Staff

Veronica Serrato

Executive Director

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.

Melanie Torres

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.

Erin Fricker

Staff Attorney

Erin joined Project Citizenship in August 2019 as a Staff Attorney. Erin’s interest in immigration issues began after she studied abroad in India and worked in refugee resettlement. The great-granddaughter of immigrants, Erin previously worked as an immigration attorney at a legal services organization and for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Erin graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Boston College Law School.

Irene Egan

Director of Development

Irene Egan joined Project Citizenship in 2019 as the Director of Development. She has many years of experience in fund development for social services and health care organizations, most recently at Circle Home in Lowell.  She graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Journalism. As the granddaughter of immigrants from Slovakia who deeply appreciated their citizenship, she has had a lifelong interest in issues related to immigration and cultural competence. Her responsibilities include donor services and mobilizing support to grow Project Citizenship’s resources and impact.

Kat Roach

Communications and Data Manager

Kat joined Project Citizenship in July 2019 as the Communications and Data Manager. Her responsibilities include managing all social media, newsletters, and press as well as gathering data to demonstrate to funders. Kat previously served in the NAIP AmeriCorps program and continued to volunteer with PC even after her service year was done. She then went on to help manage another AmeriCorps program called AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts. With her personal ties to the process of citizenship as a child from Colombia, Kat is passionate about immigrants and the difference that they make in the U.S.

Molly Barstow

Community Programs Manager

Molly joined Project Citizenship in 2018 to oversee Project Citizenship’s outreach efforts. 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.

 

 

Belem Sanchez

Pro Bono Programs Manager

Belem Sanchez originally joined Project Citizenship as an AmeriCorps Member in 2018. In her new role, she will oversee firm workshops and our citizenship centers. 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. 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.

 

Sarah Plavcan

Staff Attorney

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.

Owen Diana

Development Associate

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.

Phara Darbouze

Intake Specialist/Haitian Creole Interpreter

Phara joined Project Citizenship in August of 2019 as the Intake Specialist/Haitian Creole interpreter. She is currently an undergrad student at Cambridge College majoring in Human Services, which she one day hopes will help her build her own nonprofit in Haiti, where her father is originally from. She joined Project Citizenship because she believes in our mission to help permanent residents become citizens. This mission is personal, as she derived citizenship through her father, who naturalized when she was a child. Phara also owns a travel and fashion blog called Darbie’s Chronicles, through which she shares her love of world travel and fashion.

 

Jake Benhabib

Boston University Law School N. Neal Pike Disability Rights Fellow

Jake joined Project Citizenship in 2019 as an N. Neal Pike Disability Rights Fellow. Jake’s interest in citizenship stems from the fact that he is descended from Cuban refugees and Sephardic Jewish immigrants from the Ottoman Empire. Jake earned a B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and a J.D. with a Concentration in International Law from Boston University School of Law. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan.

Emily Dasey

AmeriCorps Legal Advocate

Emily joined Project Citizenship in September 2019 as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocate. Emily attended law school to advocate for survivors of domestic violence and received her J.D. from New England Law. During law school, Emily worked primarily in family law and refugee and asylum-based immigration law in the hope of helping immigrants obtain safety and prosperity in the United States. Emily joined Project Citizenship to further pursue this goal and to assist immigrants in accessing the full benefits of citizenship.

 

Courtney Siverling

NAIP AmeriCorps Member

Courtney joined Project Citizenship in September of 2019 as a NAIP AmeriCorps Member. She obtained a degree in International Studies and French from Boston College, during which time she also spent a semester studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She has also worked with various nonprofits and is passionate about advancing the rights of immigrants.

 

Marlene Rojas

NAIP AmeriCorps Member

Marlene joined Project Citizenship as a NAIP AmeriCorps Member in September 2019. She is a former French language teacher and has a Master’s Degree in Sociology in Mexico. She worked on a research project about bi-national identity and nationality to support educational success for students living in the border region (Arizona-Sonora). After that experience, she decided to pursue a new career path on Human Rights and Immigration. Marlene was also an intern in the I-ACHR at the OAS and recently worked in a representative Mexican government office that provides free services to immigrants from Puebla in New York. Marlene was born and raised in Mexico and most of her family members are immigrants.

 

Sarah Correll

NAIP AmeriCorps Member

Sarah joined Project Citizenship in September 2019 as a NAIP Americorps Member. A gap year in Guatemala inspired Sarah to pursue her degree in Social Work at Eastern Kentucky University. Throughout her undergrad studies, she became involved in nonprofit service nationally and abroad. She makes frequent visits to Guatemala and Kenya to serve at-risk individuals under the age of eighteen in low-income environments and assists in developing a positive social, physical and emotional environment for minors in orphanage and medical settings. Sarah decided to serve at Project Citizenship because she believes in its mission of promoting the value of immigrants in American society.

Lina Adjout

College of Social Innovation Program Intern

Lina joined Project Citizenship in September of 2019 as a Program Intern through the College of Social Innovation. In her new role, she will research new outreach methods such as a citizenship ambassador program. Lina is currently studying Political Science/ International Relations at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. Lina has conducted research in North Africa as well as on the current Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East. As the daughter of immigrants and an immigrant herself, Lina is dedicated to serving others in the community who are looking to become citizens themselves.

Carolyn Osteen

Access to Justice Fellow

Carolyn is a retired partner with the Boston office of Ropes & Gray LLP and was a member of its tax department.  She joined the firm in 1970 and her practice has focused on exempt organizations, including representation of a number of colleges, universities, museums, and hospitals.  She speaks regularly on issues of charitable giving and tax and corporate problems of tax‑exempt organizations.

She has served as a member of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Public Charities Advisory Committee.  She is also a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and has served as a Regent of the American College of Tax Counsel and on the Governing Council of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association.  She has also served as a Chairman of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section.

Carolyn is an alumna of Wellesley College and holds LL.B. and LL.M. degrees from Duke University School of Law, where she serves as a member of the Board of Visitors.  Carolyn is a trustee of the Boston Athenaeum and Boston Preparatory Charter School’s support foundation. She serves in a volunteer capacity with various non-profit organizations including The Trustees of Reservations,  Historic Boston, Incorporated, and Native Plant Trust.

Next Citizenship Workshop

November 2019
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FREE Citizenship Workshop - Boston, MA
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FREE Citizenship Workshop - Boston, MA

Date & Time: 2019/11/25 / 4pm//5pm

Location: WilmerHale, 60 State Street Boston, MA 02109

FREE Citizenship Workshop - Lawrence, MA

Date & Time: 2019/12/12 / 10am//11am//1pm

Location: Lawrence CommunityWorks, 168 Newbury St, Lawrence MA 01841

FREE Citizenship Workshop - Boston, MA

Date & Time: 2019/12/17 / 4pm//5pm

Location: Ropes & Gray LLP, 800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199