Rising Miami Law 3L and HOPE Fellow Paige Reese is spending the summer in the Dominican Republic where the average daily temperature is 78 degrees and Merengue and Bachata are the national music and dance. But Reese is not a vacationer basking in the tropical sun and island temptations, but rather advocating American citizenship for Dominican residents through her work at the U.S. Embassy.
After graduating from Boston University and becoming a Miami Law student, the Louisville, Kentucky native wasted no time lining her resume with pro bono experiences. The summer following Reese's 1L year, she interned at the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This experience, in conjunction with externships at the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard, led her to apply to work as a Hope Fellow for the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic.
Reese knew that she wanted to use her legal education to help others after an externship where Reese felt that her daily interactions were limited to speaking with attorneys in the office and dealing with mountains of paper. "I realized I needed to do something that allowed me to interact with people and help them", said Reese." At the end of the day, I want to know that I've made a difference in someone's life."
Reese has proven to be a woman of her word. As a HOPE Fellow this summer, she has worked on a variety of projects involving diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. She has also worked on projects that involve applicants seeking both immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas for entrance into the U.S.
The ball does not stop there. Reese has assisted American citizens who are incarcerated in Dominican jails and is currently working on a case in the Dominican court system involving the death of an American citizen during a cosmetic procedure.
The HOPE Fellows Program allows public interest minded students such as Reese to create summer jobs across the globe that effectuate change via initiatives with local, national, and public interest agencies. Reese undoubtedly fits this profile because of her dedication to help others develop cross-cultural connections around the globe. Reese’s daily interactions with the Dominican people made her realize how truly fortunate we are to live in the United States.
"At the Embassy, I'm in constant contact with visa applicants who are truly desperate to start a new life in the United States", said Reese. "It's heart-wrenching to see some dreams ended before they've even begun, but it's encouraging to watch those seeking to find a better life in the United States become empowered to achieve their dream."
Reese looks forward to working in foreign services upon graduation from Miami Law.
Paige Reese (Photo: Miami Law)