Interning at the Fordham Law Clinic

by Joshua Somrah FCLC ‘20

During my junior year at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, I worked at Lincoln Square Legal Services, Inc., better known as the Fordham Law Clinic. I completed various tasks such as manning the front desk, doing rounds, keeping track of the daily messages and reminders, operating the console that transfers calls, verifying visitors, answering phone calls, taking messages, completing intakes, processing faxes and mail, scheduling meetings, maintaining inventory, monitoring simulations, filing motions in court, and working on special projects from time to time.

         At times completing all of my responsibilities seemed a bit overwhelming because people’s lives were on the line. For example, some of the phone calls I would answer were from potential clients who wanted the Clinic’s pro bono services, but other calls were from clients who were already utilizing the Clinic’s pro bono services for help with their various situations. I had to handle every call with care and provide everyone I spoke with on the phone with correct information.

         My favorite responsibility during my time at the Fordham Law Clinic was filing motions in court. This was an aspect of my job that put me closest to actual legal work because I was responsible for delivering motions to different courts around Manhattan and sometimes in the outer boroughs. Sitting inside the Fordham Law Clinic, it was easy to develop a routine, but when I was sent to file motions in court I felt excited to go to places where other legal work was being done. Filing motions in court allowed me to feel as though I was truly making a tangible difference in the lives of the clients of the Fordham Law Clinic.

Seeing the individual and personalized expertise that the full-time professors, who are the practicing-supervising attorneys, imparted to their students is something that will always stick with me from my time at the Fordham Law Clinic. Although I was only an undergraduate student working there, the professors in the Clinic still made an effort to talk to me and teach me whatever they could. Knowledge can come in various forms through various channels, and I was truly grateful for the chance to work at the Fordham Law Clinic. It was an amazing opportunity

Lessons in Cold-Calling

by Natalie Grammer, FCLC ’21

Hi, my name is Natalie Grammer and I’m calling from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation. How are you? (wait for a response) Is there a manager or store owner I could speak with? (wait) I’m just reaching out to see if you would be interested in participating in our upcoming Week of Hope, a mental health awareness campaign, which culminates in our annual 5K Race of Hope on Sunday, August 4th 

These words, shakily spoken on my end of a landline telephone, left my mouth at least 506 times in the span of my first 50 hours of work this summer. The script became so ingrained in my brain that I didn’t have to reference my initial training document to write the above paragraph. When I started to write: “Hi, my name is,” the rest of the script just fell into place. 

This summer I interned at the Hope for Depression Research Foundation: a mental health nonprofit based in New York City. At the office, I spent the majority of my 10:00am-2:00pm shift cold-calling the small businesses of Southampton, NY. Southampton hosts HDRF’s biggest fundraising event of the summer: our annual 5K race. Prior to this one race, we put on a series of community engagement and awareness campaigns consolidated as the Week of Hope.  My job was to recruit stores and businesses on the main streets of the town to participate by agreeing to let HDRF place a large yellow “HOPE” balloon in front of individual storefronts. No donation was required to participate in this campaign; the town of Southampton had approved it, the balloons were eco-friendly, anchored down, and reusable, and we would set up and take down the balloon for participating businesses. While this may seem like a win-win situation (we get participation in an HDRF initiative, we spark a conversation about mental health through a visual marketing campaign, and businesses merely have to offer agreement to participate), the conversational dynamic of the cold call complicated my task. 

Not many business owners and managers like to be asked, unsolicited, unprepared, to participate in a non-profit campaign. Especially, not when they don’t immediately know that you, the cold caller, are not asking for money. Naturally, this led to a wide array of responses on the other end of the phone. From screaming at me that I didn’t want people to be able to afford their rent (again, I did not ask for donations), to laughing that they didn’t believe in depression, to enthusiastically agreeing to participate and thanking us as an organization for doing important work, I was constantly surprised by each unique response to the same set of words presented in the same way. 

Cold calling –– a term which I learned to expand to include pitching the non-profit and our events to Southampton locals in person –– if I may be so bold, dishabituated me to fear. No matter who I called, if I had called them before, what time of day I called, if I was interacting with someone on the phone or explaining the race in person, I never knew what a person’s reaction to me would be. I had to live in anticipation and not let it distract me from my goal: getting people to engage with Hope for Depression. 

