Meet Our Summer Interns

Posted on 07/13/2014 @ 07:42 PM

We have another great group of interns this summer in all of our departments and we want you to get to know them and help us welcome them!

Meet Lola Bovell

Where are you from?
Miami, FL

Where do you go to law school?
University of Wisconsin Law School

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I knew I wanted to work for LatinoJustice PRLDEF from the moment I learned about the organization because of its focus on the empowerment of the Latino community. I was really intrigued when I learned that it focused on litigating precedent-setting impact cases in particular. I have always had an interest in policy work, and LatinoJustice merges the practice of law with advocating for changes in policy. In addition, my parents are Nuyoricans that blossomed in New York City when PRLDEF was just beginning. This familial component resonated with me as well. There was no other organization that would have been a better fit.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
I decided to become a lawyer because of my commitment to public service. During my time as a Women’s Studies graduate student, I realized that a significant amount of the new research being revealed was not reaching populations farther than the academic individuals in the Ivory Tower. I wanted to have more of a direct impact on marginalized communities. As a lawyer I knew that I would have the tools to apply the progressive changes in academia to the disadvantaged communities that need it the most.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
I love Puerto Rican pasteles and alcapurrias.

What is a hidden talent?
I enjoy writing poetry and performing spoken word.

What is your motto or philosophy?
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah Winfrey

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
I am a Florida Gator and bleed orange and blue. I do not know much about the World Cup, but in the interest of LatinoJustice comradery I will root for Spain!


Meet Jehan Laner

Where are you from?
Los Angeles, CA

Where do you go to law school?
NYU

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I wanted to learn from and contribute to a group of attorneys who were passionate about protecting civil rights in the Latino community.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
In my old jobs before law school I was always responsible for translating for my supervisors to Spanish-speaking employees or patrons. Rather than staying in this role of helping my supervisors get what they wanted from Spanish-speaking communities, I wanted to gain the legal knowledge to help predominately Latino communities advocate for their own needs.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
This is probably the hardest question on this form. I love all kinds of food, but have a really big sweet tooth. So if you all want me to bake anything, just let me know.

What is a hidden talent?
I have a good memory for useless trivia.

What is your motto or philosophy?
“Don’t force it.” My dad used to say this a lot, but it applies figuratively and literally. Basically he was saying when you try to force something to open, close, fit, or go exactly the way you plan etc., you usually end up breaking something or stressing yourself out to the point of frustration. Instead, he’d encourage me to calm down, and think about the problem in a different way. Usually you come out seeing the better route that you wouldn’t have seen from the start.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Italia, Go Azzurri!


Meet Kirssy Martinez

Where are you from?
I am from the Dominican Republic

Where do you go to school?
My major is liberal arts and science in Bronx Community College.

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I think that you are doing an outstanding job by getting involved in the latino community at large, many organizations claim to help latinos but they don't go beyond the set bar. LJP is a true advocate that makes sure the voice of the immigrants are heard. During this short period of time I've interning with you, I've seen how invested you are in all the issues that encompass the latino community. I have also seen how passionate you are about your clients' cases. LJP has a lot of heart.

Why do you want to pursue a career in civil rights/non-profits? 
I am very interested in political science and civic engagement.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
I love white rice and beans w/ tostones and pork chops. Last but not least, Aguacate!!!

What is a hidden talent?
I am a poet, I write spanish poetry and love to recite them.

What is your motto or philosophy?
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come. This is the conclusion of all the world's matters, love justice and fear God; for this is the whole duty of mankind.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Netherlands, A few of my family members live there.


Meet Sara Estela

Where are you from?
New York, NY

Where do you go to law school?
Stanford

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I care about making society an equitable place for Latinos, and especially here in NYC where I grew up.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
To create more opportunities for myself to help others while applying useful/fun skills.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
Cookies!

What is a hidden talent?
I can knit socks.

What is your motto or philosophy?
We are always becoming--every day is a new chance.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Are the Yankees playing in that?


Meet Stephanie Amber Rivera

Where are you from?
Brooklyn, NY (NUYORICAN!)

