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TFAS Welcomes Law Fellows for Study of Originalism and Professional Development


TFAS is pleased to announce our 2019 TFAS Summer Law Fellows. Selected from a competitive field of applicants, the sixteen law students all hail from top 100 law schools across the nation, and will spend nine weeks studying issues of constitutional interpretation, limited government and free enterprise through the immersive TFAS academic and professional experience.

TFAS Law Fellows enjoy panoramic views of D.C. from the U.S. Capitol. TFAS alumni working on The Hill led the Fellows on a private tour of the Capitol.

Since 2007, TFAS has offered legal studies programming with a constitutionally-focused curriculum to law students. This summer, for the first time, the program is providing full scholarships to accepted students, covering tuition, housing and program expenses. Funded in part by the generous support of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the renamed TFAS Summer Law Fellowship includes a course on Constitutional Originalism through the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, legal internships, site briefings at key legal institutions and courts, a guest lecture series and career development sessions.

Before diving into their studies and legal internships, the Fellows began their TFAS Journey last Friday, May 24, with an orientation and a TFAS alumni-led panel discussion on how to make the most out of the program and TFAS network.

My whole path changed when I came to D.C. for a summer with TFAS. That’s what you can look forward to if you put in the work and seek out the opportunities afforded to you by this program.” – Frank Garrison, Law ’14

Frank Garrison, Law ’14, a staff attorney for National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, shared how his TFAS experience and course on originalism helped him discover a passion for constitutional litigation. “My whole path changed when I came to D.C. for a summer with TFAS,” said Garrison. “That’s what you can look forward to if you put in the work and seek out the opportunities afforded to you by this program.”

The Law Fellows enjoy the acoustic magic of the “whisper spot” in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Though TFAS, Garrison was able to meet TFAS Board of Visitors member Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute who helped him land a Cato internship and legal associate position. Garrison said this connection to the TFAS network helped him “jump forward” in his career and provided an opportunity to write for the Supreme Court right out of law school.

Jessica DaSilva ’08, PPF ’16, of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers and Christina Pesavento, Law ’13, of R Street also welcomed the new Fellows and joined Garrison’s message, encouraging the fellows to take full advantage of the lessons, resources and network that the program provides.

The Fellows ended their first day with TFAS with a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court and a private tour of the U.S. Capitol. TFAS alumni Kevin Sun ’16 of the House Republican Conference and Daniel Butherus ’16 of Congressman Ken Buck’s office led the tour. Please see below to learn about our 2019 class of TFAS Law Fellows.

Meet The 2019 TFAS Law Fellows

Jacob Altik

University of Michigan Law School
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Internship: New Civil Liberties Alliance

Altik just completed his first year of law school. He previously was in a doctoral program in political science at the University of New Mexico and will defend his dissertation in 2020. While an undergraduate student at the George Washington University, he studied economics and international affairs for his bachelor’s degrees and studied abroad at Sophia University for a year in Tokyo, Japan. He is on the mock trial team at the University of Michigan.

Mackenzie Bettle

Seton Hall University School of Law
Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California
Internship: Political.Law

Bettle graduated from Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in business law, summa cum laude, and just finished his first year of law school. He has interests in business, politics, finance, economics, law, football, rugby and his two Havanese dogs, Jack and Kobe.

Alex Clark

Brigham Young University, J Reuben Clark Law School
Hometown: Provo, Utah

Internship: National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

Clark is entering his third year of legal studies at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. He has a passion for administrative and constitutional law issues and is serving as the director of communications for The Federalist Society BYU student chapter. Clark’s legal experience includes working as an extern for Judge Evelyn Furse of the United States District Court for the District of Utah, as well as spending time as a research assistant for Justice Thomas Rex Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. Clark is a sports junkie and a die-hard fan of BYU football – his father is the current tight ends coach for the Cougars – the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Utah Jazz and the Denver Broncos.

