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BLSA Executive Board 2016-2017


Ebonei Simpkins is an Augusta, Georgia native and an alumna of Spelman College. Upon graduating in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science, Ebonei entered University of North Carolina School of Law. While at Spelman, Ebonei interned with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and served as legislative aid for Representative Gloria Frazier of District 126 for four years. Ebonei also spent time as a summer associate in the Trials Division of the Office of the Fulton County District Attorney. In her free time, she served as a peer educator for PEPers, Peer Education Programmers, an organization committed to destigmatizing mental illness in the African American community. While at UNC Law, Ebonei has served as the 1L Representative for BLSA and a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. During her 1L summer, Ebonei served as Public Policy and Privacy Intern at Facebook DC. Ebonei's interests include the intersection of race, gender, and politics as well as public policy, civil rights, and technology. In her free time she enjoys pottery and mental health advocacy and awareness. As President of the Black Law Students Association, Ebonei hopes to increase BLSA's presence within the law school, the University of North Carolina, and the Chapel Hill community. Ebonei Simpkins

Vice President


Travonte Warren is from Ahoskie, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he double majored in Political Science and Public Policy and graduated in 2015. He then matriculated to UNC Law where, as a 1L, he: was an active member of the Black Law Students Association, served as Counsel on the Attorney General's Staff for the Graduate and Professional Honor System, and was a member of the Student Bar Association's Diversity and Multicultural Committee. Travonte is interested in transactional work, including financial services, mergers and acquisitions, and financial restructuring.
Travonte Warren


Dewey Bennett grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina where he attended Wakefield High school and was captain of the swim team. Prior to law school, Dewey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, cum laude, with a B.A. in History and Political Science. While at UNCW, he served as the academic chairman and recording secretary for Delta Kappa Epsilon’s Chi Beta chapter. In law school, Dewey is also a tour guide for the Carolina Law Ambassadors and a staff member on the North Carolina Law Review. He also maintains a strong commitment to pro bono work, including participation in citizenship/naturalization, landlord-tenant, and Fourth Amendment projects. After graduation, he plans to move to New York City to pursue a career in government enforcement and securities litigation work.

Dewey Bennett


Chelsea Merritt is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a double Tar Heel and graduated with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Native American Studies in 2012. Prior to starting law school in 2015, Chelsea lived and worked in Singapore from June 2012- January 2015 as a college admissions consultant. In this role she helped students living in southeast Asia apply to universities in the United States. After her first year of law school, Chelsea participated in the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship Program in which she spent half of her 1L summer at the law firm K & L Gates, and the other half with the legal department of Duke Energy. For her 2L summer, Chelsea is looking forward to returning to K&L Gates and also spending time with Troutman Sanders in Atlanta.
Chelsea Merritt

Pro Bono Co-Chairs

Emon Northe, a Fayetteville, North Carolina native, attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 2013 with a degree in English. After completing her studies, she took a year off and worked for Brinks Incorporated. Emon’s passion for law derived from her run-in with the criminal justice system at the young age of six months when her father fell victim to a heinous crime and his assailants only received five year sentences. Emon is a second-year law student at the University of North Carolina. She hopes to not only serve people as a lawyer, but to also change the way the criminal justice system is shaped so that young children do not grow up in the same circumstances that she did. In her free time, Emon likes watching random series on Netflix, trying out different recipes, and attending different events in the surrounding cities.
Emon Northe
Monica Burks is from Buffalo, New York. She received her Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and is currently attending University of North Carolina School of Law. While there, she has been an Innocence Project volunteer, Expunction Project volunteer, and a Kilpatrick Mock Trial competitor. She is spent her 1L summer at Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson and TIAA-CREF. Monica chose to go to law school in order to have a challenging career and to do work that has a positive impact on the community and society.During her first year of law school, her biggest challenge was getting her head around the Erie Doctrine during civil procedure. Her biggest rewards thus far are the professional relationships she has built with her professors and peers. She wanted to participate in the CLDC program because she loves North Carolina and the Charlotte area, and she’s excited to become a part of the legal community. In her second year of law school, Monica is looking forward to being more involved with the pro bono program and taking classes targeted toward her practice area of interest.
Monica Burks

Fundraising Chair

Bernard Nortey Botchway, from Accra, attended Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire and graduated in 2015 with a degree in Political Science and History and minors in Legal Studies and Psychology. After completing his studies, he spent his time before law school working as a fiscal policy intern. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Bernard spends time coaching grade school football (soccer) and mentoring high school scholars. Bernard is a second-year law student at the University of North Carolina. He hopes to work in economic international development and finance law. In his free time, Bernard likes playing football and watching historical movies, and supporting Arsenal FC.
Bernard Botchway
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106
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