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Introducing Gillian Menza – Immigration Attorney

Gillian was accepted into the Middlebury Language School’s Spanish School and received a full scholarship to attend the program as a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace.  Kathryn Davis Fellowships are awarded to individuals committed to promoting peace and justice in their communities.  The Middlebury College language program is a full immersion program.  Students sign a language pledge that they will commit to only speaking Spanish during the entire seven-weeks of the program.  Gillian decided to attend the program after spending the last 4 years providing immigration legal services to survivors of crime.  The majority of Gillian’s clients in this practice area speak Spanish.  Gillian’s goal to learn Spanish came from a recognition that being able to speak with clients in their native language was crucial to building trust and connection with her clients, especially when recounting some of the most difficult events of their lives.  Since returning from the program, Gillian has been communicating daily with her clients in Spanish, both written and orally.  During her time at the language school, Gillian was asked to give a presentation (in Spanish of course) to the school about her work as an immigration attorney at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.  The picture is of Gillian (center)with the other panelists.