Veronica Serrato joined Project Citizenship in 2014 as its first Executive Director.
Veronica’s interest in citizenship stems from the fact that she is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who became naturalized citizens. Veronica’s legal experience has focused on family law while at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, Casa Myrna Vasquez and Volunteer Lawyers Project. Veronica also has experience as a prosecutor, hearing officer for the Department of Children and Families and as a Lecturer at Boston University School of Law in the Legal Research and Writing Program. Veronica graduated from Harvard University and Boston University School of Law.
Director of Programs and Operations
Melanie joined Project Citizenship in 2015. She is the Director of Programs and Operations and a DOJ Accredited Representative at Project Citizenship. She manages citizenship workshops, immigrant outreach, grants to community partners, and finance. As the daughter of a naturalized citizen, her interest in immigration and citizenship has shaped her studies and career. Melanie graduated from Boston University with a degree in International Relations, and then spent some time working abroad in Latin America. Prior to her position at Project Citizenship, she worked as a Site Manager at Chelsea Community Schools, providing ESOL, arts and recreation courses for families of the Chelsea community. Melanie previously served on the Commission for Immigrant Rights and Citizenship for the City of Cambridge from 2016-2018.
Stephen joined Project Citizenship as Staff Attorney in 2018. Stephen comes to Project Citizenship having specialized in immigration and nationality law, with over five years of service in private practice. He has extensive experience representing detained and non-detained immigrants undergoing removal proceedings and in family-based petitions in both New England and greater New York City. Stephen’s primary role at Project Citizenship is to confront the wide-range of legal issues that arise for naturalization applicants and work collaboratively with community-based partners to provide legal support and up-to-date information to the immigrant communities of New England. Stephen earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. He is licensed in both Massachusetts and New York and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Peter joined Project Citizenship as an NAIP AmeriCorps member in September 2016. Since August 2017, he has served as Citizenship Coordinator. His responsibilities include conducting outreach in Boston’s immigrant communities, organizing citizenship workshops, representing clients at naturalization interviews, and coordinating pro bono opportunities for volunteer attorneys, He holds a degree in history from Boston College, where he was a resident of a Spanish-language dormitory. Peter has studied in the Middle East and in Latin America.
Molly joined Project Citizenship in 2018 as the Outreach Coordinator. Prior to coming to Project Citizenship, Molly had studied and worked in Morocco on-and-off since 2011, completing a Fulbright scholarship there from 2013-2014. She also completed her Master’s degree in Migration and Diaspora Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in the UK. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Northwestern University in 2013. Molly comes to Project Citizenship with a background in migration research and a strong interest in putting that knowledge to work to make a tangible impact on immigrants’ lives. Molly wholeheartedly believes that immigrants are integral to the cultural and economic fabric of U.S. society.
Bridget Feldmann joined Project Citizenship as an NAIP Americorps Fellow in September, 2018. The fellows support the Program Coordinators and Director with running the day to day operations of the office, organizing citizenship workshops, and engaging the eligible immigrant population through citizenship outreach. Bridget graduated from Bates College with a degree in Sociology in 2016, having completed a thesis on human rights and political memory in Chile. After working as an ESL teacher in Spain for a year, she joined the Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States, working on international women’s rights legislation and Inter-American diplomacy. As the granddaughter of Irish, Jewish and Cuban immigrants, she comes to Project Citizenship out of a desire to support and celebrate immigrants in the naturalization process.
Belem Sanchez joined Project Citizenship as an NAIP AmeriCorps Fellow in 2018. In her role, she will focus on volunteer management and law firm workshop support. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from the State University of New York at Geneseo. After college, she dove into women’s healthcare access working for a nonprofit focused on providing reproductive healthcare access in the south. She was motivated to begin her work in immigration due to the current political climate and her strong personal ties to immigrant communities. As a first generation American, she has always had a passion for immigrant rights. She plans to attend law school next fall to focus on immigration law and continue to serve immigrant communities.
