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Kate Norland

2013-14 ACE Rule of Law & Human RightsFellow
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    Kate Norland L'13

I’m from Arlington, Va. Growing up, my father was a diplomat and my mother worked for an international law firm, so I had a chance to live in different parts of the world. I went to college at the University of Chicago, where I majored in Political Science, Comparative Literature, and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations.

Before Penn Law, I had studied Arabic throughout college and in Jordan during the summers, and I really wanted to master the language. My professors suggested that the best way to do that was to spend two years in the Middle East, so I did. First, I went to Damascus, Syria, for a year as a fellow with CASA (Center for Arabic Study Abroad) which is basically Arabic language boot camp. Then I spent a year in Rabat, Morocco as a Fulbright scholar, studying language and researching topics in Islamic law.

A master’s degree in Near Eastern studies for a career in refugee law.
I want to be a refugee lawyer and to do work that (a) helps individuals fleeing persecution find refuge in the United States, and (b) helps improve US government policy on refugee and other human rights issues.

As a student at Penn, I’m pursuing a law degree and also a master’s degree in NELC (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations). This has allowed me to maintain my Arabic language skills and to deepen my knowledge of a region of the world that is extremely important to refugee law and US policy on a variety of human rights concerns.

A student project confirmed my goals.
The defining experience of my time at Penn Law has been my work for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, both as a law student and as a Summer Intern. Having the opportunity to help Iraqi refugees apply for Requests for Review and Special Immigrant Visas made me certain that this is exactly the kind of law I want to practice and the kind of advocacy I want to be involved in throughout my career. Interning for the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) and being in the Transnational Legal Clinic this semester have also made a strong impact on my law school education.

Through TPIC and CP&P I was involved in a public interest interviewing workshop in late August/early September 2012 which I found to be extraordinarily helpful. It’s also been a great relief to be able to speak with individual counselors about government and public interest opportunities when I had difficult decisions to make.