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.
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.
Ryan Brunsink is a managing attorney for the Detained 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.
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.
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.
Fernanda Hernandez joined PIRC in August 2016 as the Office Assistant. Before starting with PIRC, Fernanda worked for four years at ACNB Bank as Customer Service Specialist. She graduated HACC with a degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences, with a concentration on Paralegal Studies in 2016, and is pursuing undergraduate degree at Bloomsburg University in Applied Science in Technical Leadership. Fernanda is fluent in Spanish, and received her DOJ accreditation in early 2018.
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.
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 Indigenous 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.
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.
Sarah Martin-Torres is the State Liaison for the Immigrant Survivors Project at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Temple University and has been providing immigration legal services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for nearly a decade as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative. Ms. Martin-Torres also coordinates the Immigrant Survivors Advocate Network (ISAN) and is fluent in Spanish.
Nadia Leon joined PIRC in September 2019 as the Program Assistant for the Immigrant Survivors Project. Nadia was the Low Intensity Support Services Community Coordinator for Penn-Mar Human Services for over 5 years. She graduated from Hostos Community College with a degree in applied science minoring in education in 2011. Nadia is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about helping others in the community face the obstacles and challenges they may encounter as immigrants.
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.
Karla M. Rios Orengo joined PIRC in July 2018 as Legal Advocate after serving as a volunteer for the Immigrant Survivors Project since October 2017. Karla has earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law, where she was recognized for her litigation skills, and her B.A., cum laude, in Pre-Law Studies with a minor concentration in Political Science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Karla is passionate about access to justice and equal application of law. She is currently pursuing her admission to Pennsylvania Bar and is fluent in Spanish.
Yudelkys Rodriguez De Vargas joined PIRC in September 2019 as a Legal Advocate. While in law school, Yudelkys was an IOLTA Fellow with PIRC during the summer of 2018 and a student attorney in the Community Law clinic at Penn State Dickinson School of Law where she represented low-income members of the local community during the year of 2018-2019. Yudelkys earned her Juris Doctor Degree with graduate certificate in Litigation And Dispute Resolution from The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law and her B.A. in Philosophy from John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY. Yudelkys is currently pursuing her admission to the Pennsylvania Bar. Yudelkys is fluent in Spanish.
Jazmin H. Hernandez joined PIRC in August 2019 as a Citizenship Coordinator. Jazmin is the daughter of Mexican parents who brought her to the U.S. in 2008 when she was 11 years old. She earned her Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies in June 2017. Jazmin continued her education at Central Penn College and graduated in March 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. She worked as a paralegal for a private law firm assisting in family petitions, asylum, and removal proceedings. She is passionate about helping the immigrant community as she is an immigrant herself and knows the obstacles and challenges they face. Jazmin is fluent in Spanish.