Promote Immigrant Rights

As journalists and activists continue reporting on the human rights violations happening in immigration detention, Human Rights and Immigrant Rights organizations and advocates mobilize to lobby their Congressional leaders to vote against additional appropriations for immigrant detention facilities. Among them are a group of Minnesota students, including three Master of Human Rights students. The team recently attended the FCNL Lobby Weekend in Washington D.C. and were given extensive training on how to lobby Congressional leaders on issues related to immigration and refugee rights. They also were able to practice their new skills by lobbying four of Minnesota's Congresswomen to vote against increased funding for immigration detention, among other issues.
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Fact Finding: LGBTI Experiences in Kenya

Ivan Lopez Justiniano is a second year Master of Human Rights Student who spent winter break working on a fact-finding mission regarding the experiences of LGBTI individuals in Kenya. Using the skills he has gained from the Master of Human Rights program and working in collaboration with other experts, Ivan will spend spring semester developing a report for the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations.
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Collaborating Across Communities to Address Health and Wellbeing

Elexis Trinity is a second year Master of Human Rights Student who had the opportunity to work for Carver County Public Health, managed two conferences for the Catalyst Initiative of the Minneapolis Foundation, and has just started work with the Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation to create a community advisory board. Read more about Elexis's experiences here.
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Training the Next Generation of Human Rights Advocates and Scholars

The Observatory on Disappearances and Impunity in Mexico is an ongoing project in which researchers seek to understand the complexities of disappearances and impunity in Mexico. A dynamic, interdisciplinary team led by HRP Director Barbara Frey is moving into a new stage in research, documenting reporting on disappearances in Mexico media. Undergraduate and graduate student researchers on the team are working closely with top human rights and research methods experts in Mexico, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
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Identifying New Avenues for Advocacy in Health Care Equity

Dr. Calla Brown, second year Master of Human Rights student and Academic General Pediatrics Fellow, is exploring the intersections of human rights and health research and practice. This past year, Calla analyzed data regarding the health services received by incarcerated youth in Minnesota, served on the Migrant Health Elective, joined the board for Doctors of Global Health, and volunteered at the College of Medicine in Malawi.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Eaint Thiri Thu

Second year MHR student Eaint Thiri Thu combined her past human rights professional experiences with new tools she has learned in the MHR program to her fellowship this summer at the United States Institute of Peace. Working in their Asia Division on Burma issues, Thiri got the opportunity to network with and learn from other great human rights advocates and gain a deeper understanding about the peace building process. Read about her great summer experience here.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Ivan Lopez Justiniano

This summer, second year MHR student Ivan Lopez Justiniano interned at Minneapolis-based Global Rights for Women and supported a research project for HRP Program Director Barbara Frey's project, the Observatory on Disappearances in Mexico. During his busy summer, these roles opened Ivan's eyes to the types of organizations he plans to focus on during his post-graduate job search. Learn more about the new skills and insights Ivan gained from his summer work in this piece.
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Student Research Spotlight: J. Wren Supak

Second year MHR student and visual artist J. Wren Supak is seeking new ways to merge her expertise in the arts and human rights. This summer, she had the opportunity to take this research to Colombia. Through collaborating with theater groups and Colombian artists, Wren sought to understand how theater could act as a vehicle to peace and a means of trauma negotiation for conflict survivors. Read more about Wren's experience here.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Alli Strong

Alli Strong, a second year Master of Human Rights student, spent her summer in Eugene, Oregon, interning for Mobility International, USA. During her rich experience, Alli learned about how to apply human rights advocacy tactics to disability rights work and exercised her evaluation skills. Read Alli's internship spotlight to learn more about her experiences working both behind the scenes and directly with Mobility International, USA clients.
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This year's Scallen Lecture "Principled Voices" Series featured...

