Scholars and Alumni

Class of 2021

Daniela Ugaz ‘20 was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. From 2014 to 2016 she worked as a paralegal with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, serving unaccompanied immigrant children detained in Tucson, Arizona. Together with her husband, she has co-translated four non-fiction books from Spanish to English. In diverse ways, these books examine the effects of US international policy on Mexico and Central America, as well as the migration push factors of those regions. As a Fulbright Fellow in 2013, Daniela researched the overlap between US immigration and child welfare systems, traveling to several Mexican states to interview parents whose deportation had triggered a child custody case against them. As an undergraduate student, she spent three years volunteering with a newspaper co-operative that worked to provide a channel of communication as well as a supplementary income for the homeless community in Madison, Wisconsin. Daniela received her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

 
Sofia Lopez Franco '21 is originally from Mexico City and lived much of her life in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2017 where she majored in Political Science and Legal Studies. At Northwestern, Sofia conducted research on issues of race and policing during the 19th century and administrative representation during the 20th century.  Sofia wrote her senior thesis on the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act and the early roots of the War on Drugs. Before beginning law school, Sofia worked as an immigration paralegal for two years, most recently at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. At NIJC, Sofia was a part of the Legal Protection Fund, a project that provides free legal representation and Know Your Rights presentations to low income Chicago residents around the city. She spent her 1L summer interning at the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, Texas. 

 

Jesica Tenaglia ’21 was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up in Southern California. Jesica was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2013; an event that inspired her passion for immigrants’ rights. In 2015, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in International Development Studies with a concertation on Latin America. While at UC Berkeley, Jesica focused on immigration policy and direct legal services through internships with the National Immigration Forum in Washington D.C. and the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, CA. During her last year at Berkeley, she taught a course on the social justice issues affecting the city of New Orleans and led a weeklong service-learning trip to the city. In 2015, she was selected as an Equal Justice Works Emerson Paralegal Fellow to work with Centro Legal de la Raza, providing immigration legal services and conducting outreach to those who were eligible for DACA. At NYU, Jesica served as co-president of the Latinx Law Students Association and participated in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. She spent her 1L summer interning with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem’s Immigration Defense Practice and her 2L summer with Bronx Defender’s Criminal Defense Practice. 

 

Class of 2022

Julio Castillo

Julio Castillo ‘22 is originally from Calhoun, Georgia. He graduated from Princeton University in 2017 where he majored in the School of Public and International Affairs. At Princeton, Julio focused on issues affecting marginalized communities, such as immigrants and LGBTQ folks, through on-campus student groups and summer internships. He wrote his senior thesis on the United States’ legal and moral obligations to take in asylum seekers fleeing persecution and violence, with an emphasis on unaccompanied minors and LGTBQ folks from Central America. After graduation, from 2017 to 2019, Julio worked as a paralegal with the Public Policy Litigation and Law team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America in Washington, DC. As a paralegal he supported a team of attorneys conducting reproductive rights litigation and policy work throughout the country. 

 
 

Class of 2023

David Jimenez

David Jiménez ‘23 was born in Medellin, Colombia and grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. He graduated cum laude from Columbia University in 2017, where he double majored in Political Science and Ethnicity and Race Studies. At Columbia, he participated in student groups advocating for Latinx, first-generation and low-income students. Reflecting on his upbringing, David wrote his senior thesis about the challenges imposed by illegality on a community of Colombian immigrants in New Jersey, exploring the ways lack of legal status affected their lives. David also interned at the Center for Court Innovation’s Newark Community Solutions, where he worked on criminal justice reform issues, particularly focusing on reducing the municipal court’s use of fines and jail sentences that disproportionately harm black and brown individuals. After graduating from Columbia, he worked as a paralegal at Alston & Bird LLP, where he assisted on structured finance transactions and on various pro bono matters, including helping attorneys with a successful VAWA petition for an undocumented client. Following his time at Alston, David joined the New York Legal Assistance Group, where he worked as a paralegal in their Tenants’ Rights Unit. At NYLAG, David supported and advocated on behalf of clients at risk of eviction in Queens.

  

Andres

Andrés Orr ’23 is originally from Madrid, Spain.  He graduated from Vassar College in 2016 where he majored in philosophy.  At Vassar, Andrés interned with Rural and Migrant Ministries traveling throughout rural New York to conduct community outreach with the state’s immigrant farmworker population. In 2016 he returned to Madrid and enrolled in a master’s degree in public policy and human rights law at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). As part of his master’s, Andrés worked at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. where he was assigned to monitor forced migration in the Americas.  He wrote his thesis on the United States’ violation of Salvadoran asylum seekers’ human rights.  After graduating from the UAM with honors in 2018, Andrés returned to D.C. to work as an immigration paralegal and prepare for law school.

 

 

Alumni

Maria Romero '20, Norton Rose Fulbright, Fellowship Program at The Door (New York, NY) 
Astrid Reyes '19, Legal Fellow at A Better Balance: The Work & Family Legal Center (New York, NY)
Gerardo Romo '19, ACLU Karpatkin Fellow (New York, NY)
Bobby Hunter '18, Equal Justice Works Fellow, ACLU Racial Justice Program (New York, NY)
Juliana Morgan-Trostle '17, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Bay Area Legal Aid (Richmond, CA)
Mariel Villarreal '17, Immigration Attorney & Co-Director, Pangea Legal Services (San Francisco, CA)
Frances Dávila '16, Staff Attorney, Immigrant Defense Initiative at NYU School of Law (New York, NY)
Alicia Nieves '16, Co-founder and Executive Director, streetwide (Brooklyn, NY)
Cristopher Santos '15, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Labor (Los Angeles, CA)
Luis Angel Reyes Savalza '15, Immigration Attorney & Director of Community Empowerment, Pangea Legal Services (San Francisco, CA)
Christine LaRochelle '14, Staff Attorney, Catholic Charities Legal Services (Miami, FL)
Amy Pont '14, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society (New York, NY)
Lisandra Fernández-Silber '13, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office (New York, NY)
Kevin Herrera '13, Staff Attorney, Shriver Center on Poverty Law (Chicago, IL)
Jordan Wells '13, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Southern California (Bakersfield, CA)
Maria Romani '12, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California (San Francisco, CA)
Alba Lucero Villa '11, Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (New York, NY)
Maribel Hernández Rivera '10, District Director, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York, NY)
Andrea Nieves '10, Senior Policy Attorney, NYC Defender Services (New York, NY)
Tom Fritzsche '09, Executive Director, Milk with Dignity Standards (Burlington, VT)
Melissa Navarro '09, Staff Attorney, Clark County Public Defender's Office (Las Vegas, NV)