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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.
avatar for Alondra Reyes

Alondra Reyes

Gender Studies and Politics Major
Decriminalizing Poverty: Advancing a Holistic Model of Public Defense Law in the Bronx
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 poverty by holistically representing low-income clients in the county’s criminal, family, immigration, and housing courts. As a Civil Legal Advocate Intern, I advised individuals and families facing the many legal entanglements that come with a criminal arrest. Whether by advocating for clients in homeless shelter and public assistance cases, correcting criminal record errors, or retrieving clients’ property confiscated by police, I learned how to navigate legal and bureaucratic institutions in order secure material resources and desired life outcomes for clients. Furthermore, I learned the importance of practicing public defense in a way that challenges the often-elitist nature of legal services by centering the needs and leadership of community members most affected.