Mara’s interest in the IHRC stems from her passion for cross-cultural collaboration and advocacy. At the University of Pennsylvania, she explored the intersection of health and human rights, earning an undergraduate and graduate degree in Public Health. While at Penn, she also worked as a researcher studying the health of various populations like African American youth with a risk of HIV and older adults with a biomarker risk of dementia. She took a community-based approach to research to deepen her understanding of complex problems and identify culturally competent solutions.

Before law school, Mara worked in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Her work informed the incorporation of additional testing sites in communities with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. Additionally, she volunteered with organizations that served African and Caribbean refugees. Mara implemented initiatives like weekly food and product deliveries, home health and social service visits, and referrals to mortgage assistance agencies. Mara is excited to strengthen her advocacy and cross-cultural skills as a student attorney with the IHRC.

Since enrolling at USC Gould, Mara has been active with the Black Law Students Association and Womxn of Color Collective. She also volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project. This year she will be a JD Legal Writing Fellow and a member of the Hale Moot Court Honors program. During her IL summer, she worked as a legal intern at Cerberus, a private equity firm, in its New York office.

“I am passionate about anchoring my work in communities because I believe it improves my capacity to problem-solve. Working in the IHRC, I hope to restore the power and autonomy of clients by working collaboratively and unpacking how generalizations in the law may adversely impact them.”