Undergraduate Director’s Fellows, 2021

Marco Chaidez is majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, and Economics. He lives just outside of Chicago, and is especially interested in labor migration and transnational communities and identities in the United States, as well as the role of education in these communities. At Yale, he is an undergraduate research assistant at the Tobin Center for Economic Policy, a Recruitment Coordinator at the Yale College Undergraduate Admissions office, and a member of Yale’s MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan).

Patrick Chappel is a Sophomore in Davenport College from Columbus, GA majoring in Political Science. Broadly, Patrick is interested in the function of the federal bureaucracy and execution of executive policy. As legislative gridlock continues to plague Washington, he seeks to answer how policymakers can respond to fast moving crises using existing statutory authority. At Yale, Patrick works as a research assistant for Professor Christina Kinane and is the student head of LuMin at Yale. 

Durel Crosby is majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. At Yale Durel serves as Co-President of the Urban Improvement Corps, and conducts research with the Policy Lab’s Segregation and Education student working group. He is interested in efforts to define education as a public versus a private good and prioritizing democratic equality. To that end, he is eager to learn more about education history and how policy and reform efforts have helped or hindered our democratic viability.

Melat Eskender is  in Morse College from Columbus, OH majoring in political science. She is interested in criminal justice and, in particular, right to counsel, conditions in US prisons and jails, and community reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals. At Yale, she serves as the Speakers and Events Coordinator of the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the co-head of a debate lesson program at Rikers Prison, and the treasurer of the Yale Young Democratic Socialists of America.

Stella FitzGerald is majoring in American Studies with a Concentration in Politics and American Communities. Stella’s policy and advocacy focii are sex trafficking legislation, income inequality, NYC tenant protection rights, and criminal justice reform. At Yale, Stella is a legislative researcher as a member of the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project’s Advocacy Team, and is tracking state by state Use of Force regulations for the pending report “Mapping Use of Force Policies in U.S. Prisons” for the Yale Law School Lowenstein Project. Originally from New York City, Stella was appointed by Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President, to serve on Manhattan Community Board 2 as a representative for  Greenwich Village and Chinatown, where she served on the Social Services and Traffic & Transportation Committees. Stella is looking forward to pursuing a career in U.S. public policy. 

Lucy McCurdy is  in Berkeley college and from Washington, DC. She is majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics and is specifically interested in issues of procedural justice and American executive branch politics. At Yale, Lucy has served as a board member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and as the Vice President of Every Vote Counts.

Gabby Ortega is in Jonathan Edwards and from Houston, Texas. She is studying political science and is interested in criminal justice, including policing practices, mass incarceration, and their effects on individuals and communities at large. On campus, she is involved in the Academic Strategies Program, Yale Legal Aid Association, and the Yale cheerleading team. 

Jennifer Qu is majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. Growing up in Queens, New York along immigrant and low-income families, she is interested in examining the impacts of immigration policy, labor regulatory policy, and safety net programs on vulnerable workers. She currently performs scholarly research on policing and on race- and sex-selective abortion policies, co-authoring two papers. Jennifer also serves as a volunteer for Matriculate and Co-Head of the Asian American Cultural Center. 

Shannon Sommers is majoring in Political Science and History, as well as a Human Rights Scholar at Yale Law School’s Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights. She is interested in public policy around women’s health and reproductive rights, as well as judicial politics. She spent the past two summers interning for the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she focused primarily on communications strategy for the Center’s most recent Supreme Court case, June Medical Services v. Russo (2020).

Samuel Ralph Turner is in Trumbull College and from Philadelphia, PA. He is majoring in Ethics, Politics, & Economics and pursuing a certificate in Global Health Studies. At Yale, Samuel plays on the varsity men’s squash team and serves as a site coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. He has conducted health policy research — related to cancer legislation, hospital consolidation, and Covid-19 testing —and is interested in how legal and public policy tools can improve the American healthcare system. 

Kevin Xiao is  in Pauli Murray College and from just outside Philadelphia. A political science major, Kevin is interested in democratic political theory, and how policy can guide the actions of unelected institutions of government, like the judiciary and administrative agencies. At Yale, Kevin competes on the Moot Court team and works as a research assistant for Professor Christina Kinane. 

Elizabeth Zietz is majoring in Statistics and Data Science. She has conducted research on housing policy for the National Homelessness Law Center and edited scholarship on misinformation as a fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project. On campus, Elizabeth is an editor of the Yale Review of International Studies, Co-President of the Yale Undergraduate Piano Collective, and former Executive Director of YHack, Yale’s annual hackathon.