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Student Perspectives

"Working as a student in the Advanced Immigration Clinic provided the opportunity for me to continue developing important legal skills for a career in immigration. After having the opportunity to work directly with clients of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights, I now understand the fundamental role that professionalism, time management, organization, and quality communication with the client plays in being a successful attorney. The Immigration Clinic has served as my second home during law school, and I have been inspired by experiences to pursue a career in immigration law after graduation!"   

Katie Klein '14
Spring 2014


The clinic experience helped me grow to become more professional and to put my expertise into practice. For law school students, I cannot think of any better way to put into practice what I learned in class.”

Dongdong Zhou ’14
Spring 2014 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


I found work at the clinic to be highly enjoyable and enlightening.  The opportunity to work with clients and stakeholders is an experience that everyone should desire to have while a student.  Until I stood in the shoes of a practitioner, it was difficult to obtain the perspective I needed to put the clients’ needs and wants first.  Without a doubt, clinic and externship programs provide the practical real world experience that every student should experience before they graduate.  I would recommend participation in a clinic to anyone considering it.” 

James Gilbert ’14
Spring 2014 — Client: American Immigration Council and American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration


My experience in the clinic was the most practical experience I’ve had in law school so far. I dove deep into a specific substantive issue important for my future career, worked with lead practitioners in the field, and learned a lot about working in collaboration and with supervisors along the way.”

Lauren Hartley ’15
Spring 2014 — Client: American Immigration Council and American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration

 


Working in the clinic was a great experience. It helped me acquire substantive knowledge of immigration law, an area of the law that I am interested in, and develop practical skills. Learning in the clinic is very different from learning in the classroom; the clinic allows students to develop a strong level of professionalism. The clinic gave me the opportunity to do in-depth research on a specific topic in immigration law and to also develop professional skills through communication with our client, a non-profit organization, and several attorneys.”

Djami Diallo ’14
Spring 2014 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

 


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Center. During my term in the clinic, I produced documents that I know will have a widespread impact and that is very fulfilling. The clinic also teaches you professional skills that you don’t learn in a typical class setting.”

Doyinsola Aribo ’14
Spring 2014 — Client: Maggio Kattar

 

 


The clinical experience is the most challenging and rewarding that I ever had in law school. It gives you the opportunity to learn how to work like a real lawyer.”

Sihan Wang ’14
Spring 2014 — Client: Maggio Kattar

 

 


While the 5-credit experience in the clinic provided me with a strong foundation of professionalism and a deeper command of immigration law, I feel that my participation in the Advanced Immigration Clinic built upon that foundation and provided me with an opportunity to further hone my skills as an aspiring immigration lawyer.”

Matt Tamul ‘14
Spring 2014

 


“I enjoyed my experience at the clinic and I am extremely grateful for it. The work is challenging but also very rewarding. Working at the clinic helped bolster my strengths and also helped me improve my weaknesses. For example, I am not a very vocal person so speaking publicly was one of my biggest challenges. But working at the clinic taught me to be more assertive and confident in my speaking abilities. Overall, working at the clinic made me feel like everyone was a part of a team and we made each other stronger. I do not think I would ever forget that experience.”

Cherelle Douglas ’13
Spring 2013 — Client: Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s Civil Legal Representation Project


“The Center for Immigrants’ Rights clinic will expand your understanding of immigration law. The experience of working for institutional clients will arm you with the communication and analytical skills to explain immigration law concepts while creating cutting edge work product. I feel like my skills to becoming an attorney with impact has forever been enhanced by the clinical experience.”

Wanika Fisher ’13
Spring 2013 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


“Clinic work is very demanding and challenging, but definitely rewarding. Clinical experience was an opportunity for me to realize what my weaknesses are and overcome them. Clinic curriculum sets the expectation bar high but it also helps you reach and even exceed that bar at the end of the day. Clinical experience was an opportunity to learn about a specific immigration issue in depth and brainstorm creative solutions to address problems relating to the issue. I have significantly grown both intellectually and professionally after my clinical experience.”

