Meet the 2020 Human Rights Certificate Graduates


The Human Rights Certificate offers students an in-depth and rigorous interdisciplinary study of human rights history, theory and practice, cultivating life-long learners and engaged citizens who have a deep and nuanced understanding of human rights.  Read more about their experiences in the program below. Students interested in learning more about the Human Rights Certificate and should contact Certificate Administrator Emily Stewart at

This year’s featured graduates include: Camille Ampey, Semhal Araya, Donovan Bendana, Madeleine Cochrane, Tyler Kopp, Isabel Shepard


Camille Ampey

Public Policy Major, Education Minor, ‘20

“In the certificate because I have been able to have a variety of experiences that are grounded by the certificate coursework. My experiences such as DukeEngage, tutoring Durham middle school students, writing OpEds, and completing art projects have allowed me to combine many skills and competencies under the guiding framework of human rights.” Read the rest of Camille’s interview.



Semhal Araya

Political Science Major, Computer Science Minor, ‘20

“With this certificate, I studied abroad in South Africa and was able to witness what I was learning in real life. I heard firsthand stories and was able to meet/explore different communities and regions to better understand the issues. I was also able to see how my peers and I fit into things as American scholars and our impact being there.” Read the rest of Semhal’s interview.



Donovan Bendana

Political Science and International Comparative Studies Major, ‘20

I love the very strong sense of community the certificate professors and students have...Human rights is always something to be discussed and acknowledged in almost any line of work someone may pursue. Its reach is limitless.Read the rest of Donovan’s interview.




Madeleine Cochrane

Public Policy Major, ‘20

After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in immigration law. My coursework has well equipped me with the broad international and national context surrounding immigrant and refugee rights that is extremely beneficial to be well-versed in this field. Additionally, the writing skills I have gained have better prepared me for the argumentative and research-oriented work that is required in the field of law.Read the rest of Madeleine’s interview.


Tyler Kopp

Public Policy and Spanish Major, ‘20

[The certificate] has completely shaped how I think about human rights. One thing that bothers me about a lot of human rights-focused spaces is that they can be very caught up in the theoretical and can have elitist and misconstrued conceptions of human rights realities today around the world. I’ve been able to build on opportunities through the certificate that has allowed me to put the more theoretical ideas of rights into practice in my work with various rights-based organizations and my work as a student on campus.Read the rest of Tyler’s interview.

Isabel Shepard

Cultural Anthropology Major, ‘20

Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “banality of evil” has always stuck with me. In Robin Kirk’s Introduction to Human Rights course, we dialogued Arendt’s piece “Eichmann in Jerusalem” with Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, and it’s one of those concepts that pop up everywhere and especially lends itself to understanding popular culpability in relation to the tragedies facing people in the US and abroad caused by trump and his administration.Read the rest of Isabel’s interview.