The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the 2018 Summer Research Fellows. Each year the Center invites outstanding students to spend the summer between their first and second years at J. Reuben Clark Law School in externships with offices of the Area Legal Counsels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many parts of the world and at the General Counsel’s More …
Austin Atkinson – Moscow Russia
Andrew Birkinsha – Johannesburg, South Africa
Bekah Chamberlin – Auckland, New Zealand
Miranda Cherkas – Hong Kong
MaKade Claypool – Moscow, Russia
Erin Cranor – Salt Lake City, Utah
Michael Duval – Frankfurt, Germany
Diana Flores – Hong Kong
Abdullah Hassan – Frankfurt, Germany
Madison Moss – Accra, Ghana
Chase Olsen – Salt Lake City, Utah
Gabriell Sabalones – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Rachel Mabey Whipple – Brussels, Belgium
Austin Atkinson grew up in West Jordan, Utah and served as a Russian-speaking missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Baltic Mission, living in Latvia and Lithuania for two years. He graduated magna cum laude from BYU with a double major in Geography and Russian. His passion for the culture and language led to an internship with the Slavic Center for Law and Justice in Moscow, Russia in 2016. The Yarovaya laws restricting foreign proselyting in Russia were passed during his time there. This experience renewed his interest in the complex dynamic that is religious freedom in the former Soviet Union. The son of a banker and a calculus teacher, he made the logical decision after graduation to continue his education and attend BYU Law School. Austin was a 2018 Student Fellow for the ICLRS, and spent the summer working with the Church’s Office of General Counsel in Moscow, learning more about the different aspects affecting religious freedom in Russia, and around the world.
Andrew Birkinsha was raised in Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas as the oldest of five children. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Frankfurt, Germany, and later graduated with degrees in economics and German studies. After graduating, Andrew took his family to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked for the software company Epic Systems. After deciding IT work was not for him, he rekindled his love for debate and decided to apply to law school. Andrew enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and spending time with his wife and daughter.
An authentic Georgia Peach, Miranda is from a small town north of Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the University of Chicago and majored in political science. While she was there, she took Mandarin classes and studied Chinese political history and religion at Renmin University in Beijing, China. She was also a fellow in the Chicago Mayor’s Office before graduating in 2015. She then served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Australia Sydney North Mission speaking Mandarin. Her interests include ballet and hip hop dance, rock ‘n’ roll, and anything fried.
Erin Cranor and her husband Bud raised their four children in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just prior to law school, Erin was a trustee of the Clark County School District for 6½ years. As an elected official, Erin deeply enjoyed social justice policy development, including immigration, disproportionality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religious freedom. She looks forward to a career in the law around these issues. Prior to serving on the school board, Erin was a technical writer for Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth development organizations….
MaKade Claypool was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. He attended Brigham Young University and graduated with degrees in political science and international business (Russian emphasis). While at BYU he worked as an administrator/head research analyst for the 2016 KBYU-Utah Colleges Exit Poll and researched the effects of democratizing revolutions on the rule of law. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in eastern Ukraine from 2012-2014, returning home shortly after the Ukraine Crisis began. His desire to serve in the law is attributed in large part to his experience in Ukraine. He enjoys spending time with his family and travel. As a first-year law student, he is excited to work this summer with the Center in Moscow.
Diana Flores is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and curatorial studies and a minor in editing. Before graduating, she served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Albania. Diana loves hiking, learning new languages, and traveling. Through her travels she has developed a deep love of world religions and cultures. She is now in her first year of law school and is excited to work with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies in both Provo and Hong Kong this summer.
Rachel Mabey Whipple was raised in Daingerfield, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and a masters of comparative studies with a focus on environmental humanities at Brigham Young University. Between degrees, she married, had three kids, and lived in San Diego and Long Island. Since returning to Provo, she’s been active in the local community, serving as acting neighborhood chair and as a member of both the Provo Sustainability Committee and the Provo Bicycle Committee. She also served on the board of LDS Earth Stewardship and is now on the board of directors for the Utah Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.