The International Center for Law and Religion Studies welcomed fourteen outstanding students from the J. Reuben Clark Law School as the 2012 Student Research Fellows of the Center's Student Research Fellows Program. The program involves a five-week visiting externship, this year in Salt Lake City and in twelve other locations worldwide, followed by a guided individual research project at the Center in Provo.
The visiting externships take place at the offices of legal counsels for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide and at the Office of General Counsel of the Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students become active participants in the... more
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Writing and rhetoric are Cherise Bacalski's first and second academic true loves, respectively—and she believes they are married perfectly in the law. After serving a Spanish-speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chicago, she graduated magna cum laude from California State University with a degree in Literature and Writing Studies. Cherise received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, emphasis in poetry, from Brigham Young University, where she is currently finishing an M.A. in English, emphasis in rhetoric, as well as enjoying her first year of law school. Before law school, as a graduate instructor at BYU, she taught courses in first-year writing and rhetoric, creative writing, and advanced persuasive writing. She is excited to finally cut her teeth at legal research and writing working for the Area Legal Counsel this summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mexico City, Mexico
Dustin Cammack graduated from Brigham Young University in 2010 with a BA in Communication and a minor in management. Dustin was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, but has enjoyed becoming familiar with people and cultures in different areas of the world, including Bolivia, where he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Brazil, where he completed an internship with the Church’s Employment Resource Services office in Fortaleza. An avid hiker and canyoneer, Dustin enjoys being outdoors and enjoying the natural beauty of Utah and Arizona. Dustin strongly believes in the rights of individuals and organizations to express their deeply held beliefs, and so he is thrilled to be able to work with the ICLRS and Church Area Legal Counsel in Mexico City.
Jorge Gavilanes grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He served a Spanish-speaking mission in Richmond, Virginia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After graduating from Brigham Young University in 2009 with a BS in Business Management, Jorge worked for Hewlett-Packard Corporation as a Financial Analyst. He loves spending time with his wife and two sons, and skiing with family and friends. He is also an avid tennis and soccer player. Jorge is excited to pursue his interest in law while exploring the sites and culture of Peru.
Jared Hatch is from Herndon, Virginia. He served as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lubbock, Texas. He enjoys running, playing soccer, and mastering new songs on the piano and guitar. Jared graduated from Brigham Young University in 2011 with a BA in American studies and a minor in business management. The summer before he entered law school Jared was part of the student team at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies that assisted in preparing an amicus brief for the important U.S. Supreme Court case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. He is grateful for the opportunity to return to the study of law and religion with ICLRS for another summer and is both honored and excited to work for the Church's area legal counsel in Accra.
Hong Kong, China
Carl Hollan grew up in Orem, Utah. After serving a mission in Taipei, Taiwan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 2005 to 2007, he returned to Brigham Young University and graduated with a BA and dual-major in Asian Studies and Mandarin Chinese in 2011. He has returned to Asia several times since 2007, most notably as a study-abroad student at Nanjing University in the People's Republic of China in 2009. He is excited for the opportunity to visit Hong Kong this summer. Carl enjoys cooking, eating exotic foods, reading, sports, and spending time with his wife, Tara. He hopes to eventually work for an international firm or multinational corporation.
Travis Hunt grew up in Willcox, Arizona, a farming community with two stoplights. There he met his future wife, Leanna. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Donetsk, Ukraine, where he learned Russian and how to cope with life in big cities. He continued his study of Russian at Brigham Young University when he returned from his mission in 2009, and he graduated in 2011 cum laude. He enjoys reading Russian literature and is excited to get to see Moscow, the birthplace of Dostoevsky, in his work with the ICLRS this summer. He also enjoys sports, baking, rafting, and spending time with his wife and son.