Yesoo Kim ’13
Spring 2013 — Client: American Bar Association Commission on Immigration


“I entered the clinic with an interest in possibility doing issue-based advocacy (or legislative lawyering) as a career and always assumed that I would develop the skills necessary simply by I mastered the relative substantive area of the law. However, I see now that the advocacy skills I hope to gain someday require extensive and thoughtful practice and their own. No matter what area of the law I end up working on, I will be able to take the skills I learned from this clinic and apply them to any advocacy related project. Finally, I have sincerely enjoyed learning about immigration law during the semester and now genuinely am considering immigration law as a possible area of legal practice for my future career!”

Katie Klein ’14
Spring 2013 — Client: Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s Civil Legal Representation Project


“The Center for Immigrants’ Rights helped guide me along the right trajectory to becoming an effective immigration advocate. Before working with the Center, I knew that I had a passion for immigration work. After working with the Center, I now know that I am equipped with the tools to turn that passion into a fulfilling career.”

Matt Tamul ’14
Spring 2013 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


“Participation in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights was both a thoroughly challenging and rewarding academic pursuit.” 

Richard Lupinsky ’10
Fall 2009 — Client: Human Rights First and National Immigrant Justice Center


"The Center for Immigrants' Rights is a rare and challenging opportunity for law students to shape immigration policy. For me, producing a work-product targeted towards fundamental policy change made the clinical experience one of my best in law school." 

Alham Usman ’10
Client: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild


“The clinic has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I have undertaken in law school. The clinic will test you on many different levels which will ultimately make you a more competent and confident advocate.”

Drilona Brecani ’11
Spring 2010 — Client: Tahirih Justice Center


“I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights. I gained knowledge and skills in professionalism as well as in substantive areas of immigration law. I found the experience to be rewarding and I know our project will help detained non-citizens understand a few areas of U.S. law better. In addition to the gratification expressed by our client, I have already seen the benefits of my involvement with the clinic by helping me secure an internship for this summer.” 

Lisa Pex Shevlin, J.D. ’11, SIA Candidate
Spring 2010 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


“I’ve learned so much through this one project, much more than I would have through the standard classroom lecture format of a class. I think everyone in law school should work in a clinic, it’s a great experience. Professor Wadhia devoted an unbelievable amount of time and energy not only to supervising, but to guiding all the students’ projects and keeping everyone on track. She was never too busy to take the time to meet with us, proofread our work, give thoughtful and insightful suggestions, and respond to our every inquiry without delay. Professor Wadhia is both knowledgeable and passionate about immigrants’ rights which shows through the focused and tireless way she conducts the clinic and the class.” 

Luisa Enriquez ’11
Spring 2010 — Client: American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrants’ Rights Project


“I felt fairly uneasy about my skills as an oral advocate before stepping into the clinic. Though challenging at times, speaking before our class, interviewing detainees, and giving a presentation before the ABA’s Commission on Immigration all helped me become more comfortable as an oral advocate and as an advocate in general. While there is still room for improvement, the clinic encouraged me to become a more honest and confident speaker.”

Rachel Keung ‘12
Spring 2012 — Client: American Bar Association Commission on Immigration

 

 


“My time with the Center has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my law school career – and has been, by far, my most valuable law school experience in terms of preparation for practice. I came into my clinic semester with a strong interest in immigration law — but truly feel that this experience has prepared me to be a better advocate across the board — and has helped me to develop skills that will be relevant in any legal practice, immigration or otherwise.” 

Allie Sievers ‘12
Spring 2012 — Client: National Guestworker Alliance


"The Center for Immigrants’ Rights was one of the best experiences I have had during law school. Yes, it was a lot of work, and yes, it could be frustrating at times, but the same could be said about everything you do in law school. If you want to have an opportunity to work on important and emerging issues in immigration law that could have a substantial real-world impact, while helping prepare you for any future legal job, I would highly recommend participating in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights."

