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The First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship Program, or FirstGEN, is a paid summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college and who intend to pursue careers in social justice. Our mission is to identify and support first generation college students as they emerge into tomorrow’s leaders.

From June 3rd through August 9th, fellows will serve as summer interns with a FirstGEN Fellowship partner: the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under LawAdvancing Justice | AAJC, or the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). During the course of their internships, fellows receive experience advocating for civil rights, participate in training and professional development seminars, and join a growing community of emerging leaders in the FirstGEN Alumni Network.

To learn more about the program, read about the experiences of the 2023 Fellows.

For more information, email us at


FirstGEN Fellows Class of 2024



Landis Varughese

University of Wisconsin-Madison ’26

Landis (he/him) is a rising third-year student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science as well as a Certificate in Asian-American Studies. Landis is passionate about building coalitions as a means of forging a desired world. At UW-Madison, he serves in student government working to bolster the university’s hate/bias reporting system and cultivate a campus community that truly cares for survivors of interpersonal violence. This fall, he will serve as Editor-in-Chief for the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism. Landis will intern with Advancing Justice | AAJC this summer.



Jennifer Ibarra

University of California Santa Barbara ’24

Born to immigrant parents, Jennifer is a first-generation college student driven by a profound passion for justice and has been deeply influenced by the challenges and triumphs of the immigrant experience. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Jennifer’s goal is to attend law school, specialize in immigration law, and embark on a career where she can advocate for the rights of immigrants, ensuring they receive fair treatment and representation. She will be interning with NILC this summer.



Amaiya Nesmith

North Carolina Central University ’25

Amaiya Nesmith is a senior at North Carolina Central University where she is developing a strong foundation in research, policy analysis, and advocacy in pursuit of a degree in Political Science. Amaiya is deeply committed to social justice and advancing civil rights. At NCCU, she has previously served as Vice-President of the Student Government Association and this year will serve as President of the Alpha Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. After college she aspires to obtain her Master’s in Public Policy and Juris Doctorate degree. She will be interning with the Public Policy team at the Lawyers’ Committee this summer.

Cittlali Martinez

Gettysburg College ’25
As the daughter of two immigrant parents, Cittlali is motivated by their shared experiences as a family to pursue a career in law. She is currently a third-year student at Gettysburg College, pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Spanish/Latin American Studies, with a minor in Peace and Justice. She is looking forward to interning with NILC to further her understanding and contribute to meaningful work in this field.

FirstGEN Alumni

Alejandra Cabellero
Trinity University

Kathleen Hoang
Columbia University

Andy Flores
University of Mississippi

Jasmyne Brown
Spelman College

Victoria Cadostin
Barnard College

Batool Ibrahim
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Emma Ann Taverner
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jeniffer Velazquez
University of Southern California

Natalie Tran
Middlebury College

Claudia Theagene
SUNY Plattsburgh

Sonia Paz Canton
Georgetown University

Rabiya Ismail
Tufts University

Nghi Lam
Colorado College

Kennedi Holloway
Ohio State University

Brittany Christian
Bridgewater State University

Sykina Butts
Delta State University

Alexia Sanchez Garcia
The University of Iowa

Melissa Denizard
Babson College

Mikael Morelion
Brown University

Lara Adekeye
Boston University

Rula Thabata
Loyola University New Orleans

Cindy Reyes
University of Pennsylvania

Tauheed Islam
Harvard University

Alondra Vazquez Lopez
Yale University

Jazmine Lahbabi
University of California, Irvine

Berenice Davila Gonzalez
Berea College

Daisy Almonte
Duke University

Angelica Mercado
Mount Holyoke College

Melinda Nguyen
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jennifer Quan
Tulane University

Leslie Diaz
University of California, Los Angeles

Veronica Fernandez-Diaz
Colorado College

Deborah Johnson
Oberlin College

Nahlee Lin
Pomona College

America Morales
Wesleyan University

Rhajaa Wright
Duke University

Megan Brookens
University of Pennsylvania

Sanah Jivani
University of Texas, San Antonio

Dianne Kaiyoorawongs
Yale University

Raymond Magsaysay
Vassar College

Renata Mauriz
Brown University

Isaura Amezcua
Georgetown University

Rafael Medina
University of California, Los Angeles

Mayra Melendez
Salisbury University

Lorenza Ramirez
Tufts University

Teofanny Saragi
Pomona College

Emily Taing
University of California, Los Angeles

Karen Vallejos
Southwestern Adventist University

Karla Davis
MidAmerica Nazarene University

Nirvana Felix
University of California, Berkeley

Genesis Garfio
Columbia University

Juan Rangel
University of Notre Dame

Tania Chairez
University of Pennsylvania

Najaah Daniels
St. John’s University