Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Legal interns help keep up the fight (from home)

Vol. 37 No. 07 September 2020
Sammi Babcock                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

FFRF’s legal interns for summer 2020 are the first to have never worked in Freethought Hall in Madison, Wis. Because of the pandemic, they (and most of the FFRF staff) have been working from home. Here is a look at FFRF’s legal interns.


Name: Sammi Babcock

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Where are you from?: I’m originally from Janesville, Wis., but I’ve been living in the Madison area for three years now.

Law school attending: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Undergraduate school: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Religious upbringing: Lutheran.

Post-graduate plans/dreams: After graduation, I hope to continue working in public interest, and I would love to come back and work for FFRF someday.

What has it been like working for FFRF during the pandemic? It’s been a wonderful time. Even though working remotely presents challenges, I have still enjoyed my time here immensely. It’s been an amazing experience being able to work with the attorneys and help FFRF in its mission to uphold the separation of state and church.

My favorite part of the job: The opportunity to research and write about a wide variety of issues, such as courtroom prayer and COVID-19 outbreaks linked to churches.

My legal interests are: Constitutional law (more specifically First Amendment issues), intellectual property, and victim’s rights.

These three words sum me up: Determined, thoughtful, deadpan.

Things I like: Sushi, Shakespeare, hiking, Dungeons & Dragons, water-color painting, sketching and poetry.

Things I smite: Olives, Evangelicals, misogyny and humidity.

A fun fact about yourself: I love to visit Renaissance Festivals. I dress in costume, drink mead when possible, and watch historical re-enactments and lectures about Historical European Martial Arts.


Name: Kat Grant.

Where are you from?: Washington, Ind., originally, now living in Bloomington, Ind.!

Law school attending: Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Undergraduate school: Indiana University (B.A. in political science).

Religious upbringing: Roman Catholic.

Post-graduate plans/dreams: I decided to pursue a career in law because I’m incredibly passionate about advocating for the rights of marginalized and minority communities, and making the world a more equitable place. As long as the work I’m doing is related to that, I’ll be happy!

What has it been like working for FFRF during the pandemic? It’s definitely been a different experience than anyone was expecting for the summer, but the legal team has been great about making us feel welcome, helping us learn, and communicating with us about different projects!

My favorite part of the job: I’m a big nerd, so I’ve really enjoyed any time I’ve had to do any kind of deep dive looking for details and patterns! Also, just the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping to uphold the principles of state-church separation.

My legal interests are: Constitutional law (specifically First Amendment issues), LGBTQ and disability rights, and the ways that changing cultural attitudes impact the law.

These three words sum me up: Enthusiastic, compassionate,  stubborn.

Things I like: Jazz music, gluten-free baking and Dungeons and Dragons.

Things I smite: Math, Mike Pence, and the fact that the color chartreuse is not pink, but yellow.

A fun fact about yourself: As an undergrad, I was a member of the Indiana University Marching Hundred and Big Red Basketball Band! If you watched an IU football or basketball game between fall 2015 and spring 2019, you just might have seen me playing clarinet!


Name: Ryan Sendelbach.

Where are you from?: Rochester, Minn.

Law school attending: University of Wisconsin Law School.

Undergraduate school: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Religious upbringing: Pentecostal Christian.

Post-graduate plans/dreams: I want to serve in elected office at some point.

What has it been like working for FFRF during the pandemic? I strongly prefer in-person work over online, but FFRF has done everything possible to make the experience a success.

My favorite part of the job: The opportunity to work in such a unique area of law.

My legal interests are: Civil procedure, election law and taxation.

These three words sum me up: Bad at this.

Things I like: Efficiency, exploration and problem solving.

Things I smite: Pessimism, ignorance and closed-mindedness.

A fun fact about yourself: I triple majored in political science, economics and history as an undergrad.