Stephen Coccorese ’12
Spring 2011 — Client: American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center


"My experience in the clinic gave me more than just an escape from the hypothetical postulating of a traditional law class, it gave me confidence in myself and in what I could accomplish. I faced many challenges, like long hours and problems with how best to conceptualize huge amounts of raw data and juggle various time sensitive demands, but by working with my partner and the professor, we found viable solutions and pushed through. From this, I found hidden depths of perseverance and creativity in myself that I never knew existed. Now that I know this is there, no project seems too impossible, no task too remote. I have never been so proud of a final work product as I am with what I’ve created in the clinic. I’ve never been so proud of myself. It was highly rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to move beyond summarizing cases and get their hands dirty."

Elizabeth Boul ’12
Fall 2010 — Client: American Immigration Council


"From a young age I have been very interested in the global community. Growing up with a Finnish father and American mother, who both love to travel, I have been able to experience a multitude of cultures. The adventures of my youth and watching the process of my father becoming a US citizen just a few years ago sparked my interest in immigration law. My experience in the Clinic was more than I could have asked for. My work in the clinic was both the most trying and rewarding experience of my academic life. Knowing that my hard work has the potential to aid an individual in dire need of relief makes the experience that much more rewarding. The clinic provided me with a great opportunity to mature and grow into an able and confident advocate. I know that the skills that I gained this semester will be the cornerstone of my growth as an attorney. "

Linnea Ignatius ’12
Fall 2010 — Client: Maggio Kattar, LP and Duane Morris


“Working for the Center for Immigrants’ Rights has been one of the best experiences I have had in law school. Rather than simply learning about laws in the abstract, as we do in our classes, it has been invaluable to witness how laws are applied in real life and the lasting effects they can have on individuals’ lives.”

Nicole Comstock ’10 
Spring 2010 — Client: American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrants’ Rights Project


“The Center for Immigrants’ Rights experience is one of the most useful learning resources for any student interested in pursuing a career in immigration law. Participating in the clinic provided me with the opportunity to bring my legal education to life as an immigration policy advocate. As a clinic intern, I developed my advocacy, communication, professionalism, research and legal writing skill set. Moreover, I had the opportunity to work under the guidance of leading attorneys who work on the frontlines of the immigration law arena."

Jessica ’10
Spring 2010 — Client: Tahirih Justice Center


"From participating in the clinic for one full academic year, I can confidently say that Penn State's Center for Immigrants' Rights clinic is at the cutting edge of immigration law. Professor Wadhia's foresight in this field and ability to recognize the necessary work that needs to be done in order to systematically improve our immigration system and thereby save future persons from tremendous hardships is truly remarkable. This experience has already brought me great opportunities to help those that need it the most and I'm truly thankful for it." 

Susham M. Modi ’10
Fall/Spring 2008-09 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


"The clinic not only provided me with the opportunity to participate in a project which will have an effect on practitioners of immigration law, but it also improved other skills which will serve me well in practice. I was able to hone my communication skills, learn more about interpersonal working relationships, and be exposed to an environment requiring professionalism and cooperation."

Heather Hoechst ’12
Fall 2010 — Client: American Immigration Council

 

 


“The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic is an excellent opportunity to learn what it means to be a lawyer. Professor Wadhia truly allows students to act as lead advocates, develop relationships with clients, and further client goals.” 

Chad Pace ’10
Fall 2009 — Client: Human Rights First and National Immigrant Justice Center


“The clinic really tested and enhanced some of the skills emphasized by the program. The clinic also gave me my first hands-on and real-world legal experience. It rounded out everything we learned during the first year of law school and also introduced many surprising nuances about the legal profession. More importantly, the clinic allowed us to make a significant difference in the lives of others. As part of the tasks we were assigned, my partner and I were able to assist low-income legal permanent residents with attaining U.S. citizenships, who have been eligible for up to the past 40 years, but have not otherwise been provided the public resources to naturalize. For me, the clinical experience was most important because it solidified my interests in public interest law.”

