This summer, Van Sui assisted in our Immigrant Justice Program for her internship, helping with contacting clients and providing Burmese translations and interpretation. Currently a senior at Taylor University, she hopes to pursue Law School in the future. "I would like to gain experiences while pursuing my further education in U.S.," she says. "After, I would want to actively involve in Burma government with all my abilities in the processes of transitioning into a democracy country." She loved her opportunity to work at the Clinic, melding her career goals with her faith. She says, "It was interesting and inspiring to see the organization not only standing for Psalm 82:3-4, but practically applying it by assisting with various issues and standing up for vulnerable people with love, care, and passion."
Lynsey Hoeft first heard about the Clinic from a friend and was immediately intrigued by our Project GRACE Expungement Help Desk. Over the course of her internship, she had the opportunity to assist people in clearing their criminal records. She says, "Seeing people getting their lives back on track and being so thankful for the service we provided really made me love doing it." Currently, Lynsey is a senior at Purdue University with a major in Law & Society and a minor in Forensic Science, and she plans to pursue Law School next year. Of her work at the Clinic, Lynsey says, "I will definitely continue to offer my time to volunteer here because I truly enjoyed every second and felt that I was always learning, while also helping people--and that was such a wonderful thing to find in an internship."
An intern at the Clinic for his second year in a row, this summer, David Medley worked with our Immigrant Justice Program, focusing on Asylum cases and Naturalization. Although things have been somewhat hectic with many recent changes to Immigration Law, David still found the environment to be ideal for his internship. He says, "Everyone is always busy and a deadline is always fast approaching, but that does not prevent anyone from answering a question or directing me to a resource that could make my work more efficient." With only one year of Law School left, David is looking to find meaningful employment in the immigration field and his experience with the Clinic has been invaluable. "The work that I do for the Immigrant Justice Program is fulfilling and makes me feel that I am doing something good for my community while being mentally stimulating and challenging."
Anna Zimmermann also spent her summer assisting the Immigrant Justice Program. She originally heard about the internship from a job posting and hoped to continue improving her Spanish skills, while also learning more about Immigration Law. Anna says, "My internship has provided me with the opportunity to learn more about the immigrant communities I didn't even know were present in Indiana. Admittedly, my knowledge of foreign countries was much more limited than I thought. This summer allowed me to change that." A rising 2L at IU McKinney, Anna is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend her summer at the Clinic. "Skill-wise, I was able to expand my research and writing abilities every day," she says. "The work done at the Clinic benefits so many people who are overlooked and in need, and I have been honored to contribute to this work."
Throughout her internship, Ellen Soyka has assisted the Clinic in various ways by providing Spanish interpretation at intake, by helping to streamline and organize data, and by learning to prepare U Visa and VAWA applications for those who are victims of violent crime. In May of 2019, she will graduate from IU Bloomington with her Master's in International Studies. She says, "After graduation, I'm hoping to work in an area related to community advocacy, research, and policy, whether that is in the nonprofit or government sector." Although she learned a lot during the course of her internship, Ellen found the most challenging part to be learning to balance her assumptions with the quirks of each case and client. She says, "It is helpful and necessary to a degree to notice patterns in cases in order to work effectively, but not at the cost of recognizing the unique parts of each client and case."
Melissa Jones worked in our Immigrant Justice Program this summer, learning how to file and send documents to USCIS. In addition to some of these technical skills she gained, she also says, "I now understand so many intricacies of the immigration process and have come to appreciate the hurdles that immigrants overcome in order to become part of the citizenry of the United States." Melissa is now entering her final year of Law School, and although she isn't exactly sure what is next for her, she says, "My time here at the Clinic has only magnified my love for 'saying yes' to new experiences and paths even when I can't see the whole picture."
Now a 2L at IU McKinney, Connor Moore spent his summer assisting our Housing Department. He first volunteered at our Justice For All gala in 2017, saying, "I left the gala impressed with what the Lord was doing through the Clinic to impact the lives of the underprivileged and underrepresented in Indiana. This was something I wanted to be a part of." For Connor, his time at the Clinic was eye-opening. "I gained a deeper sense of empathy for those who experience unforeseen circumstances like serious health issues that lead them to desperate situations," he says. "Sometimes it only requires a little bit of time and effort to vastly change a client's outlook on their situation and their probability of achieving an outcome favorable to them."
Ethan Runnebohm worked with assisting clients in our Consumer Justice Program this summer. After his interview and meeting our staff, he knew this internship would be the right fit for him. Of his time at the Clinic, he says, "One of the most interesting and challenging parts of the internship for me was the sheer number of people who may need legal services but can not receive them." Starting his 2nd year of Law School, Ethan would love to continue volunteering for the Clinic. As for his future career, he says, "I am now considering a position in the nonprofit sector. I really enjoyed my time at the Clinic and the feeling I got from helping those who might otherwise be without legal options."
Alex Kay worked at our Project GRACE Expungement Help Desk this summer. A junior at Butler University, he is considering a career in law or the nonprofit field. Alex says, "The people who come in for help are really grateful and appreciative, which makes the job very rewarding and it is a special thing to be a part of." This internship and the work therein have been transformative for Alex, who says, "In the future I’d like to be a more considerate person, someone who has enthusiasm for the work they do and compassion for the people they help along the way, and I feel like my time at the Clinic has made me realize that these goals are important to me and that I can achieve them."
Caroline Bauer also worked with Project GRACE, helping people to get their criminal records expunged. For her, the Clinic's work aligned with her goals and beliefs on many different levels. She says, "[I] loved that the Clinic has a biblical perspective of showing mercy and fighting for justice. I think expungements are such a great way to give mercy and help people believe that they are not defined by the worst thing they have done." Currently a senior, Caroline plans to do Teach For America after she graduates and she believes that her time at the Clinic has helped her understand her own privilege better. "It is a privilege to get to choose a university, career path, a location, an internship, etc. A lot of the people we assist in the Help Desk do not have the opportunity to do such things, so it has made me extremely grateful," she says. "Before working at the Help Desk, I was aware of how broken the criminal justice system is, but seeing it first hand has definitely ignited my passion for justice."
Alejandra Martinez spent her summer assisting our staff in the Victim Justice Program. For her, learning more about what our clients have gone through was enlightening though sometimes very difficult. She says, "The most challenging thing is listening to victim's stories." After her internship, Alejandra is now more certain in her future goals. "Before my internship with VJP, I wasn't too sure on what type of career I wanted to pursue," Alejandra says. "I am more certain than before that I would like to pursue Law School in the near future."