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Dena Shayne '03




Great Neck

What year did you graduate YHT?


What have you been up to since YHT?

After YHT, I went to Central for high school, Midreshet HaRova for gap year, Stern College, and Georgetown Law. After law school, I spent a year as a fellow at the International Law & Policy Group. While there, I helped build a public defender office in Kenya, and did related legal work in South Sudan and Yemen.

I’m currently an Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corp Fellow at the Amara Legal Center. We give legal representation to survivors of human trafficking. My current focus is on survivors who are United States citizens. There’s a tendency to think of human trafficking as an overseas issue but it’s actually a big problem in the United States, particularly for minority women. I help survivors with civil legal issues that can arise when they try to escape their traffickers.  For example, in some instances, survivors have kids and are married to their trafficker, so I might help with child custody and related issues.

Did you have any favorite teachers at YHT?

I loved my 5th grade chumash teacher, Esther Katz. She made me love chumash. I also loved my 7th and 8th grade history teacher, Mrs. Siegel. She would have a Jeopardy game before every test and it was super fun. Winners got extra points on the test.

I also learned to love sports at YHT. I was on the girls basketball team, which led to me playing sports in high school and college. I was captain of volleyball and soccer at Central and captain of Stern’s volleyball team. I was also president of the Student Council at Stern and maybe I owe that to YHT because they let me be loud.

[Ed. Note: Here are some things Dena neglected to mention about herself.]

Dena completed an Olympic Triathlon last year in Miami. She did a summer internship during law school at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. According to Dena’s mother, former YHT president Yael Shayne, “Dena's bent is toward those who either can't or are unable to do for themselves. It is important for her to have a fair playing field and I think she thinks that she can help that happen through her work.”