The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

Rapoport Center Announces 2009–2010 Human Rights Scholars

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Human Rights Scholars (left to right) Melvin Huang, Matthew Dunlap, and Maka Hutson, and LLILAS-Rapoport Fellow Brandon Hunter(far right)

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law has named three students as Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholars for the 2009–20010 school year. Law students Matthew Dunlap, Melvin Huang, and Maka Hutson were selected by a committee of international law faculty on the basis of their academic credentials, leadership skills, and dedication to human rights work. Each of the students will receive a scholarship. In addition, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies (LLILAS) has named Master's student Brandon Hunter as a LLILAS-Rapoport Fellow, who will work along-side the scholars.

The Human Rights Scholars and the LLILAS-Rapoport Fellow will work with faculty and administrators affiliated with the Center to help coordinate many of the Center's current programs, including the new undergraduate Bridging Disciplines Program in Human Rights, the upcoming 2010 conference entitled “Walls: What They Make and What They Break”, and the Living Newspaper program affiliated with the UT Theater and Dance Department. They will also engage in human rights research and advocacy projects.

Matthew Dunlap received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Richmond in 2003. He served in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development volunteer in Morocco, where he taught English courses and encouraged youth to become community stakeholders. This past summer he worked on civil and criminal legal issues while clerking with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland.

Melvin Huang earned his B.A. in History from Yale University in 2005. He spent two years after graduation in Taiwan, honing his Chinese skills and working in the Law Department at Tunghai University. In the summer of 2008, through the support of a Rapoport Summer Fellowship, he interned at the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in Beijing, where he conducted comparative legal research on pro bono and child sex abuse. This past summer, he was back in Beijing clerking at Vinson & Elkins. At the law school, he is the Community Service Chair for the Asian Law Students Association, and is enrolled in the Human Rights Clinic.

Maka Hutson received her B.A. in Linguistics from Moscow State Linguistic University in Moscow, Russia.  She continued her education at the University of Texas at Austin and received a Master's degree in Linguistics with a concentration in Sociolinguistics. While in graduate school, she researched the issue of linguistic rights as human rights and conducted a study of the treatment of the Russian-speaking population in the post-Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. She later worked for seven years at the International Office at UT Austin as a program coordinator assisting international students and faculty with their immigration and tax matters. This past summer, she worked at Texas Appleseed helping conduct a study of the immigration court system's treatment of detainees with mental illness and access to mental health services for immigrant detainees in Texas.

Brandon Hunter graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Latin American Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Presently, Brandon is working to complete his Masters degree in Latin American Studies concentrating on human rights issues. For his senior thesis, Brandon completed a project in which he reviewed academic, governmental, and institutional responses to the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico, drawing on a multi-disciplinary approach to highlight where feminist theory could help inform human rights discourse with regard to ending sexual exploitation. For his Masters thesis, Brandon intends to continue this work, broadening the scope of his project to include the issue of sexual exploitation of women and the impact of tourism development in Mexico.  At the same time, Brandon will be applying to law school where he wishes to specialize in immigration law and human rights.

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. The Center connects a community of students, practitioners, and academics engaged in the interdisciplinary study and practice of human rights that promotes the economic and political enfranchisement of marginalized individuals and groups both locally and globally.