Team

Meredith Rapkin

Executive Director

Meredith Rapkin joined the Project as Executive Director in November 2022. Meredith is an experienced nonprofit leader who has spent her entire legal career in legal aid, where she has focused on centering and uplifting the voices of her clients. She started her career two decades ago as an Independence Foundation Public Interest legal fellow at HIAS. 

During that fellowship, Meredith, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, provided immigration representation to teenagers and adults who had experienced interpersonal violence. Many of her clients and their families were harmed by the criminal and immigration systems of incarceration. She worked closely with many families struggling with the wide-ranging problems caused by family separation resulting from incarceration and is bringing all of those lessons learned working alongside impacted families and communities to her work at the Project.

Meredith spent the last decade as the Executive Director at Justice at Work Pennsylvania, where she drove the organization's successful efforts to grow substantially and become a leader in providing legal services to low-wage and immigrant workers in Pennsylvania. She is a proud Temple Law alum and has taught in the Farmworker Clinic at Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law.

Nilam Sanghvi

Legal Director


Nilam A. Sanghvi is the Legal Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, where she has worked since 2013. In this role, Nilam oversees all of the legal efforts of the organization, including identifying, investigating, and litigating cases of actual innocence and spearheading the Project’s policy efforts focused on increasing access to the courts for the wrongly convicted and preventing the convictions of innocent people. Before joining the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Nilam was a supervising attorney and clinical teaching fellow in Georgetown University’s Appellate Litigation Program. Nilam previously practiced at law firms in New York, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, including as a partner in the litigation services department at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, where much of her practice focused on appellate work.

In addition to her work at the Project, Nilam teaches appellate advocacy at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. She also serves as the Secretary of the Third Circuit Bar Association, is a member of the Innocence Network’s Board of Directors, and is a co-founder of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation’s Board Observer Program. In 2021, Nilam received the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award. She has also been named a Lawyer on the Fast Track by the Legal Intelligencer and received Schnader’s Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award.

Nilam earned her BA from Columbia University and a JD, with honors, and LLM in Advocacy from the Georgetown University Law Center. She clerked for the Honorable William B. Shubb in the Eastern District of California and for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

 

Yvonne Y. Carter

Intake Coordinator

Yvonne Carter was one of the first to join the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Since 2009, she began her time at the Project coordinating all of the office functions.Yvonne now coordinates intake and oversees volunteers conducting initial reviews of cases. Before joining the Project, Yvonne worked as a Legal Secretary, first for a bankruptcy attorney, and later at the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of the Community College of Philadelphia (AA) in Paralegal Studies.

Blanca Castro

Staff Social Worker


As the Reentry Social Worker, Blanca is primarily responsible for addressing the reentry needs of clients who have been exonerated and are reentering back into their communities. This includes, but is not limited to, helping clients access benefits, connecting clients to mental health support, conducting weekly check-ins with clients, assisting clients to identify goals, and connecting clients to local resources. She also co-facilitates the support group for freed and exonerated people.

Prior to joining the Project, Blanca was a Child Advocate Social Worker providing case management and advocacy services to youth who have open cases in dependency and delinquent court. She also served on a policy project, where she was part of a research team that developed best practices for schools and juvenile justice professionals on how to best serve young people reentering into the community from residential placements. Additionally, she was one of the eight members of her prior agency’s first established Racial Justice and Social Equity Committee where they guided the agency towards anti-racist practices in the child welfare system, both internally and externally.

Blanca received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in Criminology, Law and Society in 2015. She completed her master’s degrees in both Social Work and Social Policy in 2019 from the University of Pennsylvania. While obtaining her master's degrees, Blanca gained diverse volunteer and internship experience at Community Legal Services, Nationalities Services Center, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project, Women Organized Against Rape, and the District Attorney’s Office conducting research and working directly with marginalized populations including victims and survivors of trauma and gender-based violence, parents with court-involved children, youth who have been incarcerated, and immigrants and refugees.

Elizabeth DeLosa

Managing Attorney, Pittsburgh Office

Liz currently runs our Pittsburgh Office. Before joining us, she worked for a small non-profit organization that served at-risk children and families. As Director of Placement Services, she managed 10 direct-care caseworkers and 36 foster families. While working full-time, Liz attended law school in the evenings to earn her J.D. in 2010. Liz is a 2004 University of Pittsburgh (B.A.) and Duquesne University School of Law (J.D.) graduate. After law school, the Allegheny County Office of Conflict Counsel recruited Liz to develop new programs to ensure quality legal representation for court-involved youth.

