During her Fall semester, Roseangela Hartford interned at Sweet & Paciorek in Philadelphia, PA. She found this experience through Sharon Hansen, interim director of the Career and Professional Development Office. Sharon had a contact who was one of the firm’s partners, and she set Roseangela up to speak with her about law school. Their conversation led to the subject of Roseangela’s research in Guatemala, and eventually Roseangela was offered the internship. At Sweet & Paciorek, Roseangela did research on asylum cases regarding women in Central America, conducted interviews in Spanish, assisted in preparing cases for court, and wrote affidavits. These affidavits were narratives of the clients that gave judges an idea of why they were in the court if they were not able to speak for themselves. Roseangela’s favorite aspects of the internship were getting to meet the clients, handling their cases, following up with them, and practicing her Spanish consistently. The most challenging part was dealing with immigration laws and policy changes such as DACA. “It was interesting to see how policies on a federal level were affecting Philadelphia,” she recalled.
Speaking Spanish, writing, people skills, and case study skills were used most by this senior during her internship. Her Politics capstone class, Summer Fellows research, and Latin American Studies classes all helped and were necessary for her work with the Latin American community. Some new skills and concepts that Roseangela learned were immigration laws, numbers related to cases, policies on women’s rights, writing an affidavit, and translation. She believes that these skills and concepts will help her in her future career choice as an Immigrant Rights Advocate
Who I Met that Made a Difference
“Anna Paciorek, my supervisor, who is an immigrant from Poland and a mom that runs a law firm, made a difference in my experience. She is important in seeing how women’s rights have shifted in terms of laws, and she is now my role model,” says the senior. By networking with the people from her workplace, Roseangela was able to obtain another internship at the Nationalities Service Center as a legal intern in the domestic violence division.
After interning at Sweet & Paciorek, Roseangela feels more prepared for life after Ursinus. This opportunity helped validate her decision to go into Immigrant Rights work in the future. “I am certain that is where I want to be. Meeting and hearing the stories of women who have fled dire and dangerous conditions changed me in terms of security and social mobility,” explains Roseangela. She also valued her experience working for a female-run business since the firm is entirely staffed by women.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
“I put together an entire case from start to finish. Every single skill that I had learned from day one was put into a big project. Interviewing, doing research, looking at the finances, writing affidavits, and considering country conditions all had to be prepared for court.”
Roseangela thinks internships are the most important experiential learning that a student can do aside from volunteer work. She would definitely recommend this internship to anyone interested in law.