Public Service Pathways: ISPS’s Millstone Fellows Make a Difference

Authored By 
Rick Harrison
April 29, 2024

Students sit in chairs in a semi-circle facing Elizabeth Wilkins in a library with bookshelves

Last summer, William Hin worked with unaccompanied minors arriving at the United States’ southern border, helping them apply for a special status for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents.

Growing up in a California neighborhood targeted for raids by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Hin had already witnessed the emotional impact felt by people whose legal challenges can leave their lives unsettled and quickly upended. Working last summer for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), he gained additional insight into juvenile felony and misdemeanor cases.

“I was working with a community near my house and my high school,” Hin said. “Meeting indigent clients, I could see how low-income populations can be criminalized and how aspects of criminal law can affect the outcomes of their immigration cases.”

This summer, Hin will work near home as an intern with the Orange County Office of the Public Defender, thanks in part to the support of the Institute for Social and Policy Studies’ Millstone Fellowship. Created through a generous gift from Yale College alumni Jennifer Millstone ’00 and David Millstone ’99, the fellowship provides undergraduate students with the resources to pay for housing, transportation, and other expenses while gaining valuable experience and building a network of peers and professional contacts in pursuit of careers in public service.

“Like many public service internships, mine is an unpaid position,” said Hin, who is majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity this fellowship grants me to work 40 hours a week for nine weeks. And to make connections with other students and alumni who can share valuable insights about law school and working in government.”

Now in its second year, the fellowship has doubled in size, helping a new group of 14 students to secure their summer internships. At a kickoff dinner earlier this month, the students met with former U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Yale College ’96, Toral Patel-Weynand, ’92 MFS, ’01 DFES, executive director of forest management sciences for the USDA Forest Service; Lissa Kryska, ’22 MA, JD; and Kevin Xiao, Yale College ’23, a former ISPS Dahl Scholar.Four students sit in a library and listen to a speaker

“We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to such a talented and dedicated group of students,” said Millstone Fellowship Faculty Director Christina Kinane, ISPS fellow and assistant professor of political science. “There are lots of career paths that are presented to Yale undergraduates, but the government route has not been spotlighted for them. And summer internships in government being often unpaid positions, it makes those first steps into a career in public service that much more difficult. The Millstone offers solutions to both obstacles with financial support and a network of like-minded alumni with vast experience at all levels of government.”

ISPS Director Alan Gerber, Sterling Professor of Political Science, praised Kinane’s leadership in doubling the size of the program in its first two years.

“We are tremendously grateful for the many opportunities the Millstone Fellowship offers our students,” Gerber said. “Christina and I are consistently impressed with their talent, their dedication, and how well they demonstrate an understanding of the challenges we face as a country and the importance of public service.”

Aya Ochiai, a Millstone fellow majoring in mechanical engineering and environmental studies, will work this summer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on a power-generating tidal turbine system.

“I’m interested in renewable energy and building a sustainable future,” Ochiai said. “As an engineer, there are probably places I can get paid more, but I liked the opportunity at NREL. And knowing I had the support of the Millstone fellowship really helped.”

Last summer, Elizabeth Dejanikus worked as an intern for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on China. As a Millstone fellow, she will work at the U.S. Department of Defense Office for Legislative Affairs.Two students sit in chairs in a library and listen to a speaker

“I had an interesting and fulfilling summer working on The Hill, and my biggest priority was to find an opportunity to expand on what I did and stay engaged,” Dejanikus said. “As someone interested in going into public service, I’ve discovered that a lot of internships without a law degree or a bachelor’s degree are unpaid or pay very little. That’s the nature of the work we are committing ourselves to. I would not have considered applying for this job if not for the Millstone fellowship.”

Griffin Richie, an ethics, politics, and economics major, will work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., seeking to broaden his exposure to criminal law. Last year he worked for a pro bono criminal defense firm in his hometown of Atlanta.

“The Millstone fellowship will be enormously helpful for finding housing and supporting myself this summer and putting away money for law school in the future,” Richie said. “It helps provide the financial flexibility suited to my career, so I do not need to pursue jobs primarily for the monetary aspect.”

Growing up in the district of civil rights pioneer U.S. Rep. John Lewis helped shape Richie’s outlook on the law, particularly concerning voting rights.

“Since I was really young, I thought my career would enable me to enact some social change — not just provide money or prestige,” Richie said. “And the law is so fascinating, with such powerful potential to do good.”

