Current Student Profiles


Dulce Cardenas is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law School. Dulce obtained her B.S. in Justice Studies with a minor in Sociology from San Jose State University and an elementary teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University. Before law school, Dulce taught third grade at a dual immersion school in east San Jose. Dulce has had the opportunity to intern with the Offices of the District Attorney, County Counsel, and the Alternate Public Defender in Santa Clara County. Dulce’s goal is to pursue a career in criminal law and seeks to contribute to NCIP’s efforts in advocating for justice reform.


Angela Madrigal is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she attended San Jose State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a concentration in systems physiology and a master’s degree in biological sciences with a concentration in molecular biology. While at San Jose State, Angela did research in a neurogenetics laboratory and volunteered with Global Medical Brigades in Ghana. At Santa Clara Law, Angela has done research for criminal law professors, David Ball and Michelle Oberman; competed in the semi-finals of the 2020 Galloway Moot Court competition; and serves on the board of the Student Bar Association and La Raza Law Student Association. Angela is interested in pursuing a career in criminal law and is excited to work with the NCIP team and advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted.


Sydnie Mitchell is a third-year student at Santa Clara Law School. She grew up in Sacramento, California and attended California State University, Sacramento, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. Sydnie is the former president of the Black Law Student Association and currently an Academic Success Program Fellow. Prior to working for NCIP, she clerked for Judge Dabel in San Mateo County’s Family Law Division. Her interests in law school include family law, juvenile justice, and criminal law.


Antonio Reza is a Bay Area native and 2L at Santa Clara Law. Prior to attending Santa Clara Law, he went to Ohlone College and earned 3 AA degrees. He then transferred to the University of San Francisco majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in both Legal Studies and Sociology; he graduated as their Valedictorian. His interest in criminal law stems back to his own felony conviction from 2012.


Ariel Fields is a third-year law student from Long Beach, California. After serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps NW/AmeriCorps, she began to pursue law. Ariel is passionate about criminal justice reform and human rights. In her first summer at Santa Clara Law, Ariel participated in international criminal law and human rights programs in The Hague and Geneva, attending programming at the International Criminal Court, Permanent Court of Arbitration, International Court of Justice, the United Nations, Kosovo tribunal, and more. Ariel has also been involved in the SCC Public Defender Office’s Criminal Expungement Clinic, the KGACLC Immigration Clinic, and the Intl. Human Rights Clinic. This past summer, Ariel interned at the Dependency Advocacy Center for Family Legal Advocates. She is looking forward to working on exonerations and reform through NCIP.


Carsyn Henry is a 3L at Santa Clara University School of Law. Originally from Lake Tahoe, Carsyn earned her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Arizona. During her time in law school, she has pursued her interests in criminal defense and giving back to underserved communities by participating in Santa Clara’s International Human Rights Clinic and interning at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. She also volunteers for Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) mentoring youth in the juvenile justice system. She is excited to be a part of the NCIP team and help fight against wrongful convictions and promote a more equitable justice system.


Michaela Duarte is a 3L. Prior to law school, she obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law from the University of Arizona as a National Merit Hispanic Scholar. Michaela has interned at private criminal defense firms as well the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s Office. While at Santa Clara, she has participated in the KGACLC Courthouse Clinic and Honors Moot Court Internal. She hopes to one day have a career in criminal defense work. Michaela and her fiancé are the proud owners of two dogs, Loki and Lilly.


Oscar Torres is currently a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to SCU Law, he received a B.S in Criminal Justice from San Jose State University. His studies at SJSU sparked his interest in becoming an advocate in the courtroom. During undergrad, he interned at the San Clara County Family Law Self-Help Center. Between undergrad and law school, Oscar worked at an immigration law non-profit organization and spent the last two summers at the Santa Clara County DA’s. Oscar is committed to public service and a proponent of criminal justice reform. He has also been involved with various organizations on campus and a current member of the Santa Clara trial team. Oscar is a big soccer fan, cheering on FC Barcelona.