Trentan Cunningham

University of San Diego School of Law
Hometown: Amherst, New York
Internship: Fay Law Group

Cunningham just completed his second year of law school. Prior to attending USD, Cunningham received his Bachelor of Science in physiology and neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. In between his academic experiences, Cunningham tried his hand at teaching 8th grade English as well as working as an LSAT instructor. While at USD, Cunningham traveled to Paris and London for the summer program where he first realized his love for cross-cultural business dealings. His belief in the power of free speech and the free market of ideas drove him to the Federalist Society where he serves as the chapter’s vice­ president. He also assists Professor Mark Lee with research for the treatise “Organizing Corporate and Other Business Enterprises.” In his spare time, he enjoys working out and doing jiu-jitsu.

Robert Devling

Washington University School of Law
Hometown: Olean, New York
Internship: Housing Partnership Equity Trust

Devling was born and raised in the small town of Olean, New York. In 2013, he enrolled at New York University as a first-generation student studying politics. During his time at NYU, Devling obtained many government internships to explore his interest and gain professional experience. Notably, Devling interned at the U.S. Departments of Justice and State, his home-state Senator Chuck Schumer, and the Supreme Court of the United States. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2017, Devling supported a Department of Defense program that trained foreign governments on the counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In 2018, Devling matriculated at Washington University School of Law, where he has since finished his first year. Besides his academic and professional experiences, Devling enjoys photography and travel. In the summer of 2018, he combined both of these hobbies while backpacking through Europe.

Glynis Gilio

Michigan State University College of Law
Hometown: Batavia, Illinois
Internship: Statecraft PLLC

Gilio completed her first year of law school at Michigan State University College of Law where she is a member of The Federalist Society, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International and is the social committee chairman of MSU Law’s Student Bar Association and a lead actress in the MSU Law Musical Theatre Revue. She attended Hillsdale College and majored in history and theatre and was a member of Alpha Psi Omega, Phi Alpha Theta and The Federalist Society. Gilio is an alumna member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Women’s Fraternity. Driven by her passion for international law, she worked as a staff member in the Office of Rt. Honorable Ben Wallace MP, minister for security in the British House of Commons in London. Gilio also has ten years’ experience as a professional actress in Chicago and Los Angeles. She is currently employed part-time as a party princess for Princesscapades which provides princesses for recreational and charity events. Gilio loves to travel, paint, watch movies and hang out with her dog, Blossom.

Alexandra lliievski

Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Internship: Caterpillar Inc

Iliievski just completed her first year of law school. She is active in the Business Law Society and Women’s Law Society at her law school. She studied abroad two years ago in Madrid, Spain to study Spanish. Iliievski enjoys traveling, playing volleyball and watching crime documentaries.

Peter Mattar

Syracuse University College of Law
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
Internship: Tiber Hudson

Before going to law school, Mattar was an undergraduate student at Binghamton University. He was very involved on campus where he was active in student government and campus organizations. Mattar also pursued his passion for finance at Binghamton by participating in case competitions and interning at a boutique financial management firm. Now that Mattar is in law school, he has kept himself busy with studying, an oral advocacy competition and The Federalist Society. When Mattar is not at the law school, he is debating politics with his friends or visiting friends in New York City.

Slade Mendenhall

George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
Internship: U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Mendenhall is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at George Mason University and a rising second-year law student. Outside of his studies, he most recently worked on the economic advisory team to Ben Carson for President. Prior to that, he worked for the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, where he contributed to quantitative political risk research, and the Georgia State Senate, where he served as a speechwriter and aide to the president pro tempore. His economic research explores issues in public choice, constitutional economics, and money and banking. At the end of the summer, he looks forward to traveling to Italy to participate in a seminar in Padua, Italy with Justice Neil Gorsuch hosted by GMU’s National Security Institute.

Mark Metrey

University of Maryland School of Law
Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia
Internship: Hudson Cook LLP

Born in The Netherlands to an American father and Dutch mother, Metrey has grown up with multicultural exposure. He has had the fortune of visiting 25 countries and 35 states. Metrey attended Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, Army ROTC, Lambda Chi Alpha and many other organizations and honor societies. Upon graduating with a double major in political science and history, and double minor in economics and leadership studies, Metrey commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. In Fall 2018, Metrey began his studies as a law student in Baltimore. He is a member of Phi Alpha Delta, as well as the Business Law Society. He is also pursuing the Business Law Track Certificate. Mark was recently promoted to first lieutenant and is the officer in charge for both lodging in kind and inactive duty training for his reserve unit. Metrey enjoys visiting museums, national landmarks and battlefields. He is an avid supporter of Virginia Tech sports, which he claims contributes at times more to his stress than law school.

