Scholars and Alumni

Class of 2020

Nora Kirk '20 is originally from Portland, Oregon. She graduated cum laude from American University in 2015, where she studied Strategic Communication and Criminology. While at American, Nora worked with BleakHouse Publishing, a criminal justice press featuring creative writing from incarcerated individuals. Before attending law school, Nora was an investigative intern at the DC Public Defender’s Service, where she was exposed to the toll the justice system has on disadvantaged communities. Following this experience, Nora’s senior capstone focused on racial tension on campus and the resulting social segregation by students. The project culminated in a comprehensive report and suggestions that were pitched to university administrators, which were adopted by the diversity and inclusion office the following year. During her 1L year, Nora has been a part of Suspension Representation Project, served as a youth mentor for the Urban Assembly League, and is on the Young Professionals board at the Ms. Foundation. She spent her 1L summer interning at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina.


Maria Romero '20 grew up in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania.  She comes to NYU from civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax, where she worked as a paralegal on fair lending and fair housing impact litigation.  In 2015, Maria graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with a concentration in History and Literature.  At Harvard, Maria advocated for immigrants’ and undocumented students’ rights as co-director of the student activist group and resource center Act on a Dream.  Maria later chaired the Harvard Institute of Politics’ first-ever Immigration Policy Group, which authored a white paper analyzing Harvard College’s lack of support for undocumented students and advocated for change to improve equal access to educational opportunities.  She also worked at Greater Boston Legal Services’ Immigration Clinic, translating and assisting with the processing of asylum claims.  Maria wrote her senior thesis on Dominican poet Salomé Ureña, and the relationship between gender and narratives of nation-building.  Her work received the David Rockefeller Center Thesis Prize and John Northland Hutchins Thesis Prize in Latino Studies.  She spent her 1L summer interning at the Office of the Public Defender in Alexandria, Virginia. 

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.

Class of 2021

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 was selected as an Equal Justice Works Emerson Paralegal Fellow to work with Centro Legal de la Raza, the largest nonprofit provider of deportation defense in Northern California. From 2015 to 2018, she worked with Centro Legal providing immigration legal services and conducting outreach to those who were eligible for DACA. In 2015, Jesica graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in International Development Studies with a focus on Latin America and was selected to the Dean’s Honor List. While at UC Berkeley, she spent a semester in Washington, D.C. with the National Immigration Forum as a Policy and Advocacy and Integration Programs Intern. Her work included facilitating collaboration between businesses and legal organizations to organize naturalization workshops for employees and conducting immigration policy research. She also spent a year as an Immigration Intern with the International Rescue Committee where she assisted with DACA applications. During her last year in Berkeley, she taught a course on the social justice issues affecting the city of New Orleans and led a weeklong service-learning trip to New Orleans through the UC Berkeley Public Service Center. 


Class of 2021

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. 


Astrid Reyes '19, NYU Reproductive Justice and Women's Rights Fellow, Center for Constitutional Rights (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)