ADMINISTRATION

PIRC Executive Director

Mary Studzinski joined the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center as Executive Director with a background that includes business marketing, nonprofit and government experience. After receiving her MBA in Finance from the University of Maryland, Mary worked in Financial Services Marketing for more than a decade, first for Citibank and then in private consulting. She moved to York in 1997 and volunteered on projects in the community before joining the staff of Congressman Todd Platts as his immigration specialist.  Her work in the community as a congressional staffer allowed her to see the daily impact of immigration laws and policies and reinforced her belief that each person should have an equal ability to access our system of justice.

PIRC Deputy Director for Advancement

Courtney Lewis joined PIRC in January of 2019 as Deputy Director for Advancement with a background in nonprofit fundraising and communications.  Prior to joining PIRC, she spent six years at a federally qualified health center in York, PA where she managed the development department and worked closely with vulnerable populations throughout Adams, Lancaster and York counties.  Courtney obtained a BS in Speech Communication and an MS in Emergency Management/Crisis Response from Millersville University.  She serves on the board of directors for The Arch Street Center in Lancaster, PA. 

Office Manager

Jes Snyder started working for PIRC in August of 2018.  Prior to joining the team at PIRC, she spent over 15 years as a Human Resource Director for a privately held organization.  She has her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) certification from the HR Certification Institute as well as her SHRM Certified Professional designation from the Society for Human Resource Management.

DETENTION PROGRAMS

Managing Attorney - Detention Programs

Ryan Brunsink  is a managing attorney for the Detention Program. He joined PIRC in March of 2015, after serving as a judicial fellow in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia where he regularly drafted legal opinions. Ryan graduated, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in May of 2014. At Pepperdine, Ryan successfully represented vulnerable clients with fear-based claims through Pepperdine’s Asylum and Refugee Clinic. He worked as a summer law clerk at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, a prominent immigration firm in Los Angeles, and provided pro bono legal aid to indigent clients through Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles during his time in law school. Ryan obtained a BA in Economics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in 2008, and remains an avid Wahoo fan. Ryan is proficient in Spanish.  

Staff Attorney - Detention Programs

Andani Alcantara Diaz joined the Detained Programs at PIRC in October 2017. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine School of Law in May 2017. At UC Irvine, Andani worked with detainees and other vulnerable immigrant populations through the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Andani worked as a summer law clerk at the ACLU of Southern California and as a judicial extern in the Southern District of New York. She earned her BA in History at Columbia University in 2011. Andani is fluent in Spanish.

Staff Attorney-Detention Programs

Ben Hooper joined the Detained Programs at PIRC in January 2018.  As a legal aid attorney and manager since 1999, Ben’s advocacy work has included federally subsidized housing, mortgage foreclosure, domestic violence and immigration.  Immediately prior to joining PIRC, Ben worked at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence where he coordinated the Civil Legal Representation Initiative, providing legal service to victims of domestic violence in twenty-two counties across Pennsylvania.  Ben earned his J.D. degree from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in Political Science at Binghamton University.

Staff Attorney-Detention Programs

Melissa Vega joined the Detained Programs at PIRC in April 2019. After graduating with honors from Widener University Commonwealth Law School, Melissa clerked for The Honorable Mary Hannah Leavitt of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for three years. Upon completing her clerkship, Melissa set up her practice as a sole practitioner, representing clients in family-based petitions, naturalization, TPS/DACA, non-immigrant visa applications and removal defense. Immediately prior to joining PIRC, she practiced immigration & naturalization law in the Houston, Texas, area for three years. Melissa is fluent in Spanish.

Legal Orientation Program Manager/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative

Fernanda C. Hernandez joined PIRC in August of 2016 and started her new position as Legal Orientation Program Manager for the Detention Programs in May 2019 .  Fernanda graduated HACC with an Associate's degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences, with a concentration on Paralegal Studies in 2016.  She plans on graduating in Fall 2019 from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Science in Technical Leadership.  Fernanda is fluent in Spanish, and received her DOJ accreditation in 2018.

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

Project Director/Managing Attorney-Immigrant Survivors Project

Allison Little Sun joined PIRC in September 2018 as the Managing Attorney, Community Programs and Project Director, Immigrant Survivors Project.  Prior to PIRC, Allison was the Coordinator of Immigration Services at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, where she created and oversaw the statewide immigration program, assisting low-income survivors of domestic violence and crime.  She also served as an AmeriCorps in Boston, focusing on naturalization.  Allison earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, with a graduate certificate in Human Rights, and her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Economics and Government & Politics.  She is currently licensed in Massachusetts and Oklahoma.