Before this summer, I was terrified of making a phone call, not to mention calling a stranger to ask them for something. I couldn’t call people. It got to the point that if my takeout food delivery order got messed up, I would make my roommate call the restaurant. Now, I can call people. In fact, I offer to make a call when someone else won’t. This change may seem small, but cold calling helped me overcome a very real fear that I had. 

Both the Race and Week of Hope ended with participation and fundraising numbers that exceeded our goals. The Week saw a nearly 200% increase in business participation, and the Race saw over 750 participants attend and raised over $280,000. Even though I felt my heart race for half of the summer as I dialed a new number or walked into a new store, I can’t help but feel like my cold calling made a difference to the Race and to me.

*Click here for the second part of Natalie’s story.

Finding a Job/Finding Yourself

by Gillian Russo, FCLC ‘21

To borrow an extremely over-quoted line from Hamilton, “There’s nothing like summer in the city,” but I no longer have to take the musical’s word for it. I lived and worked here full-time for the first time this past summer, having landed an internship at Mood of Living magazine. The publication is an online platform focused on stories of sustainable companies in the food, travel, fashion, and lifestyle industries. The job of editorial interns such as myself is to write these feature stories, copy-edit others’ work, attend industry events, and do organizational tasks — we are interns after all.

I was interested in the internship as a means of building my portfolio and gaining writing experience on a topic that interests me. I’m particularly passionate about theatre journalism (if my journalism major and theatre minor are any indication), but I also thought I’d be happy with a job anywhere within the soft-news “lifestyle” sector, as opposed to politics or economics.

Now, I had a fruitful internship experience at MoL. I built a great network, which is all I could have asked of my first position in the city where I want to settle once I graduate. I learned a lot from working there: in addition to honing my editorial skills, I dabbled in social media management, marketing/business, and web development. I can now take all these skills, which I would not have gained from a strictly editorial internship, to future jobs. But one thing I learned stuck out to me above all: “lifestyle,” in the broadest sense, isn’t my thing.

Attending industry events and talking to professionals in all these different fields was enjoyable. In fact, going to trade shows and fashion expositions was one of my favorite parts of the job. But when I sat back down in the office to follow up with these home-furnishing and fashion and travel brands to potentially write about them, well… I realized I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought. I went into this summer believing I’d be happy in any at-least-somewhat editorial job even if it had nothing to do with the arts, as long as it incorporated other cultural, lifestyle sectors like fashion, home, or travel. Now I’ve found it’s the other way around — I’d be open to different opportunities in the arts sector, even if they’re not strictly journalistic. I never thought I would be interested in development or social media or marketing before entering MoL. While none of those became my top interest, I found myself enjoying that work this summer, but I knew I’d enjoy it more if it pertained to a field I had more interest in.

In the summer course I took in conjunction with this job, my professor talked often about “doing what you are”: that is, figuring out your strengths, passions, and personality style, and taking them into account when searching for a position. I figured out a lot about who I am between the job, the class, and my other summer activities — one of which was continuing my ongoing gig as a show reviewer. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. I don’t want to neglect opportunities that may present themselves. But I now have a better grasp of where I’d like to see myself going forward.

Sometimes you have to do what you aren’t to figure out what you are. I can’t say I fully know who I’m going to be yet. All I can say is that my vision got clearer thanks to my time at MoL, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. Who knows — maybe I’ll have to write about Broadway-inspired home decor someday, and I’ll be prepared.

Interning with ICE

by Anonymous

Since Homeland Security has been a popular topic of conversation as of late, you’ve probably heard a lot about the agency. That being said, have you ever wondered what it’s really like inside?

Well, as a current intern with the Department of Homeland Security, I can provide you with a bit of insight.

