Robin Phillips, The Advocates’ executive director and an attorney, has written about human rights, including trafficking in women, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. She has also led delegations to Ghana and Liberia as part of The Advocates’ work with Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and she has conducted fact-finding missions to document human rights violations in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Nepal, and Mexico.
Executive Administrative Assistant: Shannon McKeever 612-746-4680
Michele Garnett McKenzie
Deputy Director, Director of Advocacy
Michele Garnett McKenzie serves on the senior leadership team at The Advocates for Human Rights. She also leads the organization's research, education, and advocacy team and is responsible for advocacy on The Advocates' domestic priority issues including migration and human trafficking.
Deputy Director, Director of International Justice Program
Attorney Jennifer Prestholdt directs organizational operations at The Advocates and supervises the development and administration of The Advocates’ International Justice Program. She also practiced asylum law for The Advocates as the director of its Refugee and Immigrant Program. Before teaming with The Advocates, Jennifer worked on refugee and asylum issues for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Staff Attorney, International Justice
Amy Bergquist coordinates advocacy at the UN and with regional human rights bodies. Focus areas include LGBTI rights, discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity, rights of minorities and non-citizens, and the death penalty. She collaborates with diaspora communities seeking to be more effective advocates for human rights in their countries of origin. She coordinates pro bono legal assistance to support non-governmental organizations based in Africa working on human rights and rule of law issues.
Director of Refugee & Immigrant Program
Sarah Brenes has experience working with nonprofit organizations and private immigration firms serving immigrant clients, including the Migrant Unit of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in North Dakota and Minnesota, and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota through a clerkship sponsored by the Minnesota Justice Foundation. She also clerked at Centro Legal, Inc. as an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Program Fellow.
Stefani Conyers is the Administrative Director at The Advocates for Human Rights. Prior to this position, Stefani served in a variety of operations and organizational management roles, including most recently as the Finance Office & Payroll Manager at the University of Minnesota Law School. She has experience in for-profit, non-profit, educational and small business arenas giving her a well-rounded capacity for seeing the big picture while focusing on the details to get the job done. As a volunteer in a variety of organizations, including a crisis phone counselor to serving meals to tutoring, she has learned the value of making connections in the community to help support their missions. She holds a BA degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and is finishing up her M.Ed. in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota.
Staff Attorney, Women’s Human Rights Program
Theresa Dykoschak has extensive experience in the implementation of domestic violence laws, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and specializes in the international and regional legal frameworks on violence against women. She regularly reports on and advocates to UN human rights mechanisms; co-authors reports on violence against women; conducts fact-finding missions; provides commentary on domestic violence laws; and develops curricula and trains professionals on best practices and responses to domestic violence. Learn more.
Staff Attorney, Refugee & Immigrant Program
Alison is a Staff Attorney for The Advocates for Human Rights' Refugee & Immigrant Program. In that capacity, she mentors and supports pro bono attorneys handling asylum cases before the asylum office and the Immigration Court, as well as other humanitarian immigration matters. Alison also handles a caseload of asylum cases and other matters for The Advocates. Before joining The Advocates, she represented unaccompanied minors at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), where she represented unaccompanied children seeking asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visas, and other forms of humanitarian relief from deportation. Prior to her work with KIND, she represented asylum seekers with complex claims during law school at the University of St. Thomas Legal Clinic.
Rosie La Puma
Program Assistant, Refugee and Immigrant Program
Rosie La Puma is working as the Refugee and Immigrant Program Assistant for The Advocates through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She works directly with potential clients throughout the intake process and helps to manage the program's interns. Originally from Southern California, she graduated this spring from Stanford University with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Creative Writing. As an undergrad, she was involved in myriad organizations from spearheading social justice events through Catholic Relief Service's Campus Ambassador program to serving as a pro-bono consultant for non-profits through Development Solutions Organization. She is interested in advocacy, storytelling and creating a more well-designed world.
Legal Fellow, Refugee and Immigrant Program
Gaowen Li is the Robina Fellow working in the Refugee & Immigrant Program at The Advocates for Human Rights. She focuses on coordinating and providing support to pro bono attorneys who volunteer with The Advocates’ volunteering projects as well as directly representing detainees. Gaowen recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School. Before joining The Advocates, she was a project assistant with a trade fair company, a legal intern at Wells Fargo, a translation and interpretation volunteer with the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, a student attorney at the Bankruptcy Clinic, and a legal intern at the Department of Commerce.
Madeline Lohman is a Senior Researcher with The Advocates for Human Rights. She conducts research, community education and outreach, and legislative advocacy on immigrant rights in Minnesota. She also specializes in trainings and technical assistance on human rights advocacy for social justice organizations, as well as international monitoring and reporting, primarily on the death penalty. She recently published a report on labor trafficking and exploitation and is part of The Advocates’ team on combating human trafficking in Minnesota.
Executive Administrative Assistant
Before joining The Advocates, Shannon graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Catherine University. While at St. Kate’s, she embraced the mission of empowering women to lead and influence. In her first year, she co-founded a club that connected students to the religious order that founded the university. She was a member of the Student Senate for three years, and part of the leadership team for two of those years. Shannon served as the student body president her senior year. She focused her term on supporting students and bringing social justice to the forefront of the community. She was awarded the Dean of Students Award for outstanding leadership and the Sister Alberta Huber Award in recognition of valuable contributions to intercultural awareness.
Director, Women's Human Rights Program
Rosalyn Park is the director of The Advocates’ Women’s Human Rights Program, and has participated in fact-finding missions throughout the world. Prior to becoming the director, Park worked as a staff attorney in the program and with special projects. In addition, she represents The Advocates on the World Coalition against the Death Penalty steering committee. She is an instructor at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches global gender violence.
Communications and Outreach Director
Kathy Schoen combines strategic planning and communications to bring a heightened awareness of the important initiatives The Advocates for Human Rights pursues. She has a M.S. in management from Cardinal Stritch University and holds bachelor degrees in marketing and in management from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Prior to joining the Advocates for Human Rights, Kathy held communications and marketing leadership roles in the legal, telecommunications and cooperative industries.
Lexi Steinkraus assists both the development and administrative teams at The Advocates. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and minors in political science, German, and urban studies. Before joining The Advocates, Lexi worked for the United Nations Association of Minnesota and managed development and administrative operations at Freedom for North Korean Refugees Minnesota.
Program Assistant, Research, Education, & Advocacy
Jinath Tasnim served as The Advocates' St. Joseph Worker for 2016-17 before transitioning to her current position. Jinath functions in many roles at The Advocates as the volunteer and intern coordinator, communications specialist, and community partnership builder. A Texas native, she graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in Geography. She has experience with graphic design work and multicultural programming.
Program Assistant, Refugee and Immigrant Program
Nathan Webster is the Refugee and Immigrant Program Assistant at the Advocates for human rights. He manages asylum cases once they have been accepted, and works to meet the needs of our pro-bono attorneys. Additionally, he coordinates the volunteer interpreter panel and helps to supervise the Refugee and Immigrant internship program. Nathan graduated from St. Olaf College in May of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining the Advocates, Nathan interned at Dorsey and Whitney, the University of St. Thomas Legal Services Clinic, the Ramsey County Attorney’s office, and the Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar.