Internships & Fellowships


Each summer, we host three to six graduate students and law students to conduct research on policy matters or investigate potential impact litigation relating to issues affecting low-income residents of Hawai‘i. Students are typically given a single project to focus on during their 10 weeks at Hawai‘i Appleseed. By the end of the summer, students will have usually developed an extensive memo detailing their findings and making recommendations on potential reforms and how they might best be pursued. Students are given a high degree of responsibility and Appleseed staff rely heavily on the students’ work to develop new projects.

For example, in one summer, students at Hawai‘i Appleseed were responsible for researching: (1) solutions for Hawai‘i’s affordable housing crisis, (2) inequities in Hawai‘i’s tax system, (3) language accessibility of the Hawai‘i driver’s examination, and (4) issues in Hawai‘i’s foster care system. The first two projects were developed into policy briefs and ultimately resulted in successful legislation. The third and fourth projects resulted in two successful class action cases.

Summer internships are unpaid.

Deadline to apply for a summer 2018 internship position is March 30, 2018. Please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Co-Executive Director Gavin Thornton at

From left to right:

Nina Lea Oishi
International Affairs Major & Political Economy Minor, Lewis & Clark College, Class of 2018
Nina is Punahou School alumni, a social justice advocate, a French and Chinese speaker, a photographer, and avid hiker. Nina is working on a variety of projects for Appleseed, including research on homelessness, a report on raising the minimum wage, and graphic design and photography for minimum wage and school breakfast campaigns.

Jacqueline Raha
J.D. Candidate & M.S. in Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Class of 2020
Jacqueline is passionate about food security and how that interacts with health, education, social justice, and climate change. She loves to spend her free time farming or caring for animals, and can likely be found accordingly at Ho’oulu ‘Āina, hanging out with Dadda Wadda Cow. As a part of Appleseed’s efforts to end hunger in Hawai‘i, Jacqueline is drafting a report that will highlight the state’s strengths while also suggesting ways to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program.

Aubrey Jones
J.D. Candidate, Yale Law School, Class of 2018
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Aubrey loves spending time outdoors. This summer, she is enjoying all of the hiking, biking, and water sports that Hawai‘i has to offer. At Appleseed, Aubrey is working on legislative advocacy for an increase in Hawai‘i’s minimum wage.

Emily Orman
J.D. Candidate, Yale Law School, Class of 2019
Emily grew up in rural Black Earth, Wisconsin before moving to the East Coast for undergraduate and law school. She grew up visiting Hawai‘i regularly with her family and had a wonderful time exploring the islands this summer. Her career aspirations include public policy and public interest law. Emily has been working on a children’s mental health services project this summer. This work includes conducting interviews with people who have faced barriers to access services, working with advocates and partner organizations, conducting research, identifying problem areas and brainstorming remedies.

Tyler Saito
J.D. Candidate, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Class of 2019
Tyler grew up in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island where he competed in the Hawai‘i High School Rodeo Association. This summer, Tyler is working on issues relating to affordable housing, identifying how we can better develop and preserve critically needed housing for our residents.

From left to right:

Darien Pun grew up in Toronto, Canada, and is currently studying at the University of Chicago Law School. Using his background in real estate, Darien’s work this summer was focused on the design of policies to increase the availability of affordable housing across Hawaiʻi. In his free time, he loves cooking and trying new restaurants.

Phillip Pullig is a native of Waco, Texas who just finished his first year at Georgetown University Law Center. He assisted Appleseed with research on the minimum wage. He enjoys going on hikes, taking in the island’s amazing scenery, and surfing.

Jasmine Pontillas Davé is from Makakilo, Hawaiʻi. She is a law student at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is focusing her legal studies on special education advocacy in Hawaiʻi. Her work at Appleseed involved analyzing the equitability of how local school funding is distributed with respect to low-income students. A major motivation for her is one of her former students, who hopes to become a police officer and work with Jasmine once she becomes a lawyer.

From left to right:

Gabriel Beugelmans, UC Hastings College of the Law
Joshua Cooper-Williams, UCLA School of Law
Katrina Myers, Boston University School of Law
Mari Takemoto-Chock, Stanford Law School
Mykie Ozoa, William S. Richardson School of Law

Johnny Castellanos, 3L Northwestern University School of Law
Christopher Dunomes, 2L Harvard Law School
Caitlin Eberhardt, 3L University of Virginia School of Law
Veronica Montalvo, 2L Columbia Law School
Angela Roh, 2L Georgetown University Law Center


  • Adequacy of services provided to children in Hawaii’s juvenile correctional facility
  • Alternative Dwelling Units (ADUs) as a vehicle to provide affordable housing
  • Successful models and materials for expanding SNAP (Food Stamps) outreach in Hawaii
  • Inappropriate termination of eligible Medicaid recipients during the current DHS reenrollment process
  • Development and implementation of successful anti-hunger strategies in Hawaii
  • Research on policies that would restore equity in our tax system

Top row: Victor Geminiani, Joo Young Seo, Elena Pacheco
Bottom row: Matt Justice, Christiaan Mitchell, Rebekah Chong, Kelly Maeshiro, Nick Pietropaolo


Rebekah Leiolakaikemekana’auwauho’opunimekealoha Chong, Manhattanville College, 2012 Alumni
Matt Justice, 2L University of Michigan Law School
Kelly Maeshiro, Senior, Harvard College
Christiaan Mitchell, 3L UH Richardson School of Law
Elena Pacheco, 2L UC Berkeley School of Law
Nick Pietropaolo, 2L Michigan Law School
Joo Young Seo, 2L Columbia Law School