To start off, I’d like to give you a quick crash course on Homeland Security since you might not know too much about the agency and what it actually does.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began operations on March 1, 2003, making it a fairly new agency. The formation of the department was proposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The department was meant to unify multiple divisions that already existed within the federal government in an attempt to increase their overall efficacy (if you’re curious, here’s a list of the departments that were included:

22 different organizations ended up merging into DHS. To give you an idea of just how large that makes DHS, here’s a list of agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of the department:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG)
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
  • United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • United States Secret Service (USSS)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • Management Directorate
  • Science and Technology Directorate
  • Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office
  • Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  • Office of Operations Coordination

I’m currently interning with ICE. ICE is comprised of three main branches: Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which deals with matters involving immigration law; the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), which deals with legal proceedings; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which is the investigative branch within ICE that deals with “cross-border criminal activity.” My internship is with HSI. HSI was created in 2010, seven years after ICE was first formed, and they employ special agents, analysts, auditors, and a variety of other support positions. Below is a list of crimes handled by the department:

  • Financial crimes, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling;
  • Commercial fraud and intellectual property theft;
  • Cybercrimes (fun fact: sharing illegal online content is considered an international crime since, for all intents and purposes, the Internet is borderless);
  • Human rights violations;
  • Human smuggling and trafficking;
  • Immigration, document and benefit fraud;
  • Narcotics and weapons smuggling/trafficking;
  • Transnational gang activity;
  • Export enforcement; and,
  • International art and antiquity theft

As you can see, HSI does quite a lot.

To better deal with these various crimes, HSI is divided into a number of divisions. Again, to show you just how large HSI is, here is the list of divisions and their descriptions given by the Homeland Security website:

  • Domestic Operations oversees all investigative activities of HSI’s domestic field offices
  • HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center conducts investigations related to intellectual property theft. It also combats trade practices that threaten the global economy
  • International Operations oversees HSI attaché offices and builds relationships with foreign law enforcement partners
  • Investigative Programs conducts operations in areas including cybercrime, financial and narcotics violations, transnational crime and public safety. It also supports law enforcement partners through training, technical assistance, computer forensic analysis and forensic services
  • Mission Support provides budgetary and financial services to all of HSI. It also provides information technology, human capital and record management support 
  • National Security Investigations investigates vulnerabilities in the nation’s borders. It also works to prevents acts of terrorism 
  • Office of Intelligence conducts broad intelligence operations. It also develops data for use by ICE, the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement partners 
  • Operational Technology and Cyber Division (OTCD) oversees initiatives that combine information sharing and technology across the Department of Homeland Security. It also oversees technical and business-related activities carried out by HSI

Beyond this, HSI is then further divided into various units. One of the most interesting and, quite frankly, surprising ones I learned about was the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU). The CEIU, as the name suggests, deals with matters involving pedophilia and the exploitation of children. The people assigned to this unit deal with crimes involving child pornography, child sex tourism, and child sex trafficking, and they work in tandem with other agencies and organizations to save the children involved in these crimes and apprehend the criminals taking part in them.

It makes sense why crimes like this would fall to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. But after all the immigration news of late, it’s easy to forget just how varied the matters that the department deals with are. And while this is hardly a comprehensive list of everything DHS does, I do hope I was able to provide some helpful information on the subject and that you leave with a more in-depth understanding of the Department of Homeland Security and the agency’s role in the government.


All the above information was taken from the Department of Homeland Security website:

A (Somewhat) Self-Guided Tour Through Central Park

By Liam Haber, FCLC ’19

King Jagiello Monument
King Jagiello Monument

There is a statue in the middle of Central Park of a Polish king, called the King Jagiello Monument. It was first presented at the 1939 World’s Fair, which was held in Flushing, Queens. Intended to be returned following the end of the Fair, the Nazi invasion of Poland prevented any transfer of the monument back to its homeland. Instead, the statue moved from Queens to Central Park, now sitting just east of Turtle Pond, in the shadow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been in this location since 1945, guarding the center of the park for the past 70 years. I learned all of this from Allison, a maintenance worker with the Central Park Conservancy who was my third stop on my trek around the park that ties all of Manhattan together. Continue reading A (Somewhat) Self-Guided Tour Through Central Park

A Ballerina’s Last Steps

By Abigail Cross, FCLC ’19

On Saturday, November 14th, I witnessed French ballet legend Sylvie Guillem’s final performance in the United States. The three evening engagement, from November 12th through the 14th at New York City Center, was part of Guillem’s world retirement tour, entitled “Life in Progress.” The program consisted of works by Akram Khan, William Forsythe, Russell Maliphant, and Mats Ek, contemporary choreographers with whom Guillem has worked with throughout her career.

