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Tamara Good ’12 chooses a summer of service
September 21, 2010
Tamara Good '12 with son, Rhys, and daughter, Madeleine.
Tamara Good is no stranger to hard work. She was born in Nigeria, grew up in Cameroon, and eventually earned her undergraduate degree from Penn State Harrisburg while managing a UPS Store. Good is now working her way towards a dual degree in law and international affairs, and earned a scholarship to help finance her way through Penn State Law. She’s doing all of this while raising her 5-year-old daughter, Madeleine, and her 3-year-old son, Rhys.
Good was a Cherie Millage Summer Fellow in 2010 and used the grant to serve the Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center (PIRC), which provides counsel and educational resources to secure defense for immigrants in danger of deportation from the United States. She took on central tasks such as research on asylum, U visas, derivative citizenship, and citizenship access through service in the military. She educated immigrants and clients whose only option may be to appear pro se before an immigration judge. Good has also developed a document submission and declaration for a case, transferred a case to another state, and even represented a client before an immigration judge during a hearing.
“The Cherie M. Millage Fellowship provides not only a lifeline to students who want to obtain public interest expertise but also to the nonprofit organizations that would otherwise not be able to hire summer help," said Kate Cramer Lawrence, who directs public interest programming at the Law School. "This program is key to connecting law students with satisfying, challenging work and professional networking opportunities."
Balancing act a challenge
With this fellowship, her school work, and raising two young children, Good struggled to find a balance between home and law school. For her, finding this balance has been the most challenging part of the entire experience. “It has been a challenge for me to balance all that I want to fit into my internship with my time off that I spend with my two preschool children. I am grateful, however, for the willingness of the supervising attorneys to allow me to balance as I need to.”
While the time challenge was a crunch, Good focused on her reasons for choosing to spend her summer serving others.
“Into my adulthood, I have remained on the lookout for ways to make myself available to refugees and immigrants, particularly from French-speaking Africa, to help with any cross-cultural or adjustment issues as well as language barriers as they settle into the area. I pursued law school so that I could find a more formal means of assisting immigrants and refugees. Without the Fellowship, I would not have been able to pursue the opportunity at PIRC.”
While most law students do not have the added pressure of raising two children, Good says that there are also benefits, for her family as well as herself. “I think it is a great thing to show my kids by example that people all over the world are important and that we can constantly look for ways to serve others and to be a friend and a help to those around us.”