Our Team

PROF. MARCI HAMILTON, CEO AND ACADEMIC DIRECTOR

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MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice,  and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children(Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations. She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts. Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.

Hamilton has been a vocal and influential critic of extreme religious liberty, advocating for the vulnerable about overreaching.  Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores(1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki(7thCir. 2015).  She has represented numerous cities dealing with church-state issues as well as claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA). The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty(Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.  

Hamilton has been honored with the 2018 Pennsylvania State University Department of Philosophy Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2017 University of Pennsylvania Law School Louis H. Pollak Public Service Award, the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child abuse and neglect, statute of limitations, constitutional, RFRA, RLUIPA, and First Amendment issues.

Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of PennsylvaniaLaw Review. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif. 


Sarah Williams, Executive Assistant to CEO

Sarah Williams joins CHILD USA with an extensive background in administration and office management. At CHILD USA, Sarah oversees the daily business administration of the organization including, planning the annual awards celebration, contact with the media, social media accounts, as well as many others.

Sarah received her B.S., double majoring in Psychology and Education from West Chester University, where she became Mental Health First Aid Certified and was on Dean’s List. Sarah’s personal experiences have made her extremely passionate about children’s rights and drew her to CHILD USA so she can dedicate herself to protecting children from having similar experiences.


Jillian Ruck, Executive Assistant to the CEO, Grants & Initiatives

Jillian Ruck joins CHILD USA as a former high school teacher, having taught across the country including in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, and Washington DC. Subjects she taught included: Government, AP World History, World Cultures, and US History. Her experience teaching high school is what inspired her to join CHILD USA where she oversees many grants and initiatives, including the Game Over Commission, Family Court Reform, and others.

Jillian received her B.A., double majoring in History and Secondary Education from Villanova University, where she received a Senior Leadership Award. Jillian is passionate about social justice for children and is committed to the mission of CHILD USA in preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the country.


Alice Nasar Hanan Esq., Part-time Staff Attorney

Alice Nasar Hanan joined CHILD USA in February 2019. She is a part-time staff attorney and contributes to the legal research, analysis and development of our Statute of Limitations Reform Initiative. She is a former student of Marci Hamilton from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. At Cardozo, she was the recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship, worked as an editor of the Cardozo Law Review, was a legal writing teacher’s assistant and graduated with honors. She received her B.A. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. Alice began her legal career in New York City at Kasowtiz, Benson, Torres, and Friedman LLP, as a litigation attorney with a focus on complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. Next, she moved to New Jersey with her family and joined a local litigation firm. Alice brings to CHILD USA both her legal expertise and passion for respecting the humanity and legal rights of all children. 


CHILD USA FELLOW CLASS 2019

LEGAL FELLOWS:

Alice Bohn, Esq.

Alice Bohn joins CHILD USA as a Legal Fellow. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law, where she later worked as the Director of Insurance & Risk, overseeing initiatives to prevent child sexual abuse. As a student, Alice served as the Symposium Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review; she was also a member of the Moot Court team and the International Commercial Arbitration Moot team.

Before law school, Alice worked with International Justice Mission on a national campaign to end bonded labor in India. She graduated from Gordon College with a B.A. in Sociology, having focused her studies on Human Trafficking and Cultural Conflict. Her interest in CHILD USA’s work grows from a conviction that the rule of law must function for every member of society, including our children.

Sabine Glocker, Esq.

Sabine Glocker joins CHILD USA in their first class of Legal Fellows. Native to Washington State, prior to attending law school, she received a B.A. from University of Puget Sound, with a major in psychology. While in college, Sabine completed a year-long internship in forensic psychology where she worked on court-ordered competency to stand trial and insanity plea evaluations, as well as dependency and custody evaluations. After graduation, she worked at an inpatient mental health facility for adolescents court-mandated into treatment. Sabine then attended and earned her J.D. from Drexel University Kline School of Law where she completed their Accelerated-JD program, in which the traditionally three-year long program is condensed into only two-years. While in this program, Sabine received the Eve Biskind Klothen Student Public Interest Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, interned under Judge Roxanne Covington, and interned with Juvenile Law Center.

Her personal experiences have made her passionate about children’s issues and preventing future youth from experiencing similar hardships. Further, her professional and academic experiences resulted in her interest in the ways in which psychology and law interact. She intends to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, in an effort to further bring psychology into law and use forensic psychology to provide better outcomes for court-involved youth. Always passionate, she seeks to use her diverse background to help create positive change for youth.

POSTGRADUATE FELLOWS:

Shayna Chernak:

Shayna Chernak joins CHILD USA as a recent graduate from Boston University. She previously interned for CHILD USA and has extensive background with social media, public relations, and media logistics. Shayna received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and a minor in political science in 2019. Her personal and professional experiences have made her passionate about children’s rights. She plans to become a child advocacy lawyer in the future.

Simone Unwalla:

Simone joined CHILD USA as a Fox Leadership Fellow during her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania and now works as a Postgraduate Fellow. From her experiences as an elite youth athlete and a member of a Division I varsity sports team during college, she is deeply passionate about the issue of abuse in athletics and CHILD USA and the Game Over Commission’s work to protect vulnerable children.

Simone received her B.A. in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where she served as the representative of student-athletes on the University Council. During college, she interned at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and at the United States Supreme Court. She plans to attend law school and pursue a legal career defending human rights with a focus on women’s and girls’ issues.