New Staff and Faculty Join LSJ as Program Grows

Submitted by Alyssa R Penner on
Stephen Meyers, Alex Lynch, and Marilyn Cope

The recent growth of the Law, Societies, and Justice Program is no more evident than with the recent addition of three new positions.

One faculty member and two new staff recently joined LSJ: Stephen Meyers as Assistant Professor, Alex Lynch as Academic Adviser, and Marilyn Cope as Administrator. Each of them will provide important support as LSJ continues to grow, enabling the program to better serve students, alumni, and the broader community.

Stephen Meyers holds a joint appointment in LSJ and the Jackson School of International Studies. He comes to UW from University of California San Diego, where he earned his PhD in Sociology. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he worked for an international non-governmental organization supporting landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities in Central America and Africa.

Professor Meyers’ research focuses on grassroots associations of persons with disabilities working at the local level and their interactions with international organizations. He’s interested in marginalized groups and people not typically studied globally, including persons with disabilities, older persons in developing countries, and inmates with disabilities.  

Meyers brings an exciting lens to the field of disability studies and its intersections with international development, social movements, and law—an ideal fit for LSJ’s interdisciplinary approach.

“Out of all the jobs I applied for, this position was my top choice,” Meyers said.  “It was the first job I found where global human rights and disability were mentioned in the same paragraph. I come from an interdisciplinary background, so LSJ will allow me to use that approach and communicate with people in other disciplines who care about the same things I do.” 

He’s especially excited to dive into the classroom and meet LSJ students.

“I’ve heard wonderful things about them,” he said, “and I’m interested to find out what their motivations are for studying LSJ.”

Meyers will be teaching a Winter LSJ seminar on Human Rights and International Development and a Spring quarter joint class between LSJ and the Jackson School titled “Comparative Law and Legal Cultures.”

Alex Lynch, who joins Alyssa Penner on the LSJ advising team, is a recent UW graduate who earned her BA in Law, Societies, and Justice, along with an Italian minor. During her time in the program, she studied abroad in Rome, worked at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, and conducted research on long term prison sentences as part of the LSJ honors research team.

Alex’s advising role is a new addition to the program in response to a growing number of majors and students interested in LSJ. Her responsibilities will include advising both prospective and current majors, managing LSJ’s social media and website, and organizing opportunities for alumni to stay connected with the program.

As an LSJ alum, Alex brings a unique perspective to advising and has been able to quickly adapt to her new role.

“I had a very meaningful experience in the LSJ community as a student and I’m very much looking forward to continuing to work with people who are passionate about the same things I am,” Lynch said. “LSJ attracts very driven and thoughtful students, and it’s really inspiring to engage with people who want to make meaningful change.”

Prior to joining the LSJ team, Alex worked as a Peer Adviser in the Undergraduate Academic Affairs advising office where she learned a great deal about what types of support can best enable students to succeed. She’s excited to bring her years of advising experience to a program that’s especially meaningful to her.

“One of the things I like about transitioning from UAA Advising to LSJ Advising is the opportunity to build relationships with students so they have a strong anchor in such a big university system,” she said.  “And I’m especially excited to join LSJ as we move into a unifed space that enables us to more easily collaborate to constantly strengthen the program.”

New LSJ Administrator Marilyn Cope comes to LSJ after working in a similar role at Cal State Monterey Bay and more recently as a legislative analyst for the King County Council. Cope earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the UW and is excited to be back on campus in a staff role, especially with a program that fits her values.

“I was especially interested in LSJ because the program is focused on social justice and that really spoke to my heart,” Marilyn said. “I think it was a combination of the subject matter but also that the students, staff, and faculty really live the mission of the program.  That really excites me.”

Prior to Cope’s appointment, LSJ shared an administrator with the Political Science Department.  But the recent growth in LSJ mandated that it get its own administrator.  In her capacity, Cope primarily focuses on managing LSJ’s budgets and personnel, but she will also work closely with Director Steve Herbert to help with alumni outreach and fundraising. 

Marilyn’s work with both the King County Council and as an Operations Analyst at Cal State Monterey included implementing best practices and policies to maintain efficiency in the day-to-day operations of programs within large organizational settings. This experience will serve her well in LSJ as the program continues to grow.

“I look forward to immersing myself in the program itself and how our day-to-day operations serve students,” she said.  “I attended convocation in the Spring and was truly inspired by the impressive accomplishments of the students, so I’m excited to get to meet everyone.”

For his part, Professor Herbert could not be more pleased with the new hires.

“I think LSJ is blessed to not only be adding new personnel, but to be welcoming three such dedicated and energized people,” he said.  “LSJ will be stronger and more enlivened as a result of their efforts.”

Please drop by the Smith Hall Mezzanine between the second and third floors to welcome Professor Meyers, Alex, and Marilyn!