São Paulo, Brazil
Michelle Jeffs is delighted to be returning to São Paulo, Brazil and excited to be a part of the Center for Law and Religion. A native of Pleasant View, Utah, Michelle graduated Cum Laude from Weber State University in English and Political Science. Upon graduating, Michelle served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in São Paulo, Brazil and then came to BYU to pursue her lifelong dream of studying law. She is privileged to have married her best friend, Matt, and they enjoy hiking, studying, playing board games, following politics, running, and traveling together. Michelle is thrilled to again interact with the Brazilian people and to learn more about the law. She also looks forward to serving as a co-chair of the Master Schedule on the 2012 Symposium Student Executive Committee.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Samuel Packard was born and raised in California. He served a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Geneva, Switzerland, where he learned French. He returned to Brigham Young University after his mission and graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in French. Samuel looks forward to working with the people in the Caribbean and contributing to the expansion of liberty worldwide.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Natalia Peterson is from Bluffdale, Utah. She earned her BS in Early Childhood Education from Brigham Young University. Prior to entering law school she worked as an elementary school teacher, teaching both kindergarten and second grade. She loves teaching and working with children. She is excited to be studying the law and to see where this opportunity takes her next. In her free time, Natalia loves reading any good book, cooking Italian food, scuba diving, and traveling around the world. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with the ICLRS to study law and religion. She is thrilled to be able to work with the area legal counsel in Johannesburg and get to know more about the law and the culture of South Africa.
Eimi Priddis grew up in a small town in Wyoming, the eighth of ten children. She served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fukuoka, Japan, then graduated from BYU in 2009 with a BA in English Language. She will graduate with a Master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in April 2012. While completing her Master's, she has worked as an English teacher at BYU's English Language Center. She enjoys teaching, and she has always loved to write. She discovered her interest in law during her freshman year at BYU, and she is excited to finally be pursuing a legal education—the first in her family to do so. Eimi is particularly interested in law and religion issues. In her spare time, she loves playing sports, playing the piano, cooking, and dancing.
Auckland, New Zealand
Blake Richards grew up on a dairy farm in Erda, Utah. He is the 2nd of 13 children. In 2001 and 2002 he served a Mandarin Chinese speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Taiwan Taichung. Blake graduated from BYU's Masters of Accounting program in 2007, and worked for Ernst and Young and then Martin Dolan and Holton in Richmond Virginia. He is married to the former Suzanne Nelson, whom he met at BYU. They have one son. He is very involved in the Law Basketball Association club. He will be traveling to Auckland, New Zealand for his externship during summer 2012.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Aaron Worthen has spent most of his life right here in Provo, Utah. During his time here, he earned his BA from Brigham Young University in Philosophy. He has been privileged to live outside of Provo for two periods of time: first, when he lived in Chile with his family in 1994, and, second, when he served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manchester, New Hampshire from 2006 to 2008. Shortly before entering law school, he was blessed by being able to marry the former Laurel Jebe, and their first child—a girl—is on her way in July. Aaron is a sports enthusiast who also loves to hike and to swim. He is grateful for the opportunity to start his hands-on legal training with the ICLRS and the LDS Church’s legal counsel in Salt Lake City.
São Paulo, Brazil
Randa is very excited to spend the summer at the Area Legal Counsel Office in her homeland, Brazil, and to work as a research assistant at the ICLRS. She was born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in Petrópolis. Randa has a law degree from Universidade Católica de Petrópolis (Brazil) and an LL.M. in International Environmental Law from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Additionally, she has been awarded a specialist degree in International Relations from Universidade Cândido Mendes (Brazil). Randa will have been in Utah for six years this summer. Although she considers herself truly blessed to live in the U.S., she misses being in Brazil, especially during winter season in Utah. Randa and her husband, Adam, enjoy traveling, going to the theater, cooking Brazilian food, cross-country skiing and hiking with their two dogs.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Gage Hart Zobell is honored for the opportunity to work with the Church area legal counsel in Guatemala City, Guatemala. A native of Jackson, MT, Gage was raised on his family's cattle ranch in rural Montana. He served in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission where he was required to learn Spanish halfway through his mission, for a new assignment. Gage returned and graduated magna cum laude in Economics from BYU-Idaho. He will present his research on agricultural collusion this summer in Shanghai, China. After working for Intel doing market research for prototype engineering, he is excited to be at law school. He is interested where corporate law and environmental law merge. Further, he is excited to be going to Central America as the first member of his family to return since his "abuelita" left Nicaragua in 1940. Gage loves politics, running, hiking, skiing, classic literature, and anything to do with Montana and ranching.