The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the members of the Student Executive Committee for the Twentieth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium. The success of the Symposium each year is due in large part to the planning and performance of these outstanding students from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, under the direction of Associate Director Elizabeth Clark, Center Coordinator Deborah Wright, and Center Senior Editor Donlu Thayer.
The committee members are divided into five teams: Chase Thomas, Chair, with the help of Aline Longstaff, coordinate and oversee the Master Schedule of all Symposium events, including delegate schedules. Co-chairs of the Recruitment Team, Rachel Bennion, and Shantel Talbot, with the assistance of Monica Gardner, Eva Brady, and Jedediah Knight, recruit, organize, and supervise dozens of student volunteers from the law school and across BYU campus, as well as…
Chair, Master Schedule
Chase Thomas was born and raised in Mesa, AZ. He served a Spanish-speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ft. Worth, TX. Chase graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a bachelor of arts in Political Science. In his spare time he enjoys playing the piano, singing in choirs, baking, and reading a good book. Chase enjoyed volunteering with the International Law and Religion Symposium in fall 2012 and working on the Master Schedule in 2013. For Symposium 2014, Chase will assume the demanding task of coordinating all Symposium activities as Chair of Master Schedule.
Aline Longstaff was born in Utah and raised in Saudi Arabia. Before coming to the J. Reuben Clark Law School, she received her bachelor’s degrees in History, Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic), and International Studies from the University of Utah, 2011. She went on to complete a master’s degree in Islamic Studies from Harvard University, 2013, where she also worked for two years as a research assistant for the Islam in the West Program at the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. In summer 2014, she was a research assistant at the University of Bonn, Institute for Public International Law; interned at a…
Rachel Bennion was born and raised in Los Altos, California. Before starting her senior year of high school she moved to Paris, France where she graduated from high school. She 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 Bachelor of Arts in English, she spent a year working full-time as an AmeriCorps VISTA community organizer. While completing a Master of Public Administration, Rachel worked at United Way of Utah County on their resource development…
Shantel Talbot is a third-year graduate student studying law and public administration. After graduating with an anthropology degree and gaining a love of various peoples and cultures, she has been delighted to work and volunteer with various NGOs, including Area Legal Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manila, Philippines, and with International Language Programs in Kiev, Ukraine, and Weihai and Zhongshan, China. She hopes to use the skills and knowledge gained from her studies and experiences to create or perpetuate socially innovative ways to solve problems…
Monica Gardner is a third-year law student at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. She was a 2013 Student Research Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. She spent a six-week internship in Accra, Ghana, and subsequently worked for many months on the Center’s annually updated treatise, Religious Organizations and the Law. Monica grew up outside of Boston in the green hills of Massachusetts. After graduating from high school, she set out to see other parts of the United States. She spent time in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and California, and then finished up her undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University’s…
Jedediah “Jedi” Knight is a second-year law student at J. Reuben Clark Law School. Jedi first became interested in Law and Religion issues as an undergraduate studying Physics, when he became acutely aware of the competing ideologies of secularity and religiosity. Jedi chose to attend BYU Law, in part, so that he could begin to help influence domestic and international religious freedom issues. As a first-year law student he volunteered extensively for the ICLRS Symposium, and in 2014 he served as member of the Recruitment Team of the Symposium Executive Committee. Jedi is currently helping publish the second edition of the West treatise Religious Organizations and the Law, and he is a member of the ICLRS Student Management Board. Jedi is also currently a legal intern for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where he has worked on matters relating to trademark registration, intellectual property infringement, and licensing agreements.
Joseph Ricks grew up in the rural town of Winslow, Arizona and later served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. After returning from Brazil, he continued his language studies and received a BA in Spanish and Portuguese with a minor in English from the University of Arizona in 2011. Prior to being accepted to the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Joseph worked at ACHIEVE, a daycare program for adults with developmental disabilities and taught religion classes for the LDS Institute of Religion in Tucson, Arizona. Joseph enjoys running with his wife, reading, singing, and playing guitar. A volunteer at the 2012 International Law and Religion Symposium, Joseph is returned in 2013 as a member of the Transportation Team, and in 2014 he will chair this team.
Roman Harper was born and raised in North Carolina. He served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Barranquilla, Colombia. After returning from Colombia, he completed language studies and received a bachelor of arts in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures with minors in Religious Studies and History from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2013. Roman enjoyed his volunteer experience with the International Law and Religion Symposium in fall 2013. Roman returned as a member of the Transportation Team in 2014.
Daniel Ortner is a third-year law student at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School. He was born in Tel Aviv, Israel but grew up in South Florida. He received his bachelor’s degrees in history and sociology from Brandeis University. While at Brandeis, Daniel converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and subsequently served a full-time mission in the Novosibirsk, Russia Mission. Since his mission, Daniel has continued his study of the Russian language. Daniel is passionate about the First Amendment and a zealous advocate of the rights free speech and free religious expression. As an undergraduate he interned for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a non-profit dedicated to fighting for free speech rights on university campuses. He is proud to be able to work for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies in order to further advocate for First Amendment rights of individuals worldwide. He has served the center as a Student Research Fellow, completing a summer externship with the Office of General Counsel of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, and as a volunteer for the International Law and Religion Symposium in 2012 and 2013. He has joined the Transportation Team for Symposium 2014.