There, she collaborated with community youth agencies, county government agencies, and court officials in developing a program model and mission. She was responsible for all policies, procedures, staff recruitment, and identifying and obtaining funding for the programs. As a result, the juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency divisions of the Office of Conflict Counsel launched in the spring of 2011. Both programs have received praise and continue to grow and expand. After passing the Pennsylvania bar exam, Liz joined the Office of Conflict Counsel’s adult trial unit where she represented adult criminal clients in cases varying cases. Most recently, Liz gained invaluable federal criminal trial experience through her work as a Research and Writing Attorney and Assistant Federal Defender for the Federal Defender’s Office in the District of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

Sara Nolan

Director of Development

Sara joined the PA Innocence Project as Director of Development in 2022. With the development and communications team, she leads fundraising and resource development efforts in support of the work of the Project. Sara comes to this role with background in higher education and non-profit development. Before joining the Project, she served as an Assistant Director with advancement and extension units at Temple and Rutgers Universities. Sara led a team at Rutgers which designed strategies to help justice-involved and out-of-school youth and their families thrive, and to re-think how we prepare and support professionals working across youth-serving systems. Prior to that work, she held development roles with Mercy Learning Center and Person-to-Person, long-standing non-profit organizations with extensive reach serving vulnerable populations in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Throughout her career, Sara has exercised a passion for social justice and advocacy for people not well served by our traditional systems of education and justice. Sara earned her B.A. in English and Linguistics from Douglass College at Rutgers University.

Alyra Parker

Legal Fellow

Alyra is the Legal Fellow for our Philadelphia Office. She joins us after working as a college and career advisor with the College Advising Corps. There, she worked with low-income, underrepresented students to discover post-secondary plans and opportunities. Prior to, Alyra was an intern at various places including the ACLU of PA and the Public Defender's Office. She is also proud of the time she spent time working as a Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Judge Ehrlich in the Court of Common Pleas. Alyra received her B.A. in Human Rights Studies and Political Science from Gettysburg College. She continued her education by receiving a Juris Doctorate from Delaware Law School. Alyra knew from a young age that she wanted to make a career of helping marginalized groups; and is happy to be doing so at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. 

Jonah Rosenbaum

Justice Fellow

Jonah is the Legal Fellow for our Pittsburgh Office. He attended the University of Michigan for both his undergraduate and law degrees which he graduated cum laude. After attending law school, Jonah spent two years clerking; one year in Washington D.C. clerking for Judge Todd Edelman followed by one year in Los Angeles clerking for Andre Birotte Jr.

Jonah was no stranger to innocence work. Previously, he worked as a student attorney at the Michigan innocence Clinic. From there, Jonah’s interest in innocence and criminal post-conviction work more generally grew. Understanding the connections between wrongful convictions and the structural inequalities that impact all defendants is a true passion of his.

Clay Waterman

Managing Attorney 

Clay serves as the Managing Attorney for Intake & Case Evaluation of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, where he has worked since 2020. In this role, he supervises intake for all case submissions, assesses complex innocence claims, and coordinates investigations into cases where innocence claims cannot be determined from document analysis alone. This work informs Clay's role in litigating cases of actual innocence, including developing legal strategy and preparing for legal proceedings.

Clay also oversees volunteer attorneys and legal interns to train both groups in how to assist in case analysis. In addition, Clay fosters partnerships with law firms, through which he facilitates local pro bono efforts.

Before joining the Project, Clay practiced law in New York, where he specialized in representing multinational corporations in commercial litigation and insurance coverage disputes at two firms, Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady and Goldberg Segalla. 


 

Jamilah Woodards

Communications and Development Associate

Jamilah assists in all Communications and Development efforts at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and had double minors in Business Law and Youth Empowerment Studies. Jamilah's personal interests afforded her many opportunities to spend time volunteering and obtaining leadership roles advocating for marginalized groups. Prior to joining the Project, Jamilah was a policy and public relations intern for a professional development program where she worked closely on public interest and social justice projects.