Student Spotlight

Clerking, Studying, Guiding Whitewater Adventures

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Erica Nicole Rangel '12 is dividing her time this summer between a law office and the classroom - and the Hudson River Gorge, 16 miles of nearly continuous class III-IV rapids in the Adirondacks.

"The summer before law school I managed a nonprofit white water rafting company as part of a youth adventure program for inner city kids," she said, noting that she's also guided on a number of rivers in New York, Maine and Colorado.

Rangel, who has been a licensed whitewater rafting guide for nearly a decade, will spend two days a week on the water while working for Troy-based attorney Marc Ehrlich as a law clerk. She is also supervising a summer camp program and taking a nonprofit fundraising course at the University at Albany as part of a four-year joint degree program to earn a master of public administration degree in addition to her law degree.

She said that she hopes that her joint degree will give her the tools to "affect more people in more profound ways."

"After law school I'd like to pursue a career in international nonprofit work," she said. "Specifically, I'd like to work against human trafficking by helping to develop international policies through research, education and advocacy."

Since coming to Albany Law, Rangel, who is on her second term as president of the school's Amnesty International chapter, has organized and participated in fundraisers for organizations such as the Albany chapter of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, The Iraqi Refugee Project and The Women for Afghan Women's Well Project.

She spent half the summer after her first year of law school performing law reviews of child abuse allegations in a field placement with the New York State Office of Children & Family Services, and the other half researching foreclosure cases as an intern at the Empire Justice Center. She also worked as a research assistant for Professor James Gathii, the Governor George E. Pataki Professor of International Commercial Law at Albany Law.

Rangel held a variety of positions before enrolling in law school, including working as a legislative aid for a member of the House of Representatives in Denver, teaching English as a second language at a small college, serving a year with AmeriCorps, co-founding a group that provides resources to AmeriCorps members throughout Colorado and volunteering with organizations that help homeless and trafficked youth.