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Mehtasim Mahfuz’s first memories that inspired her to become an attorney were formed after September 11, 2001. Following the terrorist attacks, the immigration offices in her hometown of Nashville, Tenn., that she often frequented with her parents, became hostile overnight.
“I remember seeing my parents, immigrants from Bangladesh, and other good people mistreated and I wanted to become someone who could help them,” she said.
Mehtasim ’20 earned her bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University, where she studied Asian and Asian American Studies. While at Stony Brook, she also learned Korean, adding to the list of languages she already knew: Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu.
She realized that at Albany Law School she could develop the knowledge to become a successful immigration or international human rights attorney. Her long-term career goals to help people both internationally and domestically inspired her to take on two research-based internships this past summer—at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, in partnership with Albany Law’s Government Law Center, and the Center for International Development.
She also serves as a research assistant in the Government Law Center, where she researches immigration issues to provide guidance for the policymakers in cities and towns.
In addition to Albany Law being a place to develop her career goals, Mehtasim found a community in the Muslim Law Student Association, where she serves as President, and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, where she is the Social Media Chair. “As a minority anywhere, you can sometimes feel like an outcast but having a group you can speak to always helps.”
She plans, with the Muslim Student Association, to host an
event that will focus on teaching non-Muslim attorneys how to interact with
Muslim attorneys and clients by discussing religious standards and preferences.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to network with local Muslim attorneys in the
area, and to provide students the opportunity to educate them on our professional culture."
Mehtasim’s advice to first-year law students: get involved in activities like moot court, or other practical law experiences that teach students
skills they can use as attorneys. Her
own involvement in moot court as a first year law student led to her position
as the Donna Jo Morse Client Counseling Chair, where she organized the student competition.
“I really enjoyed watching upperclassmen compete, whether it was appellate
advocacy or a criminal trial. You can learn by observing actively.”
This summer, Mehtasim is looking to go abroad for an
internship to focus on international law and hopefully use one of her many
fluent languages as an advocate for those in need.