Where do you go to law school?
CUNY School of Law

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I am very passionate about immigrant and Latino Rights, especially as it pertains to immigrant women/mothers. Although providing direct legal services is necessary, I wanted to be a part of an organization that was more proactive in creating legal reform on a larger scale. LJP provides that type of impact work that I hope to do in the future.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
I grew up in a very poor community of color in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. It upset me that such a large population of people could be forgotten by the city. Our services in the area were so subpar that I knew I needed to something in the future to give back and help improve the area. At first, I thought my efforts should be put toward education and I wanted to become a teacher. But in middle school, my mother enrolled me a Saturday pre-law program and it started to become a passion of mine to go to law school. I knew that if I wanted to make a lasting change in my community, I needed to be educated and in a position of power to truly bring the needs of my community to the forefront. My family says I’m a little too pure of heart for politics, so they ran with the idea of me becoming an attorney. Now, I hope to combine my passion for organizing, community development, and legal skills to sustain thriving communities of color.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
This is hard because I love food! All types of food! I am not much a cook however. If I had to narrow it down, I love to eat Indian food, Halal food, Puerto Rican food, and farina (morning, noon, and night I will eat grandma’s farina!)

What is a hidden talent?
It’s not much of a hidden talent, but I used to do a lot of Spoken Word/poetry readings.

What is your motto or philosophy?
To always define myself, name myself, create for myself, and speak for myself, instead of being defined, named, created or spoken for by others.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Ummm…Go Mets?


Meet Karol Yorlany Ruiz

Where are you from?
Cali, Colombia and Dover, NJ, USA

Where do you go to law school?
Seton Hall University School of Law

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I admire the work of the organization and witnessed the passion and skill of LJP’s attorneys, staff and board members. I knew that LJP mentorship would ensure the development of my own legal skills while providing the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of human rights work.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
My calling is to work for social justice. After working with attorneys like Amy Gottlieb of AFSC and Camilo Romero (then an NYU Law student) on issues of immigrants’ rights in 2010, I learned to appreciate the power of the law to both oppress and protect. As an undocumented immigrant youth, I had internalized prejudices against me and believed I could not pursue a career in the law. Once I became a citizen and met Latino lawyers like Juan Cartagena, I finally realized that becoming a lawyer was a dream I too could achieve.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
I love to make chimichurri from scratch, with cilantro (not parsley) from the garden and fresh squeezed limes. It is the perfect topping for grilled chicken, fish, steak, and tostones!

What is a hidden talent?
I love to dance, but it is not a hidden talent. I dance every chance I get.

What is your motto or philosophy?
I strive to live by the words of Lao Tzu: “A leader is best when people barely know she exists, when her work is done, her aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Los Cafeteros!


Meet Gabriela Gonzalez

Where are you from?
Puerto Rico; I am a Florida Gator!

Where do you go to law school?
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I have always been interested in advocacy and activism, and I finally wanted to do something in that line of work with my legal knowledge and education. I met Alba Villa at a Public Interest Fair at the New York City Bar, and her energy and passion for the organization made an impression on me my 1L year. I also read Sonia Sotomayor's My Beloved World, where she spoke very highly of her experience at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?
During my undergraduate years, while doing my degree in journalism, I became more and more interested in advocacy and doing something for the people whose stories I was telling. I realized the power attorneys have to make a difference, and many of the people I most admire are lawyers.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
Arroz con garbanzos and pastelon de papa.

What is a hidden talent?
I speak several languages, and I am a good imitator, so I often sound like a native speaker.

What is your motto or philosophy?
"All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 and "My life is my message." Gandhi

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
SPAIN! La furia roja all the way.


Meet Alan Magendzo

Where are you from?
Santiago, Chile

Where do you go to school?
I’m a History major at Kenyon College, where I am a rising senior.

Why did you want to work at LJP?
I wanted to be a part of making this a more just country for Latinos and other underrepresented minorities. My brief experience with organizing students in Chile during the educational strike left me wanting to do more. I was also drawn to the legal environment at LatinoJustice, as it could help me decide what I want to do once I graduate from Kenyon.

What is your favorite food to eat/make?
I like most foods, but my favorite is a good steak. I cook steak pretty well, and can make pisco sour.

What is a hidden talent?
I’m an NCAA swimmer and was Chilean national champion from 2006-2011 in 8 different events. I still hope to compete in the Rio Olympic games.

What is your motto or philosophy?
Love and do whatever you want. Stay humble and hungry.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Chile!

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