Sergio Aclo ’10
Spring 2009 — Client: The Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition


“I participated in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights for two semesters. Within my time there, I feel that I grew as a law student, a student attorney, and as a person. I refined several skill sets through my work in the clinic including improved writing and researching skills as well as client and partner communication skills. The Center for Immigrants’ Rights not only offers the classic work experience, but also provides a class component that helps students, like me, develop an understanding of immigration law and procedure as well as the political climate on immigration. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Center for Immigrants’ Rights and now as a law clerk for the Public Utility Commission, I see how transferable the skills that I developed in the clinic are to other areas of law practice. I would recommend the clinic to any student who feels that they could benefit from real legal work experience while under the guidance of a professor who actively participates to ensure her students and the students’ work improves.” 

Jennifer Romero ’10
Fall 2008 — Spring 2009 — Client: The Pennsylvania Immigration Resources Center


“Participating in a clinic is one of the best learning experiences one could have in their law school career. I highly recommend it to every law student. It gives you an opportunity to apply what is being taught in the classroom to the real world.” 

Mohita Anand ‘12
Spring 2012 — Client: Rights Working Group


“The Center for Immigrants’ Rights by far entailed the most work and time that I have ever devoted to a single law school class or experience. But, it is work and time that I never once minded having to devote. In fact, I looked forward to it.” 

Daniel DeCurtis ‘12
Spring 2012 — Client: American Bar Association Commission on Immigration


"The Center for Immigrants’ Rights experience definitely challenged me in ways that I could not have predicted. From statutory interpretation to teamwork and time management challenges this experience provided a snap shot view of what a real attorney goes through."

Manuel Ugarte Jr. ’11
Fall 2010 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


"There is no substitute for actual client contact. Because of the clinic, I had the tremendous opportunity to speak and communicate with our client and other stakeholders almost daily. The experience made me aware of just how important it is to have this experience. The other aspect of this valuable opportunity was the chance to become extremely familiar with an interesting and important form of immigration relief: the U and the T visas."

Tayler Summers ’12
Spring 2011 — Client: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)


"The clinic was definitely one of the most professional experiences you can have in law school. The Center provides you the opportunity to work directly with your client throughout a semester to create a policy-based project that will actually have a visible impact on immigration law."

Sarah Hart ’12
Spring 2011 — Client: American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center


"I felt it was a good experience which differed greatly from a regular law school class because we looked at the policies behind immigration law and not just the black letter law. This made the experience special because I had never worked on policy issues in law school." 

Jesus Saucedo ’10 
Fall 2009 — Client: American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center


"I was privileged to work on a project that stands to help (possibly) hundreds of pro bono practitioners marshal the resources they need to provide valuable legal assistance to unaccompanied noncitizen minors in the US. The work was challenging, but gratifying, and helped me grow as a legal professional."

Nick Quesenberry ’11
Spring 2011 — Client: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)


"This is a truly unique experience you can have in your law school life."

Su Jin Hong ’11
Fall 2010 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


“The clinic provides students with real world experience under the supervision of an experienced and knowledgeable director. Professor Wadhia answers your questions and guides you in the proper direction. The clinic teaches self-discipline, time management, and professionalism — all critical aspects to a successful career in law.”

Kirk Vroman ’11 
Spring 2010 — Client: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center


"The clinic gave me an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I learned in the course of my law school career. It provided with the single greatest learning experience in law school. The Center for Immigrants’ Rights’ projects bring together the study of immigration law, politics, and policy and teach you how these three elements come together."

David Rodriguez ’10 
Fall 2009 — Client: American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center


“The Center for Immigrants’ Rights gave me the opportunity to utilize what I learned in the classroom, on a weekly basis, and apply it to my interactions with immigration stakeholders.”

Modesta Salmeron ’10
Fall 2009 — Client: The Pennsylvania Immigration Resources Center


“The clinic tested my fortitude at times, but in the end it was all worthwhile. I have developed habits that will stay with me and make me a better attorney.” 

Steven Trialonas ’10
Spring 2010 — Client: Tahirih Justice Center