Deborah A. Batts Scholars

Current Batts Scholars

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2022 Batts Fellow
Ferrell Littlejohn '24

Ferrell is one of our 2022 Batts Research Fellows. She is a native Texan, born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In 2014, she received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in International Business and Marketing. Shortly thereafter, she commissioned as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, where she served as a comptroller for five years.

Ferrell regards her time in the Marine Corps as one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of her life. This career cultivated her passion for leadership and service. Even more, it forced her to address the intersection of her black, female, and queer identities, shaping who she is as a person and her motivations for attending law school. She says, regardless of where her legal career takes her, she will always be dedicated to generating more opportunity and chances to be heard for these and other underrepresented communities. As a Deborah A. Batts Scholar, she hopes to research issues related to community and economic development and criminal law reform.

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2022 Batts Fellow
Afrika Owes '24

Afrika Owes is one of our 2022 Batts Research Fellows. She is a community advocate who speaks truth to power. Her advocacy is motivated by her love for the Harlem community, respect for her ancestors and their bloodshed for freedom, and her personal experiences with systemic racism. Prior to joining the Fordham Law School community, Afrika worked at The Center for Constitutional Rights where she spent three years assisting with case management and facilitating community outreach programs. Afrika graduated cum laude from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship stationed in Cape Town, South Africa. Afrika continues to volunteer in her community as a member of Manhattan's Community Board 10 and as a member of various advisory committees in Harlem. Afrika’s research interests include those that intersect race, technology, and law, in addition to economic justice initiatives for formerly incarcerated Black women.

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2023 Batts Fellow
Shanice Scantlebury '25

Shanice is one of our 2023 Batts Research Fellows. She is originally from Barbados and grew up in the Bronx, New York. In 2015, she received a bachelor's degree from Williams College in History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. There, she cultivated a deeper understanding of the intricate tapestry of human stories and the unique challenges marginalized communities face. After graduating, she worked as an intellectual property paralegal in the fashion and tech industries for seven years. During this time, she witnessed the often disheartening reality of how large corporations and individuals gained protected rights to cultures they were not a part of and did not contribute to, but instead profited. As a result, she hopes to pursue a career in intellectual property to help disenfranchised communities protect and reclaim the rights to their culture's intellectual property.

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2023 Batts Fellow
Yannick Twumasi '25

Yannick is one of our 2023 Batts Research Fellows. Yannick is a Washington D.C. native and a 2021 graduate of Elon University. While at Elon Yannick majored in Political Science and minored in Computer Science. Yannick was dedicated to community service at Elon and served as a Student Government Association Senator and on the Elon Neighborhood Coalition. Upon graduation, Yannick was the recipient of several awards including the Riversville Scholarship and The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for service to his community.

Yannick is driven by the equity that the law provides and hopes to use his law degree to ensure a more fair and just world. He is proud to be a Batts Fellow and hopes to work with the Center on Race, Law, and Justice to advance their various initiatives. Yannick’s research interests include race, the arts, and law in addition to sentencing law reform.

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2023 Batts Fellow
Cristian Vega '25

Cristian Vega is one of the 2023 Batts Research Fellows.  He identifies as an Afro-Latino, born and raised in the Bronx, and is passionate about advocating for marginalized communities.  Cristian graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University with a degree in Political Science and Spanish.  He is interested in ensuring that students of color, students with special needs, and English Language Learners within the New York City public school system receive the educational programs they are entitled to by law.  Before law school, he was a paralegal for Bloomberg L.P.'s Legal Department.  He was also a member of the Pro Bono Committee, where he actively planned events with various community-based organizations.  

Previous Batts Scholars

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2021 Batts Fellow
Cameron Porter '23

Cameron Porter is one of our 2021 Batts Research Fellows.  She received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from UCLA in 2020. She is originally from the Bay Area, California. She has danced professionally for over 10 years and has always loved the arts. Her research interest lies in the intersection of Intellectual Property Law and race. She is also particularly interested in ways to provide IP resources to creative people of color who often are taken advantage of.

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2021 Batts Fellow
Lamar Smith '23

Lamar is one of our 2021 Batts Research Fellows.  He graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 2010. Prior to enrolling in Fordham Law School, he was a successful online business owner and marketing director for a non-profit focused on providing aid and support to underserved communities. His interests include criminal justice reform and using social enterprises to reduce racial disparities in education, health, and income.