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Public Policy

Rappaport Announces 2023 Fellows

Program provides public policy opportunities for students from Massachusetts law schools.

BC Law Rappaport Fellows Isabel Hasselbalch ’24 and Joseph “Joe” Thibodeau ’25 

Boston College Law students Isabel Hasselbalch ’24 and Joseph “Joe” Thibodeau ’25 have been awarded two of the twelve 2023 Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy Fellowships. The prestigious fellowship program offers summer internships to students from law schools across Massachusetts to work in state and local government offices.

Rappaport fellows are provided the opportunity to explore and expand on their diverse interests in public policy by working with top policymakers throughout the summer. Each fellow also receives mentorship from Rappaport Center Advisory Board members, prior Rappaport Fellows, and notable practitioners and civic leaders in the public sector. Fellows further gain experiential learning by exploring the intersection of law and public policy through conversations with high-level government officials, including members of the executive, judiciary, and/or legislative branches.

The 2023 Rappaport Fellows were selected this year from a competitive applicant pool of students from Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Harvard Law School, Northeastern University School of Law, Suffolk University Law School, New England Law|Boston, University of Massachusetts School of Law, and Western New England University School of Law.

“We are delighted to announce the 2023 Rappaport Fellows, who have once again surpassed our expectations,” said Elisabeth J. “Lissy” Medvedow, executive director of the Rappaport Center. “This year’s cohort brings a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds, including in education, reproductive rights, technology and data privacy, government service, juvenile justice, and scientifically informed health care policy. We have full confidence that this passionate and talented group of future lawyers will leave a positive impact in state and local government.”

Here are the biographies of all twelve 2023 Rappaport Fellows.

BHUMIKA CHOUDHARY is a 1L at Suffolk University Law School. Over the years, Choudhary has gained a variety of experiences in higher education and nonprofit communications, local journalism on state government, and as a TEDx founder and organizer. Prior to attending Suffolk University, Choudhary worked as a case assistant at Gordon & Rees LLP, where she supported attorneys in their research and writing needs related to complex commercial litigation. In 2018, Choudhary served as a press aide to the Connecticut House Democratic Office and was awarded a proclamation for her exemplary service to the Town of Enfield. Choudhary received her master’s in public policy with honors from Trinity College, where she produced a policy memo on voting rights restoration for Connecticut parolees and workforce education opportunities in Greater Hartford. She also received her BA in Creative Writing at Trinity College. This summer, Choudhary will be interning at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the White Collar and Public Integrity Division within the Criminal Bureau.

ZACKARY COLCLASURE is a 1L at Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) and a graduate of Stonehill College where he received his BA in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. Prior to pursuing law, he served in the Baker-Polito administration for five years where he focused primarily on building lasting rapport between constituents and local government. In the Governor’s Office, Colclasure’s first responsibilities included overseeing the Office of Constituent Services and managing the governor’s Internship Program. Colclasure later became the governor’s advance representative and acted as the governor’s personal aide while traveling across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond in furtherance of the governor’s daily obligations. During this time, Colclasure discovered his passion for law by bearing witness to the profound influence that lawyers have in solving life’s most immediate challenges. At the end of the governor’s tenure, Colclasure served as the governor’s deputy director of advance and operations where he further helped strategize, coordinate, and execute the day-to-day operations of governor’s schedule. He is excited to further explore his passion for public service while interning this summer at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

ALLYSON “ALLY” CRAYS is a 2L at Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) and a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University (BW), magna cum laude, in Ohio, where she studied public health and political science. After graduating from BW, she served as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Columbus, Ohio. Over the last five years, Crays has advocated for various menstrual equity policies to increase access to menstrual products, particularly in schools. Throughout this work, she discovered her passion for working with communities to advance policy changes that increase rights for women and LGBTQ+ people. Last fall, she worked as legal intern at the ACLU of Massachusetts in the Legislative Department. Currently, she serves on PERIOD.’s board of directors and organizes for state level policy with the Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition. At NUSL, she is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, Sexuality, & Law. Last fall, she worked as a legal intern at the ACLU of Massachusetts in the Legislative Department. Crays is interested in reproductive justice, menstrual equity, and public policy. This summer, she will be interning in the Office of State Senator Jo Comerford.

ETHAN FITZGERALD, born and raised in Massachusetts, is a 1L at Boston University School of Law. Before pursuing his legal career, earned his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry at Brown University. As a researcher, he published novel findings on pulmonary immunology and previously unknown disease mechanisms of COVID-19. During his PhD candidacy, FitzGerald also served as an associate editor for the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. In that capacity, he supported researchers from diverse disciplines in honing and strengthening their scientifically informed policy proposals, which were targeted at local, state, and federal policymakers, as well as academia and international organizations. FitzGerald’s experience during the pandemic inspired him to pursue a legal career so that he may help address the critical need for scientists in policymaking and advocating for the public interest. He is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, MA, where he earned degrees, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in Political Science and Biochemistry along with a minor in Legal Studies. As a 2023 Rappaport Fellow, FitzGerald will serve as a summer intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the Health Care Division of the Health Care and Fair Compensation Bureau.