Supervising Attorney, South Central PA-Immigrant Survivors Project

Kate Bertino joined PIRC in December 2018 as a supervising attorney for the Immigrant Survivors Project. Prior to joining PIRC, Ms. Bertino worked as a private immigration attorney in Boston, Massachusetts. She focused on family immigration, asylum, and removal work.  Ms. Bertino received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts in 2015. During her time at Suffolk, she worked at a non-profit focusing on naturalization and in private immigration practice.  She was a member of the Ingenious Peoples Rights Clinic at Suffolk where she worked on international human rights issues and state advocacy campaigns. She received her B.A. in International Relations from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 2012.  Ms. Bertino is licensed in Massachusetts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

 

 

Staff Attorney, Western PA-Immigrant Survivors Project

Ashley L. Springsteen, joined PIRC in February 2019 as a staff attorney for the Immigrant Survivors Project. Prior to PIRC, Ashley served as an AmeriCorps Equal Justice Works Immigration Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, where she launched a successful immigration program focused on providing holistic legal services to low-income immigrant and refugee populations in Western New York. Ashley earned her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with graduate certificate in International and Comparative Law  and her B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Ashley is currently licensed in Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. 

Statewide Liason/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative - Immigrant Survivors Project

Sarah Martin-Torres earned her Bachelor’s degree in Generalist Social Work at Temple University in 2007.  She went on to complete Temple University’s Master of Social Work program with a specialization in women’s issues and feminist community organizing. Ms. Martin-Torres has worked as a community organizer advocating for the rights of undocumented Latina women in Maryland, and as a legal advocate assisting in the filing of U Visa and VAWA Self Petitions on behalf of foreign born victims of domestic violence.  She is fluent in Spanish.

Legal Advocate/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative- Immigrant Survivors Project

Rosa Perez-Lupian graduated from Delone Catholic High School in 1992 and attended DeVry University.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents.   In 2005, she began her 12 year career as Bilingual Client Advocate and Community Education Coordinator at YWCA Hanover Safe Home, where she established a robust program of community outreach, speaking to thousands of students as well as adult groups about healthy relationships and intimate partner violence.  While developing her skills as an advocate, Mr. Perez-Lupian found that assisting immigrant victims of crime brought deep satisfaction.  Through this work, she formed a strong bond with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, where she began to work in November 2017.

Legal Advocate/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative- Immigrant Survivors Project

Karla M. Rios-Orengo joined PIRC as a volunteer in October 2017 until she became a Legal Advocate for the Immigrant Survivors Project in July 2018. Karla earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from the School of Law of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico where she also earned her B.A. in Pre-Law Studies with a minor concentration in Political Science. She is passionate about access to justice and equal application of law, which led her to work with immigrant survivors. She is fluent in Spanish.

Statewide Coordinator - Immigrant Survivors Project

Karla M. Kiefer: Born in Ecuador, raised in Argentina, and relocated to Lancaster in 2001. In 2016, Karla graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in Spanish and a concentration in Neuroscience. After college, Mrs. Kiefer took the lead role in developing the women’s program at Bench Mark Program (a grass roots organization that serves with at-risk teens). She has experience working with DACA recipients and is passionate about helping others, above all else. Mrs. Kiefer joined PIRC in August of 2018 as the Statewide Coordinator.

Citizenship & Clinical Coordinator-Citizenship

Sarah Riendeau joined PIRC in February 2019 as our Citizenship Coordinator. She graduated in 2014 from University of Rochester with a BA in International Relations with a specialization in conflict and migration. After college, she served in AmeriCorps as a Citizenship Instructor and Paralegal at a non-profit law office in Pittsburgh, PA. In this position she gained extensive knowledge of the citizenship process. Following this position, she served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Northern Macedonia teaching English. Recently, she volunteered with newly arrived refugees in Greece for several months helping them assimilate to European culture. She will be coordinating with the York County Literacy Council to provide citizenship services to those eligible.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ANDREW MAHON, ESQUIRE
Board President
Law Office of Troy J Mattes

 

CLASINA HOUTMAN, ESQUIRE
Board Vice President
York Co Public Defender’s Office

 

KATHERINE MAHON, M.D.
Board Secretary
Sayre Health Center

 

SUSAN BOUTIN
Board Treasurer
Community Volunteer

 

ANGUS LOVE, ESQUIRE
Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

 

LEANNE MILLER, ESQUIRE
CGA Law Firm

 

RUSS WERT
Edward Jones

 

CAROL STOWELL
Community Volunteer

 

RAMON ESCUDERO
Consultant

 

GABRIELA De HART
York City School District