Who We Are

Elise Boddie is the founder and Executive Director of The Inclusion Project. She is an award-winning legal scholar and a full-time law professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark where she teaches constitutional law, civil rights, and state and local government law. Before joining Rutgers she was the Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), where she supervised LDF’s national legal program, its team of attorneys, and core aspects of its operations. Earlier in her career, she litigated cases in the areas of affirmative action, employment, school desegregation, and economic justice and headed LDF’s Education group. She currently sits on the board of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and is a founding trustee of the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse & Inclusive Schools. In February 2020, the Urban League of Essex County awarded her its Whitney M. Young award for her service to low-income communities.  For her full bio, see here https://law.rutgers.edu/directory/view/ecb95.

Jessica Laus (Director of Youth and Community Engagement) holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, and most recently worked in the field of international diplomacy for over five years. While growing up in Detroit, she attended a small Quaker school where the principles of community stewardship and social justice were instilled in her at an early age. A trained circle keeper and advocate of restorative justice, Jessica currently lives in Newark, New Jersey.

Shannon K. Cohall (TIP Fellow) is currently a third year student at Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ. Cohall is an advanced clinical student in the Rutgers Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic. She recently concluded her summer internship at Day Pitney LLP focusing on health law issues. In 2020-2021, Cohall was a research fellow for the Center for Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity and president for the Association of Black Law Students at Rutgers Law School. Cohall is a proud member of the Rutgers Minority Student Program. Currently she is the Northeast Director of Programming and Events for the National Black Law Student Association. Prior to law school, she received her Masters degree in Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis in 2019, where she studied the intersection of urban design, public policy and health equity. Cohall completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University in 2014, with a double major in Public Health and Africana Studies. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and now resides in New Jersey. Cohall plans to merge her passions of public health, the law, and public policy as a health law attorney. When she is not studying or conducting research, you can find her at a brunch spot in Newark or Brooklyn!

Jalen D. Porter (TIP Fellow) is currently a third year student at Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ. Porter is a clinical student in the Rutgers Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic and is a Sullivan Defender Fellow for the Rutgers Center on Criminal Justice, Youth Rights, and Race. He recently concluded his summer internship as an Ella Baker intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights, focusing on prisoner rights and discriminatory policing. Prior to law school, Porter completed his undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, with a double major in Political Science and Justice Studies. He was born and raised in Detroit, MI and now resides in New Jersey. Upon graduating from law school, Porter plans to further his commitment to public service and advocacy by pursuing a career in public defense.

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