Stephanie Sabino is a student at the UMass School of Law. She is a first-generation immigrant from Brazil and moved to Quincy, Massachusetts, nearly twelve years ago. She considers it her hometown. Stephanie graduated from UMass Lowell in May of 2020 with a Political Science degree.
For Stephanie, the decision to go to law school is a personal one. She is passionate about making a difference in her own community and helping others. “I was inspired to go to law school because I met a Brazilian lawyer who worked very closely with the community doing immigration law. There is a lot of misinformation within immigrant communities, especially when it comes to legal rights and duties, and unfortunately a lot of those who do know better take advantage of their knowledge in order to make more money. In the future, I hope to be a source of support to immigrant communities in any capacity available to me,” she says.
Stephanie is currently finishing up her first semester of Law School. While the experience has been rewarding, it has also been difficult. “As a first-generation student, I’ve faced challenges from the day I stepped foot in this country,” Stephanie says. “My parents didn’t even know that the school year here started in September. Since I am also not very close with any lawyers or anyone who has pursued a higher education degree, I had to figure a lot of things out on my own. It can be frustrating at times, but in the long run, I think it has taught me to think on my feet.”
This semester has been challenging for students everywhere as the COVID-19 pandemic has made online learning the norm. It can be harder for new students to connect with others the way they normally would. That doesn’t mean there aren’t options. Stephanie says, “I have been doing my best to become involved in affinity groups both in the school and sponsored by other legal organizations, so I am hoping to expand my horizons soon.”
Despite the uncertainty in these unprecedented times, she sees positives in the online format as well. “Zoom School of Law has given me a lot more opportunities to get involved than I typically would have. I can just sign into a Zoom meeting and talk to people all over the world. Moving forward, I would really appreciate it if organizations took advantage of the accessibility brought by Zoom when planning events for student engagement.”
As a first-year law student, Stephanie doesn’t know for sure where her future career will take her but she has some ideas. “I want to set aside some portion of my time as a legal professional to assist my community and I would also like to be a resource for any other immigrant girls out there who wish to pursue a legal career.” She says.
Stephanie expects to graduate in 2023. She loves reading and hosts three different podcasts in her free time.
You can follow Stephanie on Instagram at @eu.steph