Anyone who’s strolled past the Emmanuel College mailroom has been greeted by the smiling face of Evelyn Rodriguez Delgado, but what passers-by may not know is that Emmanuel College and the Rodriguez family have another connection.
More than 20 Emmanuel students have completed internships at the Law Offices of Giselle M. Rodriguez, PLLC since 2022. Regardless of major or post-graduation plans, Giselle Rodriguez, Esq. (and Evelyn’s daughter) said that her inclination to bring Emmanuel students on board comes down to their dedication to learning.
“I really favor Emmanuel students because from what I’ve seen – they are really open and eager to learn – just amazing to work with,” she said. “They have something different.”
Rodriguez started her practice in 2021, deciding to go into immigration law after spending some time working with the Massachusetts Refugee and Advocacy Coalition through AmeriCorps. In her own practice, she is emphasizing the importance of valuable internship opportunities in the law field – and hoping to give interns work that stands out on a resume.
The first few months of the internship for Grace Elizabeth Grey ’24, a political science major with a minor in legal studies, were so beneficial and gratifying that she extended her stay from June 2023 through last December.
“[It’s] a unique experience compared to other law firms,” said Grey. “The work I was doing was benefiting her clients directly and getting them closer to citizenship. She’s not just giving interns ‘busy work.’”
Now as Grey is actively applying for employment opportunities after graduation, she looks back on her time as an intern fondly, having already received valuable experience working alongside clients and learning about immigration law firsthand.
Kayla Reynoso ’23 had a similar experience with Rodriguez. Since graduation, Reynoso has been working at the Arizona Food Bank Network as an older adult program coordinator through AmeriCorps, which she said has informed her decision to go into public policy law and continue her work with marginalized groups.
For confirming her path forward in law, the internship with Rodriguez’s immigration practice was an important step, she said, giving her a unique opportunity to dive into the details of immigration law and learn how to meet people where they are, building rapport and a level of trust with vulnerable populations.
“I’m the daughter of an immigrant. I learned so much about what happened behind the scenes and how immigration stories get distorted by the media. I gained so much from Giselle – watching her be a voice for the voiceless and do it all free of judgment,” Reynoso said.
Though the opportunity is ideal for students interested in pursuing careers in law, Rodriguez’s outside-of-the-box approach to social media and marketing also provides opportunities that can apply to a variety of career paths and majors. Accompanying her website, LinkedIn and other social media, Rodriguez has almost 40,000 followers on TikTok, with some of her top videos breaking one million views.
For Cole Lander ’23, the firm’s nuanced approach to marketing was invaluable in his time at Emmanuel College.
“I would not be doing what I am right now if I didn’t work with Giselle,” he said. Lander was planning to pursue law school, but he said the internship, which gave him opportunities to learn the modernized marketing style, broadened his horizons on the many ways to approach his career.
Now Lander is balancing his efforts at a marketing startup called Chatham Oaks, while also working as an SEO specialist for the clothing brand Puritan Cape Cod – and he said he still applies what he learned during his internship in his day-to-day work.
“Listening and collaborating with the people around you, working [with others] toward a common goal, is something you can apply across your whole life and everything you do,” he said.
While Rodriguez said she is continuously inspired by her interns, plenty of inspiration came from her parents, too. Both Evelyn and her father Joseph, who came to the United States from Cuba, worked as liaisons for the Latino community in Boston: Evelyn for Mayor Thomas Menino and Joseph for Mayor Raymond Flynn.
“They did a lot for the immigrant community,” Rodriguez said. “I think growing up seeing that was a major influence.”
The compassion that both of her parents have – and what Emmanuel students and faculty see in the mailroom each day – has rubbed off on Rodriguez and her practice. But if you ask either Rodriguez where their inspiration to remain positive comes from, they’ll point to the other.
“To see her determination to help others – that gives me a lot of hope for her as a parent. I admire her very much,” Rodriguez Delgado said, “just to see the reactions of the students – [it] makes me very happy that we can make a difference in a student’s life [so] they can keep the faith and see that it’s possible [to succeed].”