Cameron Greene, a former Dahl Scholar with ISPS, took a gap this year to work as an intern with the White House Council of Economic Advisors and a research intern with The Brookings Institution. As a Millstone fellow, he will work at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to see how government operates from the inside,” Greene said. “And I’ve been fortunate to find mentors I worked with and stay in touch with. I would hope to find a similar relationship this at the Treasury Department.”

Dejanikus expressed appreciation for the guidance she has received from last year’s fellows and the alumni she has met.

“I think what’s been most valuable to me so far has been hearing from the other students and alumni — how they found their first internships and what their experiences were like,” she said. “It is fun to see this program get off the ground and become a part of building it.”

The 2024 Class of Millstone Fellows:

Anna BernsteinAnna Bernstein

College: Branford

Major: American Studies

Millstone Internship: Pending

Experience: Anna has worked as an intern for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Office of Finance and Budget, a marketing strategist for yale Hospitality, and a special projects fellow for the National Education Equity Lab.

Activities: Anna serves as director of internal affairs for the Executive Board of the Yale Policy Institute and captain of yale Women’s Club Soccer. She has also created resource guides and directories for Justice Impact Alliance and assisted local students with college applications for New Haven Reach.

Sadie BogradSarah Bograd

College: Davenport

Major: Urban Studies (Certificate in Data Science)

Millstone Internship: New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Experience: Sadie has worked as a Peter G. Peterson Foundation intern at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, where she conducted research into fiscal policy issues, and a summer associate at the Kentucky Student Voice Team, which works to make Kentucky’s schools more democratic and just via research, advocacy, and storytelling. 

Activities: Sadie is the investigations editor and a former city reporter for the Yale Daily News, a research assistant studying housing costs at the Yale School of Management, a communications manager for the Yale Sustainable Food Program, and a volunteer tax preparer with Yale’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. 

Caroline ChenCaroline Chen

College: Silliman            

Major: History

Millstone Internship:  Washington, D.C. Office of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

Experience: As one of Yale’s 2023 President’s Public Service Fellows, Caroline partnered with a New Haven nonprofit to make early childhood education more accessible and affordable. She has also interned at Jacobs & Dow. She currently serves as an office aide for Silliman College and a research assistant for ISPS faculty fellow Allison Harris.

Activities: Caroline volunteers as an advising fellow for Matriculate and a pardon program volunteer for Yale’s Undergraduate Prison Project. She also serves as one of Yale Club Running’s captains and the social chair for Yale Taps.

Elizabeth DejanikusElizabeth Dejanikus

College: Timothy Dwight

Major: Political Science and Humanities

Millstone Internship: U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs

Experience: Elizabeth has served as an intern for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on China and for the Yale Law Journal and as a student assistant in the Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office. She is the managing editor of the Yale Review of International Studies and is the online managing editor of the Yale Undergraduate Law Journal.

Activities: Elizabeth has performed in several productions with the Yale Ballet Company, and she is a member of the Yale Ski Team. She works as an assistant at New Haven Ballet and leads incoming students on backpacking trips as part of the First-Year Outdoor Orientation Program (FOOT).

Axel de VernouAxel de Vernou

College: Saybrook

Major: History (BA/MA) and Global Affairs

Millstone Internship: United States Federal Government

Experience: Axel has worked as an open-source exploitation intern in the federal government, a grand strategy and nuclear strategy intern at the Hudson Institute, and a research assistant/ intern at the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Yorktown Institute, and the Wilson Center.

Activities: During his junior year, Axel served as the co-president of the Alexander Hamilton Society and one of the head brothers of Brothers in Unity, a campus society dedicated to public service and national security. He is also a member of the William F. Buckley Jr. institute and assists the Yale-William & Mary Geopolitics of Technology Initiative.

Salvador Gómez-ColónSalvador Gomez-Colon

College: Ezra Stiles

Major: History

Millstone Internship: United States Federal Government

Experience: Salvador is the founder and president of Light and Hope for Puerto Rico, which leads natural disaster relief and climate resilience initiatives in Puerto Rick and the Caribbean. He has served as an intern for the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. Department of State, the city of New Haven, and U.S. Rep. Seth Mouton, D-Mass. In addition, he has worked as a summer business analyst at McKinsey & Company and a development intern for The Wilson Center.

Activities: Salvador has earned numerous awards in recognition of his humanitarian work and public advocacy. He has published a memoir for middle-grade readers about his experience with Hurricane Maria and his early humanitarian work and delivered speeches at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, The Aspen Institute, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Cameron GreeneCameron Greene

College: Branford

Major: Economics

Millstone Internship: U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy

Experience: Cameron took a gap year to intern at the White House Council of Economic Advisors and The Brookings Institution. He has also worked as a research fellow for Harvard Business School, a Dahl Research Scholar with ISPS, a researcher for the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs’ Leitner Program on Effective Democratic Governance, and a research assistant in the Yale Department of Economics and Yale School of Management.