James Heilpern has served the International Center for Law and Religion Studies as a member of the Documents sub-team for the International Law and Religion Symposium and a member of the Center Management Board with responsibilities for Latin America. Since coming to law school, he has worked on numerous amici curiae briefs submitted to courts around the world including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Texas, and the Constitutional Court of Colombia. In 2013, he interned at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he worked on several high-profile First Amendment…
Bryant T. Hinckley enjoyed working with the International Law and Religion Symposium in fall 2012 as an informal translator. He returned in 2013 as a member of the Documents Team of the Symposiums Student Executive Committee, and he will serve as Documents Co-Chair for Symposium 2014. Bryant spend the summer of 2013 as an extern in Johannesburg with the South Africa Area Legal Counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Originally from Salt Lake City, Bryant is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Utah where he earned a BA in history, anthropology, and Latin American studies. Prior to entering law school, he worked part-time at a Salt Lake City law firm. He enjoys practicing his Portuguese and staying current on world events, and he loves spending time with his wife and daughter. Bryant was selected as a member of the inaugural Studen Management Board of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies in 2014.
Monique is from southern Arizona. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology Degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Monique loved her time as an International Center for Law and Religion Studies Fellow and looks forward to working with the Center in another role. She joins the Student Executive Committee for the 2014 International Law and Religion Symposium as a member of the Documents Team.
Born and raised in Mesa, AZ, Zach Smith served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern California during the time of Proposition 8. There he witnessed first-hand religious persecution against those who stood up for their beliefs, motivating him to defend the religious beliefs of all. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University with a minor in Business Management. He also helped the Center on their Peruvian country report. He is now a second-year student at BYU’s Law School. During the summer of 2014 he worked for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty where he worked on key religious liberty cases including Hobby Lobby and related non-profit cases. He joins the Student Executive Committee for the 2014 International Law and Religion Symposium as a member of the Documents Team.
John Anderson has lived in many different states, having moved 11 times while growing up. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Eugene, Oregon. His undergraduate is from Utah State University with a major in history and a minor in Political Science. John and his wife were both competitive volleyball players and have also coached in a youth volleyball club. As a 2013 Student Research Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, John completed a five-week summer research externship in Auckland, New Zealand. He volunteered at the International Law and Religion Symposium both before and after his admission to Law School. He has enjoyed his experience as a volunteer, and was pleased to be a member of the Consierge/Hosting Team in 2013. He returns as co-chair of the team for 2014.
Lynn Nouri has lived in a number of cities including San Diego, Toronto, Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, and Cincinnati. She graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University in 2011 with a BS in Marketing. She worked in research for a number of years at Procter and Gamble and resigned in 2012 to pursue her life-long interest in the law. Since coming to the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Lynn has served the International Center for Law and Religion studies in several capacities. She was first a volunteer (2012) and then a member of the Concierge/Hosting team (2013, 2014) for the annual International Law and Religion Symposium. In her pursuit to…
Josh Bishop grew up in Redlands, California and Orem, UT, and spent two years as a full-time, Hungarian-speaking missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Budapest, Hungary. He graduated in 2011 from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in political science, after which he founded and operated a successful limousine business. Josh and his wife are the proud parents of a toddler and two upcoming twins. He has worked for two Utah Fourth District Court judges and for law firms in Rochester, New York, Provo, Utah, and Dallas, Texas. He enjoyed volunteering for the 2012 and 2013 International Law and Religion Symposiums, and is happy to return again in 2014 as a member of the Concierge/Hosting team of the Student Executive Committe. Josh currently serves as a managing editor of the BYU Law Review, President of the Business Law Association, and Vice President of the Family Law Society.
Travis Hyer hails from Florida and is proud to call the Sunshine State home. Before entering the J. Reuben Clark Law School, his studies focused on Latin America and indigenous peoples. Specifically, he has conducted graduate research on religious dynamics of the Maya of southern Mexico. Travis also enjoys studying the arts and enjoys performing in musical and theatrical ensembles as often as he can. Travis was selected as a Student Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies for 2014, serving a summer externship with the Area Legal Counsel for The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand. He will serve as a member of the Concierge/Hosting Team of the Executive Committee for the 2014 International Law and Religion Symposium.
Scott Elder is a is a native of South Jordan, Utah. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in San Fernando, California where he developed an interest in ecumenical efforts, establishing collaborative relationships with leaders from other faiths. Scott graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Upon entering the J. Reuben Clark Law School, he became interested in continuing the law school’s efforts in promoting religious freedom and civil rights throughout the world, and volunteered to be a member of the Law and Religion Symposium. Scott was able to spend his summer in Chief Justice Matthew Durrant’s chambers at the Utah Supreme Court as an extern. Scott is a dedicated husband and father of two young boys that loves spending time with his family.