The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

Rapoport Center Announces 2011–2012 Human Rights Scholars

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Human Rights Scholars (left to right) Nikiya Natale, Della Sentilles, Abby Anna Batko-Taylor, and Creighton Chandler

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 2011–2012 school year. Law students Abby Anna Batko-Taylor, Nikiya Natale, and Della Sentilles 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, Creighton Chandler, PhD candidate in history, will serve as a scholar for the fall semester.

The scholars work with faculty and administrators affiliated with the Center to help coordinate many of the Center's current programs, including the collaboration with the Historic National Police Archive of Guatemala, the working paper series on human rights, and the upcoming 2012 conference entitled "Trading Places: Property Rights and the Human Rights Agenda." They also engage in human rights research and advocacy projects.

Abby Anna Batko-Taylor received a B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College in 2002. After graduation, she worked for a year with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) as a human rights accompanier with returned refugee communities. Upon returning to the United States, Abby Anna continued her solidarity work with immigrant farmworkers and grassroots organizations in South Florida. Abby Anna is the first student at UT Austin to pursue a dual degree with the School of Social Work, through which she worked for a year providing counseling to at-risk high school students. This past summer, she worked as a law clerk at ProBAR, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Project, assisting immigrant detainees in South Texas with their asylum claims. Currently, Abby Anna is enrolled in the UT Immigration Clinic.

Creighton Chandler received a B.A. from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of History with a specialization in modern Latin America. His research interests include religious history, comparative and inculturation theologies, indigenous movements, development, human rights, and knowledge construction. His dissertation, entitled "'The Hour of Hope': Decolonizing the Guatemalan Catholic Church, 1940-1980," chronicles the crisis of mission during which the Catholic Church moved from an inculcator of Roman orthodoxy to a staunch critic of its own role in Western paternalism. Creighton has worked at the Rapoport Center and with co-director Karen Engle in a range of capacities since 2008. He is from West Monroe, Louisiana.

Nikiya Natale received her B.A. in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh with a Certificate in Latin American Studies. Prior to law school, she studied Spanish at the Universidad de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nikiya has been active in the immigration area since her undergraduate studies and plans to practice immigration law upon graduation. In addition to being a human rights scholar, she is currently a student attorney at the UT Immigration Clinic. This past summer, she was a law clerk at Appleseed, a nonprofit public interest law center, where she oversaw updates and added new sections to Appleseed's manual, "Protecting Financial Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation."

Della Sentilles graduated from Yale University in 2006 with a B.A. in English. After graduation, she spent six months traveling through Southeast Asia learning about various human rights violations. She then worked as a news reporter in a small town in Idaho. In the summer of 2010, she worked in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the Documentation Center of Cambodia. There she researched the implications of victim participation in the Khmer Rouge trials and worked on the Center's Genocide Education Project. This past summer, she returned to Cambodia to work for the United Nations as a legal intern in the Office of the Co-Prosecutors for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

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, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice both locally and globally.