Friday, May 5, 2023
Karla Lopez-Rosa hopes to gain broader perspective on immigration before attending law school
by Tatiana Sciancalepore
Senior Karla Lopez-Rosa is the new constituent service representative and intern coordinator for the office of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. She began her new position in a part-time capacity this past March and will be transitioning to full-time after graduation.
As a member of Watson Coleman’s staff, Lopez-Rosa assists constituents with federal agency issues such as Social Security benefits, provides Spanish language translation assistance and oversees a group of six interns.
Lopez-Rosa interned for Watson Coleman’s office in 2021 and was a member of her Advisory Council on Immigration Reform. “It feels like a very full-circle moment to get to work with students who are in the same position I was in just a short while ago,” she says. “I want to be a mentor to them and encourage them in the same way I was always encouraged.”
A proud daughter of immigrants, she is passionate about immigration policy.
“My hope is to get a broader perspective on immigration and then take those skills with me to law school,” says Lopez-Rosa, a political science major and dual minor in homeland security and Spanish. “I’m excited for this opportunity because it will allow me to look at things from a government standpoint, whereas in the past I worked mostly with nonprofits.”
During her time at Rider, Lopez-Rosa has served as the chief of staff at Rider’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, president of both Rider Latinas Unidas and the Political Science Club, and a fellow of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. She also presented research on the migration of Guatemalan indigenous women to the United States at Rider’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Colloquium and the Centre for Refugee Studies/York Centre for Asian Research Virtual Student Conference.
“I came to Rider from a very under-resourced high school, but everyone here made sure that that never got in my way,” says Lopez-Rosa. “Taking part in the Multicultural Student Leadership Institute program and meeting Dr. Pamela Pruit [executive director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion] has had a huge impact on me. She always encouraged me to put myself out there and to never stop fighting for underrepresented people. I don’t know if I’d be in this position if she hadn’t encouraged me to use my voice.”
In 2022, Lopez-Rosa was awarded a fellowship from the New Jersey Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program where she participated in leadership training seminars, professional development instruction and guest speaker presentations. It was an opportunity she says she might not have considered had it not been for the encouragement of her professors.
She credits Micah Rasmussen ’92, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, for her willingness to try new things. “He pushed me to be more involved and always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. Because of him, I’m a big believer that the more experiences you have, the more chances you’ll have to succeed. So now, whenever an opportunity arises, I just go for it.”