The 2012 Summer Research Externs

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies acknowledges with gratitude the work of the thirteen Student Research Externs for Summer 2012 who came from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and ten other law schools in the United States to spend six to eight weeks in Provo. For most of the students, this summer’s work was focused primarily upon preparing the second edition of the four-volume comprehensive treatise for religious organizations and associated legal practitioners in the United States, Religious Organizations and the Law, by William Bassett, Cole Durham, and Robert Smith. Others participated…

Michael Balser – Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Michael Balser grew up in Orem, Utah and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Utah Valley University.  While attending UVU, Michael spent a semester working in Washington, D.C. where he met his wonderful wife.  After returning to UVU he worked for President Matthew Holland doing research and writing projects.  Michael just finished his first year of law school at Indiana University and is looking forward to continuing his studies there.

R. Alan Bostock – Phoenix School of Law

Alan Bostock is a third-year student at Phoenix School of Law. He has been able to take summer classes and will be graduating this fall after 2 1/2 years in school. He completed his undergraduate work at Arizona State University, where he received a BA in Spanish with an emphasis in Linguistics. Upon graduating from law school he plans to practice immigration law. He is excited to be working with the Center this summer doing research and work on the Treatise. Alan is married to Rachel, and as they celebrate Alan’s law-school graduation and their 10th wedding anniversary this fall, they will also welcome their fourth child, who will join Gavin (9), Baylie (5), and Landon (3). Alan enjoys being outdoors in the mountains, hiking, camping, fishing, and snowboarding.

David Choules – University of Pennsylvania Law School

Although David was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, he spent seven years living with his family in Manila and Taipei. Those years overseas were incredibly formative to his life and worldview, and they catalyzed a long and enduring interest in international studies and religion. After finishing high school in Arizona and his freshman year of college at Brigham Young University, David served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines, Tagalog speaking. While completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from BYU, he taught Tagalog at the Missionary Training Center, received an ORCA grant to research The Mormon (a New York periodical that future LDS Church President John Taylor edited from 1854-57), and was a research assistant for two Church History professors….

James Egan – J. Reuben Clark Law School

Apart from brief stints in Palo Alto and London, James Egan spent most of his childhood in Salt Lake City. He earned honors degrees in both English Literature and Political Science from the University of Utah before enrolling at J. Reuben Clark Law School. His thesis in literature analyzed how faith and freedom are represented in the novels of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and his thesis in Political Science compared the style and character of public reason in India and with public reason in the United States. Before beginning work for the Center for Law and Religion, James interned with Arent Fox in Washington, DC, where he enjoys nights at some of the nation’s best jazz clubs. He made India his home as both a missionary for the LDS Church and an intern with a non-profit public health organization, and he is delighted to return for his research with the Center.

Lani Harris – J. Reuben Clark Law School

Due to her father’s career in the military, Lani Harris spent much of her childhood moving throughout Latin America. Lani has dual citizenship with Brazil and considers both it and Miami, where she spent her high school years, to be her home. She enjoys traveling and looks forward to her next trip to visit her parents and enjoy rock climbing in Guatemala. Lani majored in Latin American Studies with a minor in Arabic at Brigham Young University and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and Arabic. She and her husband, Alexander Wilson, have a six-month old daughter, Eve. During her undergraduate degree, Lani and Alex spent four months in an intensive Arabic program as a newlywed couple in Egypt where they both hope to live someday. They both interned in Chiapas, Mexico for the Harold B. Lee Library, following which Lani interned with USAID in Guatemala…

Spencer Malley – University of Georgia School of Law

Spencer was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado. Beginning in August, 2005, he studied at Brigham Young University for one year before serving a two-year mission in Sacramento, California, where he learned Cambodian and worked with the Southeast Asian community. Upon return from his mission he continued school at BYU and in August, 2011, he earned a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in International Development. He spent the last summer of his undergraduate studies on a four-month internship in Cambodia where he led a group of five other university students in carrying out local development projects including water sanitation, agricultural production, neonatal care, education and many others. He began his legal education at the University of Georgia School of Law two days after…

Chadwick McFadyen – University of California Davis School of Law

Chad McFadyen is from Roseville, California. He majored in English at BYU and is currently pursuing his J.D./M.B.A. at UC Davis. Along with his legal career, he looks forward (perhaps with irrational optimism) to writing novels when he “grows up.” In his free time he enjoys the outdoors, making music, reading, writing, and film. He’s delighted to return to BYU to contribute to the mission of the ICLRS.

Ephraim Olson – Harvard Law School

Ephraim Olson graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English (having spent time pursuing both mathematics and biochemistry majors). Ephraim served a French-speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montreal, Canada, where he came to love the people and culture of French Canada. Ephraim grew up on a bison ranch in southwestern Canada, where he spent his summers driving tractors and caring for the bison herd. Ephraim is an avid reader, spending much of his leisure time reading (mostly Victorian or high adventure literature). Ephraim also enjoys writing, especially persuasive writing. One of the reasons Ephraim enjoys law school so much is that he believes law is one of the crowning applications of rhetoric in the modern world. Ephraim also enjoys spending time outdoors—canoeing, hiking and rock climbing—and enjoys traveling, having spent time in Thailand, Egypt, Argentina, Chile, Austria, Switzerland, China, Sweden, Russia, Scotland, Germany, Japan, and Kenya.

Michael Robertson – Harvard Law School

Michael Robertson is originally from Aloha, Oregon. He graduated from Brigham Young University in April 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English Language. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern Utah from 2005 to 2007. In his free time Michael enjoys spending time with his family, reading novels and biographies, baking, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and serving in his church and community. His academic interests include English and Russian literature, American history, historical and social linguistics, education, religion, and, of course, the law. Michael and wife Sarah are expecting their first child, a boy of indeterminate name, in August, and Michael eagerly anticipates being a harried new father / law student. He is thrilled to be working at the Center this summer on issues that are of surpassing importance and interest to him.

Alex Sorenson – Lewis & Clark School of Law

Alex Sorenson grew up in Sunnyvale, California and Sandy, Utah and served as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in São Paulo, Brazil.  He enjoys playing soccer, biking, tennis, and running. He graduated from Utah State University majoring in Economics with a minor in Portuguese.  He and his wife Emily subsequently moved to Portland, Oregon so he could attend law school, where he has discovered an interest in religious freedom, family law, and immigration law. He is thrilled to be a part of the International Center for Law and Religious Studies.