Social Media: Create infographics on the important issues addressed by Hawai‘i Appleseed and research other potential social media platforms.
Foster Care: Investigate problems within the Hawai’i foster care system, paying particular attention to the provision of mental health services, and developing strategies for improving conditions within that system.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Research improving the provision mental health and substance abuse services for youths in juvenile detention. Support current litigation.
School Environment and Discipline: Work collaboratively with the Hawaii Department of Education to provide research, findings, and possible recommendations for its practices regarding school environment and school discipline.
Tax Policies: Advocate for tax reform proposals to lessen the burdens on low-income wage-earners and families living in poverty.
Affordable Housing: Identify successful affordable housing models around the country and determine how those models might be most effectively adopted in Hawai‘i.
Tax Policies: Advocate for tax reform proposals to lessen the burdens on low-income wage-earners and families living in poverty.
Poverty Among Seniors: Research information about the state of poverty in Hawai‘i’s elderly population and develop a draft report.
Driver’s Licenses: Research the need for translation of the written driver’s license exam into languages with significant populations with limited English proficiency living in Hawai‘i.

top row: Victor Geminiani, Morwenna Steinerson, Zach DiIonno, John Schemitsch
bottom row: Daylin-Rose Gibson, Taryn Kaili, Paoakalani Montgomery, Johanna Sanchez, Weiqi Tang, Yonatan Herzbrun


Zach DiIonno, 3L UH Richardson School of Law
Daylin-Rose Gibson, 2L UH Richardson School of Law
Yonatan Herzbrun, 2L Brooklyn Law School
Taryn Kaili, 4th year, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Paoakalani Montgomery, 2nd year Harvard College
Johanna Sanchez,3L Cornell Law
John Schemitsch, 2L Fordham University School of Law
Morwenna Steinerson, 2L City University of New York School of Law
Weiqi Tang, 2L Yeshiva University Cardozo School of Law


Aging Out Foster Children: Identify the rights and resources available to youth aging out of foster care and research the use of technology and social media to improve communication.
School Discipline: Analyze the disciplinary practices in Hawaii’s public schools to determine the causal link between high rate of suspensions and expulsions in schools with high Native Hawaiian, low-income and immigrant student populations.
School Breakfast: Evaluate a model of providing school breakfast in the classroom to all students, particularly those who are not able to have a meal before school starts.
Immigrant Rights Manual: Develop a training module for immigrants and caseworkers on various legal rights of immigrants.
HPHA Resident Councils: Compile relevant policy information for tenant education on proper, effective Resident Council formation and operation.
HPHA Conditions and ADA compliance: Identify public housing projects in deterioration and failing to comply with tenant requests for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Native Hawaiian Issues: Survey Native Hawaiian community to determine systemic barriers to self achievement.
Tax Policies: Research options for on tax policies that are supportive of the needs of the the low income populations.
Appleseed Network Activities: Compile information of the activities of the 17 Appleseed centers to determine potential for replication in Hawaii.
Playgrounds and Community Gardens: Gain information, develop partnerships and identify funding for the creation of community gardens in Kuhio Park Terrace and Kuhio Homes public housing projects.
English Language Learners: Evaluating the adequacy of the Department of Education’s administration of English Language Learner (ELL) programs at the local school level by examining teacher qualification data, teacher turnover rates, and relevancy of ELL curriculum.
Streamlining Government Services for Low-Income populations: : Investigate the progress and applicability of experimental innovations in mainland states’ efforts to streamline government services to improve access by low-income working families.
Homeless Outreach: Conduct extensive outreach to the homeless community to determine their needs and interests.
Alternative Housing Options: Survey barriers to and solutions for long-term affordable housing options for the homeless community.
Tenancy Readiness Modules: Research models for tenant readiness training in anticipation of permanent shelter.
Disparate Impact of the Hawaii criminal Justice System on Native Hawaiians: Research practical solutions to the disparate impact on Native Hawaiians in the criminal justice system.
State and Federal Protections for Fishing Boat Crews: Research legal protections for fisherman and identify problems experienced by fishing crews in Hawaii that are registered by foreign entities.


  • Chelsea Du, New York University School of Law
  • Anita Hofschneider, Harvard College
  • Fawn Jade Koopman, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
  • Kelsy Sargent, University of Colorado Law School
  • Jamie Young, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Each summer clerk worked on several projects. Some of the topics were:

  • the design, delivery and performance of the Department of Education’s English Language Learner curriculum
  • systemic barriers and discrimination confronted by Micronesians living in Hawai`i
  • systemic failures in Hawai`i to provide timely and adequate mental health services to foster children who have suffered trauma
  • the development of a manual to educate immigrants about their legal rights
  • the failures of the O`ahu Youth Detention Home to meet its legal and moral responsibilities
  • options to provide safe, secure and affordable housing opportunities for the homeless
  • options available to expand the federal school meals program in Hawai`i
  • language rights of immigrants guaranteed by federal and state law as well as available enforcement mechanisms
  • the impact of the recession on low income individuals and families and the human services programs that serve them
  • the Hawai`i Public Housing Authority projects that repeatedly fail HUD’s annual audits and the extent of their failures


Hawaiʻi Appleseed will host law students in their second or third year of law school, graduate students, and undergraduate students as an extern/intern earning academic credit. Under the direct supervision of one of our attorneys, students will conduct research on issues affecting the low-income population of Hawaiʻi, help prepare potential litigation as well as participate in pending cases. Assignments may include drafting policy briefs, legal manuals, litigation memos and pleadings. Students may also be assigned projects that involve discovery and trial preparation.

Interested law students, graduate students, and undergraduate students should contact us to express interest in working with us for a time frame adequate for projects to be developed and required paperwork from academic institutions completed.

Candidates should send an email to expressing your interest in a volunteer position. Please include in your email a current resume and letter of interest.

Fellowship Opportunities

Hawai‘i Appleseed will consider hosting post-graduate legal fellowships. Please contact for more information.