Ivana Grandic '23
“It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has shaped us in ways that we might not understand.” — Sonia Sotomayor
Ivana Grandic, a St. Francis College (SFC) rising senior majoring in Communication Arts, has been invited to participate in the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, whose mission is to cultivate future leaders by placing high school, college and law school students from underserved communities and diverse backgrounds in judicial internships in state and federal courts in the New York City area.
Launched in 2014 and named after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her mother, Celina Baez Sotomayor, the Sotomayor Program also offers educational programming, mentorship, wellness coaching and standardized-test preparation to more than 90 interns each summer. Besides attending structured activities, such as observing court proceedings, interns are afforded direct access to some of the nation’s preeminent legal minds practicing law at the highest levels.
Grandic’s full-time, eight-week internship began on June 6. “I’ll be assigned to a judge’s chambers,” she noted, “which is pretty exciting.” In addition to gaining experience in legal research and writing, Sotomayor Program college interns participate in an LSAT boot camp, providing them with the skills and resources necessary to successfully apply to law school and become a practicing attorney. Interested in both criminal and health law, Grandic hopes to follow in Sotomayor's footsteps and become a judge one day, underscoring, “Like Sotomayor, I am Latina, and my mom has been the best role model, just like Sotomayor’s mother was.”
Until recently, Grandic was among the college-age students interning at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Previously, she interned with former New York City Council Member Mark Levine, who is now the Manhattan borough president. It is while working on Levine’s campaign for borough president that Grandic “fell in love” with public policy.
“As a communications major, I was convinced my love of writing would lead me down the journalistic route, but the material in the courses for my political science minor really resonated with me,” Grandic explained. “I enjoyed having debates and answering theoretical questions but needed guidance.” This led to a mentorship with Scott Hofer, an assistant professor of political science and the pre-law advisor at SFC. He assisted Grandic in applying for the internship at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office and, later, the Sotomayor Program, while Christopher Hughes, Associate Director of Experiential Learning and Internships in the Center for Career Exploration, helped her with interview preparation for the latter. “I wouldn’t be where I am today, with such clearly defined career goals, were it not for the support system I have in both of them,” she acknowledged.
At SFC, Grandic is vice-president of the recently formed Fashion Club, a student ambassador for the Admissions Office, head news correspondent for Terrier TV and the social media coordinator for SFC Radio. Inducted into SFC’s Duns Scotus Honor Society in April, she was recently invited to join Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, and Lambda Pi Eta, the Communications Honor Society. Grandic also is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, which recognizes academic excellence among first-year college students.