Activities: Cameron is a member of Yale’s Men’s Club Soccer Team, a former member of Yale’s NCAA Division 1 Men’s Varsity Fencing Team, and an amateur chess player.

William HinWilliam Hin

College: Pierson

Major: Ethics, Politics, and Economics

Millstone Internship: Orange County Office of the Public Defender

Experience: William has worked as a peer liaison for the Yale University Asian American Cultural center, a legal intern for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a Yale admissions ambassador, and a civic engagement organizer for AHRI for Justice, constructing a three-month curriculum and mentoring 20 high school students on social justice issues.

Activities: William is the development director for the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, co-social chair for Yale Danceworks, and fundraising chair for Southeast Asian Movement at Yale. Two summers ago, he completed a program in biodiversity, sustainable food systems, and environmental justice at The School for Sustainable Field Studies in Costa Rica.

Casey LewisCasey Lewis

College: Timothy Dwight

Major: Political Science

Millstone Internship: Clark County (Nev.) District Attorney’s Office

Experience: Casey has worked as an intern for U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., and for the operations manager for Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Both roles included research and policy analysis, drafting memos and more.

Activities: Casey is a project leader for the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, developing toolkits to address segregation, resource inequity and the criminalization of youth in New York City; co-director for the Yale Politics Initiative; and legislative fellow for Yale Democrats.

Thomas LoweThomas Lowe

College: Branford

Major: Global Affairs and History

Millstone Internship: The Inter-American Foundation

Experience: Thomas has worked as a policy intern in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. He has also served as a research intern for the African American Civil War Museum and works as a research assistant for John Lewis Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military & Naval History, to create artificial-intelligence-rendered virtual experiences of historical settings.

Activities: Thomas leads a team of Yale students who are collaborating with officers from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Air Force Academy to develop a primer on space law and policy meant primarily for U.S. Air Force JAG Officers. He is also a member of the Yale Spizzwinks and chairs a committee for the Yale Model United Nations Conference.

Aya OchiaiAya Ochiai

College: Timothy Dwight

Major: Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Studies

Millstone Internship: U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Lab

Experience: Aya has worked as a mechanical engineering intern for the federal government, an assistant in the Yale Machine Shop, and a research assistant in the lab of Jan Schroers, Robert Higgins Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

Activities: Aya works as an undergraduate production peer mentor and a STARS peer mentor. As technical director of the Yale Dramatic Association, she has led efforts stage productions for the largest theaters on campus.

Pranav PattatathunaduvilPranav Pattatathunaduvil

College: Ben Franklin

Major: Global Affairs

Millstone Internship: U.S. Department of State

Experience: Pranav previously worked as a foreign policy research assistant for the Special Competitive Studies Project, assisting in the planning of the Quad Tech, Business, and Investment Forum. In addition, he served in two research internships at the Hudson Institute over a year and a half, researching the evolution of India and China’s foreign policy strategies.

Activities: Pranav is the co-president of the Yale Policy Institute, the incoming president for the Alexander Hamilton Society, and co-founder and co-president of the Geopolitics of Technology Initiative, which works to engage students at the intersection of technology and foreign policy. He recently spearheaded the inaugural Geopolitics of Technology Forum, which was held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense

Griffin RichieGriffin Richie

College: Davenport

Major: Ethics, Politics, and Economics

Millstone Internship: U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

Experience: Griffin has worked as an intake and client relations intern for the Georgia Justice Project, an editorial intern for the Yale Law Journal, a site coordinator for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, and an intake volunteer for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.

Activities: Griffin has been a discussion leader for the Yale Undergraduate Moot Court, a staff writer for the Yale Undergraduate Law Journal, an elections and legislative fellow for Yale College Democrats, a member of the Yale Political Union, and a parliamentary debate coach for high school students through the New Haven Urban Debate League.

Aerin WashingtonAerin Washington

College: Branford

Major: Architecture and African American Studies

Millstone Internship: City of New Haven’s Economic Development Administration, advised under the Yale Urban Design Workshop and the Greater Dwight Development Corporation

Experience: Aerin has worked as an event assistant for the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School and a housing case analyst with Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut. 

Activities: Aerin is the president of external affairs for the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, head of the Equal Justice Center at the Yale Policy Institute, and served as director of outreach for Yale Votes.