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At LEAP, nearly 300 Mount Holyoke students present about their internships and research experiences. You will hear from future policy makers, activists, entrepeneurs, data scientists, teachers, researchers, and market analysts. Most will tell stories of unmitigated success and transformative learning. Others will share details of unexpected challenges they faced, and how they were required to shift and adapt in response. Students worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field. They will discuss important issues of social justice, relate how they met challenges of communication and expression in new contexts, and talk about how to find and succeed in summer internships.

LEAP is designed to give students who aspire to undertake internships and summer research the opportunity to learn from their peers. It is also for the whole Mount Holyoke community where family, friends, faculty, staff and our alumnae come together to celebrate the work and contributions of the presenters.

We are hugely impressed by students in College 211 and inspired by their individual success and collective learning. Their work in bringing the LEAP Symposium to fruition was exceptional. We thank the faculty, staff, alumnae, donors, and internship and research providers whose contributions have make this event possible.

LEAP presenters: Congratulations.
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Friday, October 20 • 12:30pm - 1:25pm
Justice for Whom? Advocacy, Defense and Law

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To these five panelists, an advocate is someone who supports, advises, defends, and protects the rights of others. Whether by working to obtain green cards for same-sex couples, representing minors in cases of parental abuse, or preventing someone from being evicted from public housing due to a criminal arrest, advocates play a crucial role in helping clients navigate complex administrative and legal systems. This summer, these panelists worked as advocates in different, and often competing, arenas. Their internships ranged from a district attorney’s office to non-profit family law, a public defense organization, an immigration law firm, and refugee resettlement services. Despite their differing positions working within and against various U.S. systems, these panelists learned the importance of representing clients in a way that centers clients' needs, desired outcomes, and complicated notions of ‘justice’.

avatar for Vanessa Rosa

Vanessa Rosa

Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies, Mount Holyoke College

avatar for Violet Fortier

Violet Fortier

Leading the Way on the Path to Citizenship, English Major
Following the election of Donald Trump and the administration’s subsequent immigration restrictions, individuals seeking U.S. citizenship face increasing difficulty when navigating institutions such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and United States Citizenship and Immigration... Read More →
avatar for Jenna


Victim Witness Advocate for the DA of Suffolk County, History and Psychology and Education Major
This summer, I interned for the District Attorney of Suffolk County in the Dorchester District Court. I was assigned to intern with Victim and Witness Advocates (VWAs), whose job is to orient those affected by crimes to the criminal justice system. Thanks to this incredible internship... Read More →
avatar for Juliana  LaMendola

Juliana LaMendola

Advocacy: Refugee Resettlement, Anthropology Major
Out of the 65.6 million displaced men, women and children around the world, less than 1% are resettled. Every person should have the right to a safe life, free from fear of persecution. Advocacy for refugees is necessary, obligatory, and is needed now more than ever before. Through... Read More →
avatar for Alondra Reyes

Alondra Reyes

Decriminalizing Poverty: Advancing a Holistic Model of Public Defense Law in the Bronx, Gender Studies and Politics Major
For those living in the overpoliced and underresourced community of the Bronx in New York City, contact with oppressive legal systems is often unavoidable. The Bronx Defenders--a non-profit public defense organization--works to combat this racialized and gendered criminalization of... Read More →

Friday October 20, 2017 12:30pm - 1:25pm EDT
Reese 304