Justice Lab Welcomes Summer 2023 Fellows

May 31, 2023

This May, the Justice Lab launched its inaugural Summer Fellows Program.

On May 22, 2023, The Justice Lab welcomed its first cohort of Summer Fellows. The group of seven undergraduates will work on the Lab’s Emerging Adult Justice Project, Probation and Parole Reform Project, and Square One Project.

During the ten-week program, fellows will contribute in substantive ways to work products on their projects, including writing papers, organizing events, and engaging in research. Additionally, Fellows will participate in cohort-wide activities to deepen their experience and understanding of cutting-edge justice research.

Fellows were selected from competitive group of applicants and paired with Justice Lab projects based on their interests and needs of projects. They will be a major asset to each team, and the Lab looks forward to working with them in the coming weeks.

Hear from the 2023 Justice Lab Fellows:

Alford Young III: “I’m a 24-year-old Columbia School of General Studies student who worked as a chef in the fine dining industry for some years before seriously pursuing higher education. Growing up, while I was fortunate enough to skirt the grasp of America's carceral system, many of my friends were not. Their devastating and unforgiving experiences with carceral punishment led me to care deeply about justice reform, since the current system is detrimental to both the opportunities of my friends, and to people of color as a whole - especially Black people - the demographic of which I am a part.”

Ariel Yu: “I'm from Guangzhou, China and am majoring in philosophy and cognitive science. I enjoy studying the intersection of language, human minds, and society. I'm really excited to work on the Square One Project's research on the impact of the Lab's past initiatives, and I can't wait to learn how to effectively foster cross-sectional conversations over the summer.”

Ashwin Marathe: “I’m a rising junior studying political science and history at Columbia College. I was drawn to the Lab's commitment to rethinking our criminal justice system and the work done with local partnerships across the country. I’m excited to learn about how different stakeholders can work together to improve the carceral system. In my free time, I enjoy reading, drinking chai, and exploring New York City with my friends.”

Claire Stalder: “I am a Barnard student who studied sociology and gender studies and just graduated these past couple of weeks. I’ve spent the past couple years focusing my studies on the criminal justice system, working in victim services, police accountability, and in re-entry work. I was introduced to Square One in Dr. Western and Professor Nixon's sociology course at Columbia and am very excited to be part of the team.”

Daniela Palacios: “I’m a rising sophomore in Columbia College where I plan to major in political science with the business concentration. I enjoy watching new Broadway shows and am the founder of Para KIDS!, a bilingual children's book company dedicated to empowering all kids to become or remain bilingual. I’m a part of Columbia University’s 2023 Laidlaw Research and Leadership Scholar cohort where I will pursue research as a Columbia Justice Lab Fellow on the topic of education policy in New York State for formerly incarcerated emerging adults 18-to 25-year-olds.”

Denise Taveras: “I’m a rising junior at Columbia College studying psychology and concentrating in race and ethnicity studies. This summer I will be interning for the Probation and Parole Reform Project and will be working with some of our community partners. In doing so, I’m looking forward to learning about how research and community organizing work together to
drive policy change.”

Elizabeth Carpenter: “I’m a rising junior at Columbia University, studying political science and public health. On campus, I’m a scientific editor for the GYNECA Journal of Women's Health & Gynecology, a board member of the Political Science Student Association, and an avid lover of a cappella. I’m so excited to be working on the Emerging Adult Justice Project where I will be exploring my interests in gang membership and recruitment for 18–25-year old’s, through the lens of developmental psychology.”

A picture of the 2023 Justice Lab Summer Fellows: Alford Young III, Denise Taveras, Ashwin Marathe, Ariel Yu, Claire Stalder, Lisette Bamenga (back). Not pictured: Daniela Palacios, Elizabeth Carpenter.

Fellowship Coordinator Lisette Bamenga took the Fellows to John Jay's Institute for Justice and Opportunity, which was hosting a re-entry simulation. The group reenacted the first four weeks of a formerly incarcerated person navigating the community upon release from prison, allowing the participants to experience the many challenges to reintegration that formerly incarcerated people face. Left to right: Alford Young III, Denise Taveras, Ashwin Marathe, Ariel Yu, Claire Stalder, Lisette Bamenga (back). Not pictured: Daniela Palacios, Elizabeth Carpenter.