Changing lives for refugees

“I’m exactly where I was hoping to be,” says Karen M. Andolina Scott, who advocates each year for as many as 500 refugees who have been forced to leave their home to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

“I’m exactly where I was hoping to be,” says Karen M. Andolina Scott '09, who advocates each year for as many as 500 refugees who have been forced to leave their home to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

After graduating from the law school’s joint program in law and social work, Scott practiced immigration law for several years. She eventually joined Journey’s End Refugee Services, in Buffalo, a not-for-profit organization that serves low-income clients applying for permanent residency in the United States and fighting deportation. She is now the Executive Director.

It can be difficult work, she acknowledges; refugees and other immigrants often come with tragic personal stories that need to be documented. But the impact of the work is its own reward.

“I hope to be able to educate people on what the refugee process is, who refugees are, how they benefit our community, and show that refugees want to work, want to bring their families here, want to become citizens,” Scott says. “I love seeing those moments of success when we reunite families or help clients become citizens. They feel like they are a part of something again. It’s truly remarkable work.”