JORDANA B. HARPER is a 1L at Western New England University School of Law, and also holds a BS, magna cum laude, from Mt. Holyoke College, a MEd from Endicott College, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Lesley University in Education Leadership. She served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools prior to law school. In these roles, she had the opportunity to advocate for students, teachers, and families and learned in-depth about the laws affecting public education in Massachusetts. Harper is interested in continuing her life-long dedication to public education through work in education law and policy around school equity, students with disabilities, school funding, and employment law. She is honored to have been selected as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy. This summer, Harper will be working at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. 

ISABEL HASSELBALCH is a 2L at Boston College Law School and a graduate of American University where she studied International Relations with a minor in Art History. Following graduation from AU, she worked at the Public Defender Service for Washington, DC, and in development at a women’s behavioral health provider in Lincoln, Nebraska, her hometown. During her 1L summer, she worked at the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee in Quincy. This summer, she will be at the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Youth Advocacy Division working in juvenile appeals. Hasselbalch is interested in criminal law and juvenile justice.

SADIE KELLER is a 1L at Boston University School of Law and a graduate of Oberlin College, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Truman Scholar. After college, Keller taught English at a public university in Mexico City and researched asylum and immigration policies as a Fulbright Scholar. She was then program manager for a national nonprofit, supporting families facing housing insecurity and eviction. Keller has worked on political campaigns and research think tanks, focusing on issues related to immigration, housing, civil rights, and voting rights. She will be interning this summer at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the Executive Bureau.

LUCIA MARTINEZ is a 1L at Boston University School of Law and a graduate of Occidental College, cum laude, where she studied Latino/a & Latin American Studies and Political Science. Before pursuing her law degree, Martinez worked for seven years at Free Press, a Washington, DC-based media and tech policy and advocacy organization, where she advocated for public interest policies at Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and with technology companies. Martinez plans to pursue a public policy career at the intersection of technology law and civil rights and is passionate about digital civil rights, data privacy protections, and working to mitigate the harm caused by algorithmic bias and surveillance technology. This summer, Martinez will intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the Data Privacy and Security Division of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau.

LINDA MCCLELLAN is a 2L at New England Law | Boston and is natively from Philadelphia. McClellan received her BA in Psychology from West Chester University and her MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Before pursuing her law degree, McClellan was a case manager and clinical therapist specializing in trauma and adolescent development. McClellan got her passion for policy and change while working with disenfranchised populations. While engaged in behavioral health service, she worked in outpatient and residential services. At New England Law | Boston, McClellan has implemented a trauma-informed training for students working with clients in the CORI Initiative. McClellan also leads the CORI Initiative policy program, lobbying for bills to reform Massachusetts’s criminal justice system. McClellan is the chair of her SBA’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee and maintains the food pantry. McClellan also serves on the Black Law Student Association executive board, creating events and linking alumni with the current student body. She has worked in State Senator Lydia Edwards’s office for the past year. McClellan will spend her Rappaport summer interning in the Policy and Cabinet Affairs Division of the Office of Governor Maura Healey.

MIRANDA POPKEY is a 1L at Northeastern University School of Law. She graduated in 2009 from Yale University with a BA in Humanities, cum laude, and from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018 with an MFA in Writing. She has worked as a book editor, undergraduate creative writing instructor, and as a fieldworker at Massachusetts Audubon’s Drumlin Farm. At Action for Boston Community Development, she served as director of the Generations Advancing Together Through Education (GATE) Program, connecting income-eligible Boston-area parents to fully funded job training opportunities. Popkey is passionate about strengthening and expanding the social safety net, including through Universal Basic Income initiatives, and believes in funding community-led initiatives that offer alternatives to incarceration. This summer, Popkey will be interning at the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

LAURA RODRIGUEZ ALFONSO is a first-year public interest law student at the University of Massachusetts School of Law. Rodriguez Alfonso graduated from the University of Florida, where she received a BA in Criminology with a minor in History. While at UF, Rodriguez Alfonso volunteered at PACE Center for Girls as a social service intern, which fostered her interest in law. After graduating, Rodriguez Alfonso worked for a domestic violence shelter as a case manager. In this role, she advocated for survivors and assisted in finding housing, filing injunctions, and applying for government assistance. Currently, Rodriguez Alfonso serves as a legal mentor for Discovering Justice. This summer, she will be interning at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

JOSEPH (“JOE”) THIBODEAU is a 1L Public Service Scholar at Boston College Law School and a graduate of Tufts University, cum laude, where he majored in American Studies and International Relations. Prior to law school, he spent eight years serving in various roles as a government and campaign staffer for leaders, including United States Senator Ed Markey (MA), Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), and Massachusetts State Senator Barbara L’Italien (Second Essex & Middlesex). Thibodeau’s prior work has focused on political strategy, coalition building, and community engagement. He is interested in civil rights, public policy, and community organizing, and will spend his Rappaport summer interning in the Legal Counsel’s Office of Governor Maura Healey.