In their own words: Spring 2021 ASU Law graduates discuss their time in the IRLS program and Washington, D.C.

Isabella Barbosa Ruggeri: My experiences participating in the D.C. program and the IRLS program have been unforgettable. I travelled across the world to spend my 1L summer interning for the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Timor-Leste, where I had the opportunity to make an impact on the legislation of an entire country. There, I wrote a report that JSMP used to defeat a national criminal defamation bill. I spent my 2L summer working remotely with the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), a pan-African feminist NGO in South Africa, where I wrote a report recommending ways to improve the governing structure of South Africa’s National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide, which was provided to government officials leading the plan. The IRLS program facilitated both these incredible internships and provided all the support I needed to participate in them and make the impact that I did. Finally, thanks to a housing scholarship from the D.C. program, I was able to live just a few steps away from the Supreme Court and the Capitol building in D.C. As a law student, it was surreal walking by these buildings everyday on my way to work. 


Kaeden Bauman: As I reflect on my experience at ASU Law, the best decision I made was to spend my 3L year in D.C. I had the extraordinary opportunity to intern at the White House with the Office of White House Counsel and later on Capitol Hill. It was unbelievable going to work in the morning at these places of incredible significance and in the afternoon walking a few blocks to take classes from former U.S. Ambassadors and leading experts in their fields. I could not have asked for a more robust and impactful experience and I’m very grateful to the staff and faculty in D.C. that helped make my experience one that I will never forget.


Stephen Costa: Spending a year in the International Rule of Law and Security program in Washington, D.C. is a rewarding experience for students who are interested in working with respectable professionals dedicated to their fields. From International Election Law to Legislative Advocacy to Building Justice Institutions, among others, students have an opportunity to gain a vivid experience in the issues that shape our world. For example, the IRLS International Crisis Simulation exposes students to the challenges involved in international diplomacy and Legislative Advocacy gives insights into the inner workings of our government. Furthermore, the staff is diligent and committed to helping students achieve their goals.


Robert Heins: I decided to attend ASU Law specifically because of the D.C. program and it did not disappoint. While I was in D.C. I was able to intern in the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section of the Department of Justice and take classes from practitioners with a variety of government experience. As an IRLS Fellow, I also had the opportunity to meet with a variety of experts including Professor Fromholz, Ambassador Williamson, congressional staffers, and Department of Homeland Security attorneys to learn more about different career paths. Because of the IRLS program and my time in D.C., I have been able to cement my interest in international law and a career with the federal government. 


Erin Hreha: Being a part of the IRLS program in D.C. was one of my favorite parts of law school. The smaller classes were wonderful and I really enjoyed getting to know professors and students in my classes. I really enjoy international law and the different classes available only through the D.C. program were fascinating and quite fun. I also enjoyed the International Crisis Response Simulation – it was very interesting to experience a level of diplomacy and problem solving that I was not getting in traditional classes. D.C. itself is wonderful and I love being there! So much culture, wonderful restaurants, and the city just feels alive! I would recommend the D.C. program to anyone who wants to work in D.C., have a great law school experience outside of Arizona, take some fascinating courses from really amazing professors, or anyone who is interesting in international law! The IRLS program in D.C. was phenomenal, I only wish I’d started it sooner!


Bryan Hull: The D.C. program was a much more hands-on experience than my previous years of law school. Having the opportunity to participate in courses simulating a foreign embassy or discussing election issues as they happen around you was truly unique. I would certainly take part in the IRLS program again!


Anna Reagan: My time in the D.C. program was the highlight of my law school experience. The ability to study law and policy from amazing professors while having the opportunity to extern in our nation’s capital is a unique experience. The support, resources, and mentorship from professors helped me get the most out of my time in D.C., and I have made lifelong connections. I cannot imagine my law school experience without the time I spent in this program!


Bryan Shapiro: A major reason I chose ASU LAW was the IRLS program and the ability to study in Washington, D.C. In my year of study in D.C., I was able to work with exciting organizations and take relevant coursework. Additionally, I enjoyed being in D.C. during the 2020 election and all the activities surrounding this particular election. Truly, I felt as if I was able to witness history almost weekly while in D.C. I highly recommend this program to every law student looking to try something new! 


Hualun (Hunter) Shi: I have had the fortune to participate in two IRLS International Crisis Response Simulations, and the experiences have been exceedingly rewarding. Honestly, during my first time participating, I spent half of the two-day-long crisis simulation trying to figure out what was going on and how to understand each party’s role. Despite finishing all the tasks properly, I still think that the reaction time was so short between each crisis round that a due analysis could not be feasible. Only during the second time participating, it started to come to me that for most diplomats in the real world, such emergency situations are common scenarios that they have to learn on-site and figure out a consistent approach of their nation’s values within basically no time to research properly. This understanding might differ among participants, but I believe such a learning experience can also demonstrate how well this crisis simulation is designed.

Share this post