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CIRC Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Since the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC) was launched in 2008, many alumni have pursued immigration law or applied their experiences in other legal settings. Below is a snapshot of where CIRC alumni are today. Click here to check out the Clinic's 10-year anniversary publication.

Berenice Beltran Maldonado
Class of 2020
Department of Homeland Security/USCIS

“During my time at the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic (CIRC), I engaged in hands-on clinical experience in immigration law through community outreach, education, pro bono legal support, and policy work. This definitely impacted my career choice and provided me a better understanding of immigration law and policies.”

Carlos M. Camandang
Class of 2018
Associate, Nicolaides Fink Thorpe Michaelides Sullivan LLP

“CIRC provided me with skills that are still relevant to my practice today, including attention to detail, public speaking skills, and maintaining client relationships.  I am grateful for everything that Professor Wadhia taught me and her continued mentorship even years after graduation.”

Shanjida Chowhury
Class of 2020
Staff Attorney, Immigration Representation Project, Legal Services of New Jersey

“I work on the Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative (DDDI), doing removal defense work. We provide free immigration representation to indigent immigrant clients in a detained and non-detained capacity. In my time with DDDI, I've worked on a number of diverse cases with completely different procedural postures, from representing unaccompanied minors seeking asylum to incarcerated individuals who are undergoing immigration and criminal proceedings simultaneously. The cases I have worked on have been diverse and fast-paced, and there are a lot of moving parts. Needless to say, my job requires a great deal of multitasking, something that CIRC really prepared me to do.

Allie Karoline Dempsey
Class of 2012
Business Immigration Attorney, Klasko Immigration Law Partners

“My diverse experiences in immigration law, particularly during law school and my work on H2B program abuses with CIRC, have made me a better and more well-rounded attorney with a greater appreciation for the variety of complex issues that arise under the U.S. immigration system.”

Mark Diaz
Class of 2019
Associate Immigration Attorney, Law Offices of Johanna M. Herrero

“My workload consists primarily of preparing the "call-ups" for noncitizens in removal proceedings with impending Individual Hearings for Asylum, Withholding, Protection under the Cat, Cancellation of Removal, Adjustments, and any other applications for relief before EOIR.  I also have a non-litigation caseload with USCIS.”

Doyinsola "Doyin" Aribo
Class of 2014
Assistant General Counsel, Immigration, Mckinsey & Company

"My time at CIRC certainly laid the foundations for my career in Business Immigration. The research and communication skills that I employed as a clinic student and post-graduate fellow remain essential in my role today."

Isa Ferrera
Class of 2017
Latin American Program Director, Penn State Law

Working under the supervision of Professor Wadhia at CIRC was a life-changing experience. During my time as a student and research assistant at CIRC, I gained invaluable knowledge of immigration law and gained practical skills that shaped me as a better professional. More importantly, I learned the importance of being compassionate and an ethical professional.”  

Jose Figueroa
Class of 2016
Attorney-Advisor, Office of the General Counsel for the National Nuclear Security Administration

“CIRC helped me learn the practical side of the practice of law. I learned how to speak and interact with members of the community who were not lawyers but still needed to understand the law. In my current practice, that skill is critical to helping advise non-legal clients.” 

Ellen Findley
Class of 2019
Advocacy Attorney, Masa Group

“I have coordinated advocacy coalitions, fostered relationships with Congressional offices, and even drafted immigration-related legislation. Additionally, I have begun working as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Louisville as I pursue a master's degree in Health Care Ethics.”

Dave Harrington
Class of 2016
Immigration Attorney, Albarelli & Stirba, LLC

“I currently work full time as an immigration attorney in Allentown PA. I do a combination of Asylum and removal defense as well as family-based immigration. I practice in the Philadelphia, Newark, and New York City Immigration Courts. I've assisted people with their VAWA proceedings as well as other humanitarian-based immigration relief. I also do Special Immigrant Juvenile work by getting custody orders through the state courts in Pennsylvania. Most of my clients are from Central and South America, but I also assist people from Kenya, the Philippines, and Syria to come to the United States.” 

Marcus Hobson
Class of 2019
Associate, Fragomen Del Rey Bensen and Loewy

“I was able to gain practical experience, including interviewing and counseling clients, fact-gathering, problem-solving, community outreach, and policy analysis. The highlight of my experience with CIRC, was being able to provide legal education and training to both the University Park Police Department and State College Police Department. The skills and experience I received from CIRC has prepaid me for the challenges faced by immigration attorneys.”

Raquel Muñiz
Class of 2018
Assistant Professor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College

“I'm going into my fourth year as a tenure-track assistant professor at Boston College, where I have continued to examine the law and education, including issues affecting immigrant students.”

Deokhee Ryu
Class of 2018
Associate Immigration Attorney, Berry Appleman & Leiden, LLP

"I represent companies to hire and maintain foreign workers who are critical to their business. Specifically, I work on non-immigrant and immigrant petitions including H-1B, L-1, TN, PERM, EB-1, and Adjustment of Status. My personal experience as a former international student and at CIRC helps me better understand the complex nature of immigration law and communicate with my clients.” 

Jesús E. Saucedo
Class of 2010
Associate Attorney, Jessica Dominguez Immigration Law Group

“As a participant with CIRC in 2009, I and a fellow classmate worked on a white paper that explored and explained the different ways the then 180-day asylum clock functioned in different immigration courts around the United States. As a practicing immigration law attorney, I found firsthand that every court and even every judge has different procedures. As part of my experience with CIRC, I learned to research the specific judge and court before I represent a client in removal proceedings.”

Shiv Prakash Singh
Class of 2020
Law Clerk, Goel & Anderson, LLC

CIRC gave me an outlook of the practical world and real scenarios such as how immigration law touches every other law in one way or the other, be it domestic violence or human trafficking or adoption and guardianship among others. CIRC really played a big role in my willingness to learn more about immigration laws and not only regarding asylum or refugee laws but also how the U.S. immigration laws contribute to one of the world’s biggest economies, where so many businesses are set up from the scratch and so many international employees come to the United States to work for several companies.”

Manuel Ugarte
Class of 2011
Associate Attorney, Bowles & Verna, LLP

“It was great to get out of the classroom and leave the theory behind. Although I wasn't able to individually represent a pro-bono client back then, we worked with non-profit organizations that did and needed all the help they could get. I enjoyed working with my fellow classmates and non-profit attorneys with actual caseloads. I recommend the experience.”

Kirk Vroman
Class of 2011
Corporate Counsel, Director at Internap Holding, LLC

“My time with the CIRC afforded me great exposure and drafting experience which has been a critical aspect of my career growth.  Professor Wadhia was instrumental in my educational growth, and the experience I gained under her tutelage has served as the foundational skills to further my career.  I am very thankful to have been a part of the CIRC.”

Mara Zrzavy
Class of 2018
Domestic Violence/Victims of Crime Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York

“My knowledge of immigration law has helped me work with a few clients who were not citizens and concerned about how reporting their abuser might affect their immigration situation. I'm also very good at writing and editing legal documents due to how much I had to do that in clinic. And the study I did with my clinic partner, Raquel Muñiz, has been published and cited in Professor Wadhia's book!”