Della Maggio (she/her) was selected by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to be one of the 2023 awardees of the Dr. Devon T. Wade Mentorship, Service, and Advocacy Award
. This prize is presented annually to a Master’s or doctoral student in any Arts and Sciences discipline who most exemplifies a commitment to community-building and mentoring as demonstrated by the late Dr. Devon T. Wade.
Anna Miller, Graduate Program Manager at ISHR, describes Della as someone who “does not simply study human rights, [but] lives out human rights activism and advocacy.” Anna adds that she is “the definition of someone who ‘walks the walk.’”
Della is a recent graduate of the Human Rights Studies Master of Arts program affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR). She currently works in research and developmental evaluation for two social justice campaigns related to carceral justice, Don’t Call the Police and Unlock the Box. At Columbia, she tailored her studies to topics like immigration, queerness, access to health, abolition, and sovereign violence. Her thesis examined the experiences of gender-variant individuals throughout relief-seeking legal processes and immigration detention in the US. She also worked as an ISHR Program Assistant, through which she helped design an alumni engagement initiative and connected with prospective and incoming students. Additionally, she volunteered with Project Rousseau as an Immigration Justice Fellow, working to secure legal representation, medical services, social assistance, and educational opportunities for teens living without status in New York City. Currently, she is pursuing a full-time job in the nonprofit sector, studying for the LSAT, and saving up for law school. She hopes to one day work as an immigration lawyer, working with queer migrants in the US South. She also hopes to one day open a justice coalition in the South with her closest friends, which would operate as a 3-in-1 advocacy space for individuals to seek accessible legal counsel, medical care, and housing assistance. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, adventuring around the city with friends, and spending time with her cat, Juniper.