Dani joined Project Citizenship as an NAIP AmeriCorps fellow in the fall of 2018. Her primary responsibilities include client support, community workshops and outreach, and communications. She received a degree in Economics from Boston College, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, as well as travel to the Mexico-Guatemala border to study human rights and migration in Latin America. Dani spent the past year working towards social justice in the Boston Public Schools system, building social-emotional skills and youth leadership in Jamaica Plain. As many of her family members immigrated to the United States from Italy during her lifetime, Dani believes passionately that immigrants make our country stronger.
AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts Fellow
Sarah joined Project Citizenship as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocate in January 2019 after graduating from Harvard Law School. Her primary responsibilities at Project Citizenship include navigating various legal aspects of the naturalization process, especially for disabled applicants, and organizing the representation of clients at naturalization interviews. During law school, Sarah worked primarily in criminal defense and prisoners’ rights. She saw how for many of her clients, regardless of the seriousness of the criminal charges they were facing, their immigration status was their biggest concern. She was inspired to join Project Citizenship in order to confront this challenge to her clients at its source, and because she believes that immigrants are essential to keep America’s communities and democracy thriving.
Fernanda joined Project Citizenship in March 2019 as a Legal Intern. She is a second-year law student at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to law school, Fernanda worked as a Legal Assistant and has a background in family immigration and nationality law. Fernanda’s primary responsibilities at Project Citizenship include assessing eligibility and potential legal issues for naturalization applicants, and representing clients during naturalization interviews before USCIS, under the supervision of an attorney.
Chamika Wanigatunga joined Project Citizenship in 2018 as a Graduate Consultant from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Chamika works primarily in analytics and hopes to use data to help Project Citizenship create a coherent outreach strategy as well as improve operational efficiency. Before enrolling in graduate school, Chamika worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the visitor experience division as the museum underwent a major rebranding and a controversial admissions policy change. Chamika immigrated from the United States from Sri Lanka in 1998. He became a permanent resident in 2008, and took his oath of citizenship in 2014. He received his BA from Hunter College in 2015, and will earn his MPA from Brown University in 2019
Milourdes Augustin joined Project Citizenship in the fall of 2018. She studied Communications and Media in school and has a strong passion for the arts and social justice. As an immigrant herself and a recipient of derivative citizenship, she is eager to do her part in helping folks navigate the complex system towards obtaining their citizenship.
Owen Diana joined Project Citizenship in the fall of 2018. Owen graduated from Oberlin College in 2017, majoring in Latin American Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Since then, he has volunteered at numerous workshops with Project Citizenship as a Spanish translator. In addition to his volunteer work, Owen is the founder and editor of Just For Kicks, a blog about soccer around the world.
Heather joined Project Citizenship in 2018 as a Development Intern. She is a senior at Emmanuel College studying Political Science and Sociology. This fall, Heather will be assisting with development and fundraising, as well as communications and social media for Citizenship Day. She has studied in Ireland and has interned with the Consulate General of Ireland. As an intern at Project Citizenship, she hopes to further develop her skills in human services and advocate for the rights of immigrants.
Sofia joined Project Citizenship in 2019 as a Program Team Intern. She is a senior at Emmanuel College and studies Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics. At Project Citizenship, she will be assisting in data management. She has previously taken courses that brought her to Cuba and Peru where she learned about the Politics of Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. She is very interested in Latin American Politics and the stories of immigrants from these areas. At Project Citizenship she hopes to build on her office skills as well as learn new ways to advocate for immigrants.
Stephen joined Project Citizenship in 2019 as a Program Team Intern. He is a senior at Emmanuel College and studies Sociology and Psychology with a concentration in Development. During his internship he will be assisting with volunteer and data management. He has previously spent a semester in Spain and has interned for Catholic Charities helping with food security and homelessness prevention in Boston. He is excited to gain more insight into the naturalization process and support immigrants on their journey to citizenship.
Benjamin Kalombo joined Projected Citizenship in 2018 as a high school Intern. He is a sophomore attending Cristo Rey Boston and taking many classes while working here. Benjamin’s origins lay in Africa. Both of his parents come from Democratic Republic of Congo. That is why he values the help and opportunities given by Project Citizenship to immigrants. This year Benjamin will be helping with various administrative tasks and other duties to prepare for citizenship workshops and in office appointments.
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