This year's Scallen Lecture "Principled Voices" Series focused on "Protecting the Press in Myanmar (Burma)." Expert panelists spoke on current risks to freedom of the press and expression in Myanmar, potential future developments, and how international actors and Myanmar political officials should respond. Read more about the panelists' analysis and insights on protecting Myanmar's press freedom.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Maryam Ahmed

Second year MHR student Maryam Ahmed spent her summer interning for African Development Solutions (ADESO) in Nairobi, Kenya, with support from a Human Rights Program Fellowship. During her time with ADESO, she dove into researching the links between international development and human rights, as well as understanding the inner-workings of development non-profit at the ground level. Read more about her transformative experience in her internship spotlight.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Ana Vergara

This summer, Human Rights Master student Ana Vergara interned as a Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International in Washington D.C. Funded by a fellowship from the Human Rights Program, Ana says that this internship experience was the best internship she has ever had. Learn more about her work on family separation issues and supporting Hollywood actors and producers in incorporating more diverse voices into their shows and films.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Julia Wilber and Hayley Drozdowski

MPP/MSW and human rights minor student Julia Wilber and MHR student Hayley Drozdowski both interned at Refugees International (RI) in Washington D.C. this summer. Hayley also worked remotely as a research intern for the International Rescue Committee. Thanks in part to generous funds from the Human Rights Program, both students engaged in interesting and challenging projects related to topics like the U.S. Southwest border, the Rohingya crisis, refugee resettlement, amongst others. They also got the chance to work closely with former Humphrey Dean and current RI President, Eric Schwartz. Read more about their exciting summers in this piece.
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Student Internship Spotlight: Shelby Ankrom

Human Rights Masters student Shelby Ankrom put her learning from Professor Barb Frey's Human Rights Advocacy course into practice during her summer internship at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT). While supporting CVT's New Tactics in Human Rights program, Shelby used her knowledge from Professor Frey's course and the experience working closely with New Tactics training materials to better understand the wide variety of human rights advocacy tactics available to practitioners. In this piece, Shelby shares some of her most salient takeaways from her time at CVT and the ways in which she sees her internship as a stepping stone to future professional positions.
A headshot of Fadumo Osman

Student Internship Spotlight: Fadumo Osman

MPP student Fadumo Osman has incorporated human rights scholarship into her studies through the Human Rights Minor curriculum. She was able to dig into this even more during her summer internship with UN-Habitat in Kenya in their Human Rights Mainstreaming Program. In this piece, Fadumo shares the way her role in the Housing Department of the program helped her to learn and grow into a more seasoned human rights practitioner.
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Working Across Disciplinary Fields

Nico Ramos Flores, a Spanish and Portuguese Studies PhD candidate, is writing his dissertation on Afro-Caribbean/Afro-Latino literature. Yet, Nico recently crossed into a new disciplinary field to work with Professor Greta Friedemann-Sanchez on her project, “Family Commissioners: Fostering Justice, Security and Peace in Colombian Families in the Post-Conflict Era” (COLPAZ).
A picture of the attendees of the Making Laws Work to End Violence Against Women and Girls conference in Bucharest, Romania. June, 2017.

2nd Year MHR Student Anna Rincon's Global Fight for Women

Master of Human Rights student, Anna Rincon, made substantial contributions to the global movement to end violence against women and girls through her summer internship with Global Rights for Women (GRW). The conference reinforced Anna’s priorities and reaffirmed her career goals. She was excited to be part of a growing global movement to end violence against women and girls, while representing a leading organization, in the fight to end domestic violence.
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MHR Student Kantack Works with Human Rights Watch to Reduce Harm and Prevent Use...

Jacqulyn, a Masters of Human Rights student, spent three months in Washington D.C. as an intern for Human Rights Watch (HRW) while there she worked on many projects including the Cluster Munition Monitor. Jacqulyn was a part of this project from start to finish, she researched and wrote about countries which have stock piles of cluster munitions substantially contributing to the final report.
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MHR Student Richa Sharma Dedicates Summer to Combating Gender Based Violence

Richa Sharma dedicated her summer to protecting those most vulnerable to sexual and gender based violence to ensure the cycle of violence is broken. As a Masters of Humans Rights student, Richa spent the summer in Geneva, Switzerland as an intern for the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Unit within the Division of International Protection (DIP) at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Guzman leaning against a tree

Far from Los Catrachos

Roy Guzman is in his third and final year of the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota. A passionate poet, he uses his experience from his homeland roots in Honduras and his journey of understanding queerness to write and create social change.