Chelsea Padgett

University of Florida Levin College of Law
Hometown: Ormond Beach, Florida
Internship: Republican Governors Association

Padgett just completed her second year of law school. Remaining very active on campus, she is a senior research editor for the Florida Law Review and the president of the Republican Law Students Association. Last summer, she interned with the State Attorney’s Office in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Most recently, she completed an externship at Congressman Ted Yoho’s district office in Gainesville, Florida.

Brian Peters

Florida International University College of Law
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Internship: Freedom Forum Institute, First Amendment Center

Peters just completed his first year of law school. His favorite class this past year was Constitutional Law for which he received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Last year, Peters graduated with a dual degree in history and Spanish with a minor in art history. While studying for his undergraduate degree, Peters studied abroad for a semester in Granada, Spain. There, he met a local Spanish law student and became familiar with the importance of international law and the significance of American law. He is the oldest of five children and loves to garden with his six-year-old sister. Peters will be the first attorney in his family.

Tyler Pewitt

Seton Hall University School of Law
Hometown: Hillsborough, New Jersey
Internship: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Pewitt just completed his first year at Seton Hall Law School. While attending undergraduate school, Pewitt served as an intern for Congressman Glenn Thompson of the fifth district of Pennsylvania. Thereafter, Pewitt worked overseas in the United Kingdom Parliament in the House of Commons, where he served under Conservative Representative Paul Maynard of Blackpool North and Cleveleys. Pewitt had the opportunity to work in the House of Commons during the 2016 Brexit vote. Most recently, Pewitt served as data director for the New Jersey Republican Party. He oversaw the state party’s data­ driven campaigns and played a key role in electing conservatives throughout the state. Above all else, Pewitt is a staunch believer in the power of individualism. Pewitt believes that each person, no matter their faith, race or culture, has a unique role to play in bettering our country. It is Pewitt’s belief that when our society begins to recognize the power and potential of the individual, our country will become more unified than ever.

Oliver Roberts

Harvard Law School
Hometown: Massapequa, New York
Internship: House Judiciary Committee

Roberts is a rising second year law student at Harvard Law School. Throughout his undergraduate career, Roberts supplemented his political science degree with a wide array of government internship experiences. In the spring of 2018, Roberts worked on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where he contributed to hearing proposals and congressional delegation preparations for the Subcommittee on National Security. During the fall of 2017, Roberts worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania while simultaneously volunteering at an international health NGO to conduct a health study on Tanzanian hospital conditions. Roberts has also interned in multiple congressional district offices, a state senate office, and for HSBC international bank. Along with his government experience, Roberts founded and operated his own boat detailing business in Long Island, New York, for three years.

Sarah Smerling

George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Internship: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Smerling is a rising third-year law student. She is president of her Federalist Society Chapter, the senior articles editor for the Journal of International Commercial Law and competes on the Jessup Moot Court and Trial Advocacy Teams. Her work has been published in the Journal of International Commercial Law. Smerling interned for the Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section for two semesters and most recently interned for the House Judiciary Committee (Republican Staff) for the immigration subcommittee. Smerling is looking forward to spending her summer working in regulatory reform for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Christian Townsend

Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana
Internship: Cato

Born in Chicago, Townsend grew up all over the Midwest, attending college at Cedarville University where he double majored in history and political science. Fulfilling his desire to explore beyond the Midwest, he interned in Washington D.C., for The Heritage Foundation. He also joined his school’s model UN team where his team won Outstanding Delegation at the New York City competition. For his first summer in law school, he went beyond the United States interning at a multi-national law firm in Cambodia. At IU, he is the executive online editor of Indiana Law Journal, the schools leading law journal. He is also the president of the Maurer’s Federalist Society and was a quarterfinalist in the Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition.


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