Students Selected for the BBA’s 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship Program

Thanks to funding from the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) Beacon Fund for Diversity & Inclusion, the BBF Charles P. Normandin Fund and generous firm sponsors Foley Hoag Foundation, Nutter, and Pierce Atwood, the BBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Fellowship program has doubled in size, from three positions to six. Students will be placed in fully paid summer fellowships at the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General, and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. 

Each Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend for the summer and will also gain practical experience in developing legal research and writing skills, expanding professional networks, and access to programming at the BBA. In addition, the fellows are paired with a mentor from the BBA’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion Section.

This year’s summer Fellows are:

Travis Salters, a second-year student from Boston College Law School, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Jessie Baek, a second-year student from Boston College Law School, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
Catherine Garcia Summa, a second-year at the University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth, who will be interning at the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General
Kajahna Matos, a second-year student at the University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth, who will be interning at the Committee for Public Counsel Services
Dhariya Bhatia, a second-year student from Boston College Law School, who will be interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts
Alfred Spencer, a second-year student from Suffolk University Law School, who will be interning at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Travis Salters, Boston College Law School
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (AGO)

After attending Penn State University, Travis was motivated to join Teach For America as a high school literature teacher in Atlanta. After teaching for three years, Travis founded a non-profit organization in Atlanta called Next Generation Men and Women, an organization dedicated to providing students with exposure to career pathways, professionals, and personalized support. At BC Law, Travis participates in the BC Negotiation Competition, and contributes to the BC Impact Blog where he shares his perspective on law school for current and future students. In his application, Travis shared “My commitment to underserved communities will always be a top priority. I know that this fellowship will be a significant part of my journey to becoming a practicing attorney in Boston. It will expose me to the legal system to gain a better understanding of how to positively impact systems for the underserved communities. Whether I am a high school literature teacher, a non-profit leader, or an attorney, I will continue to value diversity and assume the responsibility of representing beyond myself.”

Jessie Baek, Boston College Law School
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

Jessie has always gravitated towards community-based projects that supported urban youth and their development. Her previous experience includes being a mentor with the Asian American Tutorial Project, a tutor with the Neighborhood Partnership Program, and a representative of her undergraduate college’s Office of Admission to recruit diverse students in Los Angeles to higher education. Prior to law school, Jessie worked as a teacher’s assistant for the Title I department of a public school. From her application, Jessie notes, “What excites me to work with MCAD is the opportunity to be a part of a group of attorneys and policymakers who resolve discriminatory complaints and expand my interest in creating inclusive spaces to outside of the classroom.”

Catherine Garcia Summa, UMass Law – Dartmouth
Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

Prior to enrolling in UMass Law, Catherine developed impressive leadership skills as a former Military Police Officer and a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. Motivated by her life experiences, Catherine hopes to bring her unique perspective to her fellowship, and is looking forward to continuing on her path of public service. From her application, Catherine notes, “As an intern with the Office of the Inspector General, I hope to learn more about the detection of fraud, waste, and abuse and how it affects members of the military as well as the general public I intend to serve as a lawyer.”

Kajahna Matos, UMass Law – Dartmouth
Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)

Prior to law school, Kajahna received her degree in Political Science with a concentration in Law and American Government. Kajahna is joining CPCS this summer, after several prior internships in the public sector that have been focused on assisting low-income minorities. Though these internships, Kajahna has been able to advance her Spanish speaking skills to effectively communicate with future clients. At UMass Law, she is a member of the Criminal Law Society and a member of the Legal Association of Women. In her application, she notes “I want to provide representation to those who are most at-risk of facing legal obstacles and are not prepared to successfully navigate the law and advocate for themselves.”

Dhairya Bhatia, Boston College Law School
United States Bankruptcy Court

Prior to attending Rutgers University, Dhairya began working as an administrative assistant with Legal Services of New Jersey’s Foreclosure Defense Project, conducting intake for clients facing residential and property tax foreclosure.  The work galvanized his desire to become a public interest lawyer. At BC Law, he serves as chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working group which focuses on programming to uplift and center marginalized voices. In his application, he notes how powerful bankruptcy can be for low-income people. Dhariya will be working in Chief Judge Christopher Panos’s chambers for the summer.

Alfred Spencer, Suffolk University School of Law
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

As a 2L at Suffolk, with an interest in criminal and public interest law, Alfred hopes to build on his experience working at the AGO’s Contributory Retirement Appeals Board doing legal research and writing. From his application, Alfred notes, “If there is one thing that I would like to accomplish as a lawyer, that is to make sure the law applies to and protects all Americans equally, regardless of skin color, sexuality, affiliation, creed, or ethnicity.” Prior to law school, Alfred worked at a law firm in Belgium. He also contributes to the Suffolk University Law School Journal of Health and Biomedical Law (JHBL).

Funding for the position with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General has been provided by the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) Beacon Fund. The position at the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General has been sponsored by the Foley Hoag Foundation. The position at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund, the position at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is made possible through the law firm Pierce Atwood, and the position at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is sponsored by the law firm Nutter. For more information about how to support the BBF, please contact Erica Southerland at esoutherland@bostonbar.org.