The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

UT Undergraduate Interns Gain Valuable Human Rights Experience at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

By Kate Hull, Rapoport Center Undergraduate Intern, Fall 2008

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Fall 2008 Interns (L-R): Aasha Rajani, Kate Hull, Katy Yang and Ximena Gonzalez. (Not pictured: Vanessa Toufaily)

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law is pleased to welcome five undergraduate interns for the 2008 fall semester: seniors Katy Yang, Aasha Rajani and Vanessa Toufaily; junior Kate Hull; and sophomore Ximena Gonzalez. The interns were chosen based on their academic credentials, background, and interest in community outreach and human rights.

The interns work with the Center faculty, staff and human rights scholars on various projects, including undergraduate outreach programs, faculty engagement, conference planning, and documenting the Center's human rights speaker series and other Center-sponsored events.

“Katy, Aasha, Vanessa, Kate and Ximena were selected as the Center's interns because of their impressive academic records and commitment to human rights,” said Ariel Dulitzky, Associate Director of the Rapoport Center. “We look forward to working with them and know the Center will benefit from their energy and commitment.”

Ximena Gonzalez is a sophomore at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Government/Latin American Studies Major with a minor in Nutrition. Ximena hopes to pursue law in the fall of 2011 at the University of Texas at Austin. She is actively involved in the Communications Committee of the Senate of College Councils. She has been interning at the Rapoport Center since January and plans to continue her internship until she graduates. Ximena is a Gates Millenium Scholar and Texas Interdisciplinary Plan Scholar. As a Gates Millenium Scholar she works as an Ambassador of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to South Texas.

Kate Hull is a junior from Wichita Falls, Texas, majoring in Journalism with a focus on magazine writing and editing. She is participating in the Bridging Disciplines Program for Cultural Studies as part of the Human Rights and Global Citizenship strand. Kate was a staff member of the University of Texas' newspaper, The Daily Texan, in the Life and Arts section where she focused on writing human interest and culturally reflective stories. She is interested in pursuing a career in international and human rights journalism, with a particular interest in the rights of the disabled. She also has spent time in Piedras Negras, Mexico building houses with the non-profit group Constructores Para Cristo. Kate has been an intern at the Rapoport Center since June.

Aasha Rajani is a junior majoring in History, Government and Middle Eastern Studies as well as participating in the Bridging Disciplines Program with a focus on International Studies. She plans to attend law school upon completion of her undergraduate studies and hopes to practice human rights law.

Vanessa Toufaily was born in Houston to a Lebanese father and Mexican mother. She grew up surrounded by different cultures and developed an interest in language, travel and people as a young teenager. She attended the University of Texas at San Antonio for her first year of college and then transferred to UT Austin as a sophomore. She is now a senior majoring in Communication Studies with minor concentrations in Business Foundations and Spanish. She spent the past summer in Andalucía, Spain studying Spanish. Since returning home, she has begun studying Arabic.

Katy Yang is a senior in the Business Honors and Plan II Honors programs with minors in Spanish and Economics. She has been interning at the Rapoport Center since summer 2008. On campus, Katy has been active in Student Volunteer Board, Panama Brigades, and other business organizations. She has also worked with two non-profits, Breakthrough Austin and the Southwest Key Program, on business consulting projects. In her time at UT, she has studied abroad in Spain, volunteered in Panama, and participated in a business case competition in Thailand. She is currently writing her Plan II thesis on the topic of social entrepreneurship. After graduation, Katy hopes to attend law school.

“The Rapoport Center is looking forward to working with these interns to expand our undergraduate outreach efforts this year, and to continue to provide ways for UT students to engage in the study and practice of human rights,” said Center Director Karen Engle.

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law serves as a focal point for critical discussion and policy analysis of human rights law and advocacy. Thanks to generous support from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, the Center connects students, practitioners and academics engaged in interdisciplinary study of human rights both locally and globally.

Read about the 2007-2008 undergraduate interns. Learn more about undergraduate opportunities at the Rapoport Center.