Meet Our 2009 Summer Interns


We're very excited to introduce this year's group of summer interns.  They're an outstanding bunch, made up of six law students and one undergraduate student, all committed to achieving equal rights for transgender people, and to fighting against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.  With over 100 applications for only a few positions in our office, the process was especially competitive this year.  We're delighted to welcome this year's interns, and are certain that they'll make a meaningful contribution to our work, while gaining knowledge and experience about the legal issues facing the communities we serve.

Liz Braunstein just completed her first year at New York University School of Law where she is a member of Law Students for Human Rights and also volunteers as a researcher for the Center for Human Rights & Global Justice.  After graduating from Middlebury College in 2006 with a B.A. in Political Science, Liz lived on the Thai border and worked with Burmese refugees on sustainable development projects and HIV/AIDS awareness.  Upon her return to New York City, Liz became a litigation assistant at Hughes Hubbard & Reed where she managed a pro bono criminal defense team representing indigent clients with felony charges.  During her summer before matriculating at NYU, Liz was trained as an Obama Organizing Fellow and helped launch the Bergen County field office where she coordinated volunteer outreach for the Obama Campaign.

Neil Dugal is entering his second year at the University of Michigan Law School, where he is a member of the Michigan Outlaws. He earned his B.A. in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2008. During his undergraduate career, Neil focused on issues in ethical philosophy such as the prioritization of human dignity and worth in ethical systems, bioethical dilemmas, and criticisms of utilitarianism. His research culminated in departmental honors and the Stephen F. McNamee Prize for most outstanding contribution to ethical philosophy. He was also a member of Georgetown University Pride, president of the Georgetown University Philosophical Society, and founder of the Georgetown University Chess Club.

Andrea Kutik just completed her first year at New York University School of Law, where she is a member of OUTLaw, Law Students for Human Rights, and Law Students for Reproductive Justice (part of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women).  While earning her B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University, Andrea developed an interest in reproductive justice issues in poor minority communities where women and LGBT-identified persons are marginalized and often denied access to publicly funded health care. Andrea brings with her the research and activist experience she developed through her work with the Cobalt Group in Cleveland, the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, and the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Archives at Cornell.

Erin Meyer just completed her first year at Columbia University School of Law. As a Women's and Gender Studies major at Columbia College, she focused her studies on feminist musicology, and in particular, on the performance and construction of gender and sexuality in music and theater. Prior to interning at TLDEF, Erin was an intern at WET - Women's Expressive Theater in New York City. She has also worked as a Resident Advisor in Columbia University's Living-Learning Center.

Rachel Schiff is entering her senior year at Yale University.  At Yale, Rachel has served as the co-coordinator the LGBT Student Cooperative, planned Trans Awareness Week, and served on the board of directors of the Yale Women's Center, a campus feminist organization.  Last summer, she received multiple University fellowships to travel abroad to explore queer gender identity and Judaism. During her sophomore year, Rachel re-started Sappho, a group for queer, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women serving the Yale and New Haven communities.

Vanessa Selbst just completed her first year at Yale Law School, where she works with the LGBT Rights Litigation Clinic and is a member of OUTLaws.  She received her B.A. from Yale University in 2005, where she coordinated the Queer-Straight Alliance and played on the women’s rugby team.  The following year, as a Fulbright scholar, Vanessa conducted research on same-sex marriage in Madrid, Spain.  She has interned at various public interest organizations, including Make the Road New York and Amnesty International’s OUTFront Program.  When she’s not working on behalf of LGBT and racial justice issues, Vanessa competes on the professional poker circuit and produces instructional poker videos online.  She is thrilled to return to her hometown of New York City, and to be working with TLDEF.

Laura Vogel just completed her second year at Brooklyn Law School, where she is an executive board member of Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest and OutLaws, as well as a member of National Lawyers Guild and Brooklyn Law School Democrats.  Laura graduated from New York University in 2007 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Anthropology. While at NYU, Laura was an active member of Students Creating Radical Change, with which she worked on progressive educational events.  Before coming to TLDEF, Laura worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Administrative Judge Nadine E. Lewis and Senior Trial Attorney Sunu P. Chandy.  Laura is a recipient of a Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest fellowship.