Katherine Mirassou is a 3L in the evening program at Santa Clara Law. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, where she spent a semester living in Spain and studying in Spanish. While in law school, Katherine works full-time for the Reproductive Health program at the Packard Foundation and is a VP of Community Service for SCU’s chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. She also served as a legal intern for SIREN Bay Area, a local immigrants’ rights organization, and studied International Human Rights in Costa Rica and Geneva. Katherine is passionate about social justice and human rights, and she is excited to join the NCIP team’s fight for criminal justice.


Alana Wilson is a third-year law student at Santa Clara and a Bay Area native. After studying at Saint Mary’s College of California for undergrad, Alana came to Santa Clara to pursue her passion for criminal defense work. At Santa Clara, Alana serves as an Academic Success Fellow and is on the executive boards for the Journal of International Law and Criminal Law Society. She has interned at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office where she assisted with felony cases and at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center where she worked on capital post-conviction proceedings. Alana is drawn to NCIP’s vision of a criminal justice system that is accurate, fair, and compassionate.


Adriane Bates is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. She is passionate about social justice and has experience providing legal services to self-represented litigants in family law, domestic violence restraining orders, elder abuse restraining orders, guardianship, evictions, and other areas of law. She is excited to continue to provide access to justice with NCIP by fighting against wrongful convictions and assisting in the exoneration of the innocent.


Robert Feldman is a second-year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. He grew up in San Diego County and attended UC Davis, where he studied Women and Gender Studies and Cultural Anthropology. Prior to joining NCIP, he interned at the Homeless Action Center in Alameda County, assisting and representing currently and formerly homeless people with mostly administrative legal issues. Now a student in the NCIP clinic, he is excited to have the opportunity to work to exonerate innocent people.


Mark Ballinger is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Mark grew up in East Los Angeles, California, and attended Loyola Marymount University where he received his B.A. in Philosophy and Sociology. Coming from a low-income background and community, Mark was exposed to complex social issues at an early age. Since then, he has been dedicated to addressing them in his professional and academic development. Mark is excited about the opportunity to be able to join the NCIP team and contribute to their mission of promoting a fair, effective, and compassionate justice system. Prior to joining NCIP, Mark worked at the Alternate Public Defender’s office in Santa Clara as a member of the homicide team and is the current Secretary of La Raza Law Student Association.


Sara Abarca is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. Growing up in the Lodi/Stockton area of California, she was exposed to the discrimination and inequity frequently seen within the criminal justice system. Witnessing this in her community instilled in her a passion for social justice and public service. She went on to attend Chico State, double-majoring in Political Science: Option in Legal Studies and Criminal Justice, while interning for the CSU Chico Community Legal Information Center. In addition to working with NCIP, Sara currently serves as a co-president of the Santa Clara University School of Law Social Justice Coalition, and hopes to someday help bring about criminal justice reform.


Monica Rueda is a part-time third-year law student at Santa Clara Law. She is a first-generation college graduate who attended San Jose State. Monica is a former AmeriCorps Vista volunteer, where she spent two years creating and delivering educational programming for service workers, and since then has worked full time with various agencies that seek to further social justice goals. Monica has participated in expunging clinics where she experienced the great need for the criminal justice system reform. Monica is interested in emerging areas of law that pertain to law enforcement agencies ‘ use of privacy, facial recognition, and predictive analytics and their impact on marginalized communities.


Returning for her second year with NCIP, Katherine Blake is a third-year student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she graduated from the University of San Diego. Katherine then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for several years in Paraguay, South America which inspired her passion for human rights.


Returning for his second year with NCIP, Ardalan ‘Ardy’ Raghian is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the student-run law news publication The Advocate, the founder and president of the Santa Clara University School of Law American Civil Liberties Union Northern California Club, the vice president of the American Constitution Society Chapter, and a board member of the Social Justice Coalition. Ardy loves dogs and has a lab-rottie named Abby.


Returning for his second year with NCIP, Michael Romero, a native of San Diego, California, is an accomplished professional with over ten years of experience in regulatory compliance and investigations within both government and the private sector. As a first-generation college and graduate student from a working-class family, Michael has a strong commitment to public service and helping those with limited access to legal aid. He has a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Yale University.