An Intern's Story
How does IASC, a tiny not-for-profit organization with a tiny budget and only two paid staff members, manage to make such a profound difference in the lives of so many people? One of our secret weapons is...interns!
IASC is fortunate to have several dedicated interns at this time, all Connecticut College students, ranging from freshmen to seniors. In this issue we introduce you to Ericka Lagrange.
Where were you born, and what brought you to the US?
My twin brother Erick and I came to New York City from the Dominican Republic (DR) five years ago to join our mom, who’d arrived a year earlier. Though we were seniors in the DR, we had to go back to being freshmen in New York, because we didn’t know any English. We obtained our citizenship through our father, who was a citizen.
What is your major at Connecticut College, and what are your plans for the future?
I’m a senior and I’m majoring in psychology and Spanish studies. When I graduate I plan to go to graduate school to become a child psychologist.
What do you like most about volunteering at IASC?
I really enjoy my interactions with so many cultures and Spanish language dialects in working with people from Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Columbia, and Venezuela, as well as from my native DR. I love seeing people’s progress with their cases.
And I’m learning so much from both [Director/Attorney] Joe [Marino] and [Legal Assistant] Angela [Florez]. They know how important it is to get everything right, and for a client to really be ready. Joe won’t let someone apply for their citizenship until he sees their English is good enough. And Angela always reminds me to be sure I understand just what a client is saying when I’m interpreting, because it’s so important.
What stands out about your experiences with IASC?
It’s amazing how much information married couples must provide about their relationship when one is seeking a green card for the other. They need to prove that their marriage is legitimate. Photos, Facebook screenshots, mail that came to their address together, bank accounts, where they traveled together. Stories about how they met, why they love each other, stories from family members. It seems like such an invasion of their privacy, to tell the truth. But it’s all needed.