Laura C. Lopez McNulty has been part of PBRC volunteer team as interpreter and facilitator for Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project since 2021. This experience has connected her more with the resources and tools needed to better serve the immigrant community in Maryland. This summer 2023, Laura joined PBRC as a full-time Project Paralegal working with the same team she has volunteered for and learned from so much. She looks forward to assisting the team, her peers, and the community the best she as she grows by their side.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, came to the U.S. as a teenager and graduated H.S. in Missouri. I have lived in the DMV area since 2008 but have settled in Southern Maryland since 2018
What brought you to Maryland/Baltimore?
I had distant relatives living in the area. Southern Maryland (La Plata) felt like home since the first day I walked around its regional parks and the campus of the college I attend. (College of Southern Maryland La Plata Campus).
Where did you go to school and what was your major/focus?
I'm currently a part time student at CSM, my major is Government and Politics, and my interest is to work with immigrant, refugee communities as well as indigenous communities and sustainability work.
What are your interests/hobbies outside of PBRC?
Family time is a must for me! I try to give time to my nest (husband and son), I like to work out outdoors, podcasts, playground bounds with my son, meeting and catching up with friends and discovering new spots that I can explore with my son as well - we went to Van Gogh's experience last year and he loved it so much!
How did you get involved with PBRC?
A friend from Facebook shared a flyer, I clicked on it and noticed they needed interpreters for MILAP. That was at the end of the year in 2020, and the rest is history, I've been volunteering since then.
What were you doing prior to working here?
My work experience has been customer service and food and beverage. My most recent role was as a Guest Service Representative for Marriott International. I worked with them for 5 years
What do you do at PBRC?
I am a Project Paralegal for MILAP (Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project).
What is your proudest accomplishment? [Professional? Non-professional?]
Academically, I have grown a lot. The opportunities I have been given due to my academic growth through CSM had been quite remarkable, but I am very proud to stay connected to my core passion and interest after many years of social activism and hardships through my life as an immigrant and former undocumented/ mixed status person. To be able to have a position such as this current role and work with a team that is just as passionate for the work that they do is something that I never thought I could ever be a part of. I'm honored to be part of it.
What motivates you? Do you have a specific inspiration that led you to pursue community service and public interest work?
My life experience and the essence of what it means to be an immigrant in foreign lands, the stories that were shared with me since High school from classmates, former coworkers, people I've crossed paths within the immigrant rights movement. My own history goes back to my grandfather, his roots, and his resilience back home.
What has been your most meaningful experience with PBRC?
Every single legal clinic has given me a memorable experience. There is always a story that stays with you, a moment that you share with another person, and how you connect with them regardless of being just a channel of communication. This proves that the collective work at PBRC is really powerful and purposeful.
What developments within PBRC have you found most exciting or promising during your time?
I attended my first staff meeting and I appreciated the collaboration of different projects to work together, so their respective clients could have more access to more information and essential resources. I felt it was great initiative and leadership.
What do you appreciate about PBRC’s mission?
I appreciate the intention behind its purpose to give solid, genuine, and strong legal representation and resources to vulnerable communities.
What message would you give to people thinking about volunteering with PBRC?
It is a powerful experience where you learn so much from Maryland and the community, and it empowers you to build your own skillset and to be a better advocate and asset for yourself and others.