BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ERIN SCHARFF, Board President
Erin is an Associate Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. At ASU, she teaches Federal Income Tax, State and Local Tax, and Torts. She writes about state and local tax law and local government law. Her work has appeared in the Tax Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and the NYU Law Review. Before law school, Erin worked in Washington, D.C. as an advocate and research analyst on housing, health care, and tax policy. In 2007 and 2008, she traveled the country working for Obama for America. She has been a volunteer income tax assistant tax preparer in both D.C. and San Francisco. Erin grew up in Phoenix. Both of her paternal grandparents came here as refugees, as did her maternal grandfather. She thinks all of her grandparents would be proud of her work with PLAN.
SEAN BERENS, Board Treasurer
Sean is a partner at Berens Blonstein PLC, where he focuses on commercial real estate transactions and has been active in pro bono immigration matters. Sean grew up in Arizona and is passionate about creating and contributing to a community of lawyers who look out for the rights of all of their neighbors in the Valley. This includes tapping the skills and energy of transactional attorneys who might not yet know how helpful they can be. Sean went to the University of Southern California for undergrad and received his J.D. from Columbia. He is also a Fellow of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. Sean is (slowly) improving his Spanish and working to cut down on the time he spends hate-reading Twitter.
WHITNEY LARSON, Board Secretary
Whitney is an associate attorney at Curiel & Runion LLC, where she focuses on personal injury and wrongful death. She served as the YLD Liaison for the Immigration Law Section Executive Council and is a second term board member for the Arizona chapter of the American Constitution Society, where she helps organize events and panel discussions focused on issues like voting rights, the MeToo movement, private prisons, etc. She earned a BA in English and Women and Gender Studies from ASU, as well as a JD from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU. Whitney loves animals, especially her dog, Scooter, and enjoys dancing, hiking, and creating new recipes.
Annabel is a proud daughter of immigrant parents who was born and raised in the Phoenix heat. She is the first person in her family to attend college. From a young age Annabel accompanied her parents to pro-immigrant protests and became involved in social justice movements. It was then that she learned the power of community. Annabel earned a BA from Scripps College in Latin American and Chicano Studies and a JD from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Before law school, Annabel taught English in Merida, Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar and worked at the Florence Immigrant Refugee Rights Project as a legal assistant and BIA accredited representative. Annabel spends her free time hiking with her dog and trying new recipes.
Neta works for the University of Pennsylvania's law school as the Director of Public Sector Careers and Government Programs. She began her legal career in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she investigated and litigated housing discrimination cases under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. She received her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law and her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. Neta is motivated by PLAN’s mission because her parents and extended family emigrated from Soviet Russia to Israel in the 1970s and she moved from Israel to the United States as a child. Her family's immigration experiences fuel her strong desire to promote immigrant justice and civil rights, and she is thrilled to be helping PLAN advance its vision for a more just and inclusive Arizona.
SAMBO (BO) DUL
Bo and her family came to the U.S. from Cambodia, following the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide. She grew up in Tempe, went to ASU for undergrad, and has a law degree from NYU and a Master's in Public Affairs from Princeton. She was previously a partner at Perkins Coie where she focused on commercial and civil rights litigation, as well as anti-corruption compliance and investigations, while also maintaining an active pro bono practice advancing immigrant and refugee rights. Bo is a founding board member of PLAN and currently serves as the Arizona State Elections Director at the Office of the Secretary of State of Arizona. Bo hopes to spend a couple years living in Latin America one day so she can finally perfect her Spanish, and in Cambodia so she can learn to read and write in her first language, Khmer. She likes cooking, hiking and (slow) running.
Greg came to Phoenix in 2016 to attend law school at ASU. After graduating in May 2019, he will work as a staff attorney for the Florence Project, where he previously served as the Equality Arizona LGBTQ intern in summer 2018. While this is his first board position, he has been employed as the board liaison for the Committee to Protect Journalists in NYC, and worked closely with the board as the Project Manager of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in DC. After college, Greg was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study the Uyghur language in Central Asia. Greg also speaks Mandarin and Spanish, and enjoys listening to pop music and watching TV dramas to keep up his language skills.
Anita is an Associate Professor of Border Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. Born and raised in Arizona, her teaching and research focus on the literatures and cultures of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and investigate the ways that stories—past, present, and future—shape our ability to cultivate just and inclusive communities within the borderlands. She is an avid though terrible gardener and enjoys spending time outdoors with her growing family and dying plants.
Brenda was born and raised in Tucson and, after spending a few years away from home, is proud to live and work in Arizona. Brenda comes from a long line of Arizona Wildcats and obtained her B.A. in Anthropology and her J.D. from the University of Arizona. Brenda has devoted her entire legal career advocating on behalf of marginalized individuals and communities. She is currently an attorney with the William E. Morris Institute for Justice, where she works on systemic issues affecting low-income Arizonans. Brenda is excited to use her advocacy skills and knowledge to help PLAN enhance its mission. In her spare time, Brenda enjoys reading, practicing yoga, watching bad reality TV, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
LAUREN C. TAVERAS
Lauren is a licensed, bilingual (English and Spanish) clinical psychologist and founder of Coral Valley Psychological Services. The mission of Coral Valley is to address the psychosocial concerns of individuals, couples, and families throughout the Valley, with a special emphasis upon members of Latino/a/x immigrant communities. Prior to founding Coral Valley, Lauren held a staff psychologist position on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team with the Phoenix VA Health Care System, and also taught as an adjunct instructor at undergraduate and graduate levels at Long Island University. Lauren holds a Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University, as well as Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, in Counseling Psychology. In her former career, Lauren worked as a bilingual educator in public and charter school settings in New York City. Lauren is Dominican American, and was raised in a bilingual, bicultural home. Building multicultural competency is an ongoing value at the center of her practice.
Clara S. Acosta is originally from El Paso, Texas. There, she graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, with a B.A. in English and a minor in Legal Reasoning. Clara graduated in May of 2019 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. In law school, Clara received the highest distinction for her pro bono work. Since graduating from law school, Clara has worked at Lubin & Enoch, P.C., representing workers and labor unions through various proceedings. Clara has enjoyed advocating for the rights of workers and labor unions in all phases of litigation. Outside of her legal practice, Clara has also served as a member of the Continuing Legal Education Committee for the State Bar of Arizona’s Employment and Labor Section; a member of the AFL-CIO’s Union Law Association’s Diversity and Racial Justice Committee; and as a public member of the Batson Challenge Jury Selection Work Group.
Nika was born and raised on the East Coast - Philly suburbs and moved to Arizona in 2020. She earned a B.S. in International Business from WCU of Pennsylvania and a Master of Social Work degree from OLLU San Antonio. She has deep experience in non-profit and social services through her work at various organizations including, Chester County OIC, Alianzas de Phoenixville, and most recently, the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. She is proud of her African and Indigenous roots and is committed to honoring and elevating her ancestors and the collective ancestors through her work and service in the community. Nika is also an entrepreneur, business owner and founder of an executive search and talent acquisition consultancy.