ADMINISTRATION

PIRC Executive Director

Mary Studzinski joined the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center as Executive Director with a background that includes business marketing, nonprofit and government experience. After receiving her MBA in Finance from the University of Maryland, Mary worked in Financial Services Marketing for more than a decade, first for Citibank and then in private consulting. She moved to York in 1997 and volunteered on projects in the community before joining the staff of Congressman Todd Platts as his immigration specialist.  Her work in the community as a congressional staffer allowed her to see the daily impact of immigration laws and policies and reinforced her belief that each person should have an equal ability to access our system of justice.

Office Manager

Jes Snyder started working for PIRC in August of 2018.  Prior to joining the team at PIRC, she spent over 15 years as a Human Resource Director for a privately held organization.  She has her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) certification from the HR Certification Institute as well as her SHRM Certified Professional designation from the Society for Human Resource Management.

DETENTION PROGRAMS

Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Managing Attorney - Detained Programs

Ryan Brunsink  is a managing attorney for the Legal Orientation Program. He joined PIRC in March of 2015, after serving as a judicial fellow in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia where he regularly drafted legal opinions. Ryan graduated, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in May of 2014. At Pepperdine, Ryan successfully represented vulnerable clients with fear-based claims through Pepperdine’s Asylum and Refugee Clinic. He worked as a summer law clerk at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, a prominent immigration firm in Los Angeles, and provided pro bono legal aid to indigent clients through Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles during his time in law school. Ryan obtained a BA in Economics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in 2008, and remains an avid Wahoo fan. Ryan is proficient in Spanish.  

Senior Attorney - Detained Programs

Christina L. Powers joined PIRC in January of 2017 after several years as a private immigration attorney in Pittsburgh, PA.  She represented numerous clients pro bono, including over 100 refugees.  She also mentored several PIRC volunteer attorneys.  Previously, Christina worked as a staff attorney at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Florence, Arizona. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a Public Interest Scholar and Dean’s Scholar. Christina has a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Political Science from the University of Iowa.Ms. Powers is fluent in Spanish.

Staff Attorney - Detained Programs

Andani Alcantara Diaz joined the Detained Programs at PIRC in October 2017. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine School of Law in May 2017. At UC Irvine, Andani worked with detainees and other vulnerable immigrant populations through the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Andani worked as a summer law clerk at the ACLU of Southern California and as a judicial extern in the Southern District of New York. She earned her BA in History at Columbia University in 2011. Andani is fluent in Spanish.

Staff Attorney- Community Defense Project

Alexa Siegel joined PIRC in September 2017 as the Community Defense Coordinator. Alexa has a human resources background, and graduated from Boston College Law School in 2010, where she did clinical work with detainees through the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project.  Alexa worked as a Summer Law Clerk at the ACLU of Maryland, Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts, and Graves & Doyle, a private immigration firm in Boston.  She earned her B.A. at Towson University, and studied abroad in Cuba, Ecuador, and Peru.  Alexa is proficient in Spanish.

Staff Attorney-Detained Programs

Ben Hooper joined the Detained Programs at PIRC in January 2018.  As a legal aid attorney and manager since 1999, Ben’s advocacy work has included federally subsidized housing, mortgage foreclosure, domestic violence and immigration.  Immediately prior to joining PIRC, Ben worked at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence where he coordinated the Civil Legal Representation Initiative, providing legal service to victims of domestic violence in twenty-two counties across Pennsylvania.  Ben earned his J.D. degree from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in Political Science at Binghamton University.

Legal Assistant/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative

Fernanda Castillo joined PIRC in August 2016 as the Office Assistant.  Before starting with PIRC, Fernanda worked for four years at ACNB Bank as Customer Service Specialist.  She graduated HACC with a degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences, with a concentration on Paralegal Studies in 2016, and is pursuing undergraduate degree at Bloomsburg University in Applied Science in Technical Leadership.  Fernanda is fluent in Spanish, and received her DOJ accreditation in early 2018.

IMMIGRANT SURVIVORS PROGRAM

Project Director/Managing Attorney

Allison Little Sun joined PIRC in September 2018 as the Project Director/Managing Attorney of the Immigrant Survivors Project.  Prior to PIRC, Allison was the Coordinator of Immigration Services at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, where she created and oversaw the statewide immigration program, concentrating primarily on cases involving low-income survivors of domestic violence and crime.  She also served as an AmeriCorps attorney in Boston with Project Citizenship, focusing on naturalization.  Allison earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2013, with a graduate certificate in Human Rights.  During her time at UConn, her experiences included interning at the Hartford EOIR and with a Colorado nonprofit providing legal services to detained immigrants.  Allison graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Economics and Government & Politics in 2010.  She is currently licensed in Massachusetts and Oklahoma.

Statewide Liason/Department of Justice (DOJ) Accredited Representative - Immigrant Survivors Project

Sarah Martin-Torres earned her Bachelor’s degree in Generalist Social Work at Temple University in 2007.  She went on to complete Temple University’s Master of Social Work program with a specialization in women’s issues and feminist community organizing. Ms. Martin-Torres has worked as a community organizer advocating for the rights of undocumented Latina women in Maryland, and as a legal advocate assisting in the filing of U Visa and VAWA Self Petitions on behalf of foreign born victims of domestic violence.  She is fluent in Spanish.

Legal Advocate- Immigrant Survivors Project

Rosa Perez-Lupian graduated from Delone Catholic School in 1992 and attended DeVry University.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents.   In 2005, she began her 12 year career as Bilingual Client Advocate and Community Education Coordinator at YWCA Hanover Safe Home, where she established a robust program of community outreach, speaking to thousands of students as well as adult groups about healthy relationships and intimate partner violence.  While developing her skills as an advocate, Mr. Perez-Lupian found that assisting immigrant victims of crime brought deep satisfaction.  Through this work, she formed a strong bond with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, where she began to work in 2017.

Legal Advocate- Immigrant Survivors Project

Karla M. Rios-Orengo, joined the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center in October 2017 as a Legal Advocate. Karla earned her Juris Doctor Degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, School of Law in 2016 and graduate Magna Cum Laude with a recognition for her litigation skills. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law Studies with a minor concentration in Political Science from Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico where she also graduate with several honors. Her legal experience include immigration, family, criminal, and administrative law. Passionate about access to justice and equal application of law. Karla is native Spanish speaker, and currently is pursuing her admission to Pennsylvania Bar.

Coordinator - Immigrant Survivors Project

Karla M. Kiefer: Born in Ecuador, raised in Argentina, and relocated to Lancaster in 2001. In 2016, Karla graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in Spanish and a concentration in Neuroscience. After college, Mrs. Kiefer took the lead role in developing the women’s program at Bench Mark Program (a grass roots organization that serves with at-risk teens). She has experience working with DACA recipients and is passionate about helping others, above all else. Mrs. Kiefer joined PIRC in August of 2018 as the Statewide Coordinator.