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February 2019 - Emily Biester

February 2019

Emily Biester

BA International Studies; BA Political Science; minor, French '13

Hometown: Oak Park, IL

University of Michigan Affiliations: Women's Rugby, synchronized swimming, Concentration Council: Political Science Representative, Freedom House Detroit

“During my senior year at the University of Michigan, I worked specifically with immigrant populations. In the fall semester, I took the course 'Anthropology of Undocumented Migration' while volunteering at the Freedom House Detroit, where I assisted in the translation of legal documents from French into English for refugees and asylum seekers in the process of resettlement. I then worked in an immigration law office, where one of my duties was to share clients’ stories on the firm's blog about how they successfully came to the United States. Learning about the diverse backgrounds of the people my law office served was a transformative experience that led me to the Peace Corps, where I served in Madagascar for 26 months as an education volunteer. I taught English at the local public high school while also engaging in community development projects targeted toward malaria prevention, gender equality, and teacher training. I’m currently working in Seattle, WA as an immigration services officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where I adjudicate individuals’ applications for adjustment of status and citizenship. Though it didn’t feel like a linear path at the time, interacting directly with immigrants while conducting research on migration policy through my International Studies major led me to my current position.”