Student Spotlight

Peru Native Gains Citizenship, Now Seeking to Help Others Succeed

Claudia Cadenillas '19

By Dayna Poskanzer
View Archives


Last summer Claudia Cadenillas '19 worked with an attorney to help her achieve citizen status. That attorney filed the papers incorrectly and confusion ensued. After some help from the Law School's  Immigration Law Clinic and Professor Alexandra Harrington, she achieved citizenship last month. 

Reciting the oath of allegiance with other naturalized citizens was an experience she expects to remember for her whole life.

"Achieving citizenship comes at the end of a long and complicated journey," Cadenillas said. "This journey has helped me realize how lucky I am to be pursuing a career where I can assist others in achieving the same goal." 

Before the experience, Cadenillas graduated from Stony Brook University in Long Island with a double major in sociology and psychology.  Somewhere in her senior year, she decided to come to Albany Law School.  This decision was reinforced after working within the foster care field, where she realized a law degree could help her achieve meaningful outcomes.

"I chose Albany Law School because of the location, employment rate, and from my overall experience since I stepped foot on campus." she said. "I toured other schools but I got a different feeling from Albany Law School.  It is a very welcoming community here."

Cadenillas is currently Vice President of the Latino Law Student Association (LALSA) on campus. She also translates documents in the Immigration Law Clinic, where students represent immigrants on a variety of issues, under the supervision of Professor Sarah Rogerson.

"This journey has helped me realize how lucky I am to be pursuing a career where I can assist others in achieving the same goal."

She spent the past summer with the Prisoners' Legal Services as an intern in the immigration office.  There she helped inmates who were either undocumented or legal permanent residents at risk of deportation to stay in the country. 

"Although immigration is definitely my passion, I am open to and interested in a wide range of career opportunities," said Cadenillas. "I feel that law school is the place to explore opportunities. If you have a moment in your legal career when you want to work for the district attorney's office or a civil service organization, this is the moment to do it. There are many other areas of law that I am interested in exploring, however, wherever I end up I know I will always find time to do immigration pro bono work one way or another."

She expects to work at a private firm after law school. "Working for a private law firm allows you to diversify so much with so many practice areas," she said.

Cadenillas is a member of the Government Law Review, a fellow for the Government Law Center, and an executive board member for the Albany Pro Bono Program. She looks forward to helping plan the Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition as an associate for the competition.




Claudia Cadenillas