Fatima Cornwall, Department of World Languages, and her students Diana Hernandez-Rivera, Devin Hoobler, Claudia Galaviz, Christine Mendoza, Mariana Sabatasse, Mackenzie Moss, Austin Robishaw, Matthew Stocking, Regina Tom and Roxana Winston are the recipients of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) 2018 Global Engagement Award for their volunteer work with Project LAURA. Project LAURA (Latin American Unaccompanied minor and Refugee Assistance) is a local non-profit legal service provider for qualifying cases in the Boise, Idaho, Immigration Deportation Courtroom. It exists to provide legal services to unrepresented Latin American men, women and children in Boise’s non-detained immigration court removal docket who are seeking refugee status.
Since spring of 2017, these students have partnered with Concordia Law School students and local attorneys to provide free Spanish translation and interpretation services and legal aid to more than fifty Project LAURA clients. The law and language students worked collaboratively to prepare files to be submitted to court, interviewing clients and drafting/translating paperwork.
Students typically dedicate between 40-80 hours of work per semester. Fatima Cornwall coordinates this volunteer effort. The goal of this program is to provide the language students with hands-on experience in the field of interpretation and translation, augment their vocabulary, and increase their knowledge of culture and current events in Central America, all while helping this underprivilied group in our community.
ACTFL’s Global Engagement Initiative recognizes outstanding community-engaged learning experiences within the world languages curriculum at all levels of instruction. This is what the committee had to say, “This honor for your program attests to the breadth and depth, the impact, and the integration into curriculum of your community-engagement experience as well as the quality of the community partner relationship.”
The award ceremony took place during the 2018 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana. Cornwall accepted the award on behalf of her students, and shared the following words with the audience, “These ten students exceeded all expectation by showing a true commitment not only to their language studies, but to their community,” Cornwall continued, “It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm, dedication, and selflessness when it came to serving others. Mohammed Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.” These students have certainly paid for theirs.”
Boise State University is the first Idaho institution to receive this award..