For years I have regarded Sylvie Guillem’s incredible physical facility with a combination of admiration and envy, as has the rest of the dance world. This night was no different; Guillem’s physicality was front and center. Even at the age of 50, the arch of her feet, the hyperextension of her knees, and the mobility of her hips are unparalleled. During “Bye,” the final piece of the program, a near collision between Guillem’s leg and her nose elicited a quiet, involuntary gasp from the audience. One would imagine that we had grown accustomed to her superhuman abilities by that point. However, Guillem, along with choreographer Mats Ek, still managed to surprise us. The primary source of this surprise was in the unaffected, yet staccato, nature of this particular gasp-evoking battement. With neither warning nor reaction from her serene torso, Guillem’s leg accelerated to from floor to nose, and back again. While the movement was relatively simple, the juxtaposition of rapid motion and stillness made it indelible. Continue reading A Ballerina’s Last Steps

The Uprooted

By Fiona Whalen, FCLC ’19

Author’s note:
This is a speech I wrote upon leaving the only home I’d ever known, the American International School in Israel (AIS). The equation of home and high school may seem a bizarre, if not pitiable analogy to some. But as the Montana-born product of two international school teachers, I desperately, unconsciously needed a headquarters. The transplantation of our stateside family abroad occurred in second grade. First came Berlin, then Israel two years later. Though I am profoundly grateful to my parents for all the opportunities a childhood abroad beckoned, there were a few drawbacks for my sister and I. No city or countryside fits just right. The winding streets become familiar enough to politely remark, “You don’t really belong here.” Not so at AIS. The hallways, the people, the occasional feral cat, welcomed all the wanderlust. So I gradually adopted AIS. Or rather, she claimed me.


One of the most revered yet humble goddesses of Grecian antiquity is Hestia, daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Unlike her siblings, Hestia rejected lusty antics and moronic power plays, choosing to tend the sacrificial fire on Mount Olympus. The maiden nurtured the godly estate and warmed visitors by the heavenly hearth. Because of her devotion to the home, Hestia was believed to have stood sentry at every house in Ancient Greece, protecting those within from harm. Continue reading The Uprooted

BlogCast Reflections: November

BlogCast Reflections is a new series of podcasts to be released approximately once a month. We address current issues concerning our university community, experiences in New York City, and beyond.

This month, we are joined by Adam Fales (’17) and Samantha Norman (’18) to discuss systemic racism and reflect on its effects at Fordham.

Continue reading BlogCast Reflections: November

변역의 흠 (Crack in Translation)

변역의 흠 (Crack in Translation)
김태영 (Sunny Kim)

이 글을 쓰면서
Writing these words

글을 썼니?
Why did you write?

글씨는 읽이에 매달렸다
Words hang on reading

시인들, 그들의 목 처럼
Poets, like their necks

새로운 개발을 못했다고
That they could not innovate

버림 받고

두려움이 이 글을 쓴다.
Fear writes these words.

다른자에 의견이 두려워서
Afraid of others’ opinions

독특한 사상을 했지
I envisioned uniqueness

사실은 쓴맛 밖에.
But only taste bitter truth.


Author’s remark:
I wrote this poem with two goals in mind, first to express the anxiety of writing for an audience. Merited or not, I have always felt the need to invent a style to impress, rather than writing with a purpose in mind. Second, from my childhood, I remember my mother lamenting the loss of meaning when Korean literature was translated into English. I have written to express that disconnect between languages in the hope that the audience will be left wanting, as isolating the English translation results in a disjointed, distant poem.

Brief Introductions With Current Students

Who’s in this Honors Program, anyway? We present some of our students and their unique perspective towards the program, their futures, and the City.

Continue reading Brief Introductions With Current Students