Refugee Advocate Reneé Wolforth ’98 to Give Keynote at Cap and Gown Convocation
Trinity graduate Reneé Wolforth ’98, an attorney and refugee advocate, will be the featured speaker at Cap and Gown Convocation on Saturday, September 25, at 5:00 pm in the Trinity Center. Wolforth’s interest and dedication to serving the community began when she was a student at Trinity. Wolforth participated in the Campus Ministry community service trip to Apopka, Florida, and served as her class president during her time at Trinity. She majored in American studies and completed a minor in French.
Wolforth’s interest in service soon led her to apply to the Peace Corps where she served as a volunteer in Mali, West Africa, working on small environmental projects within the local community, including solar drying and natural pesticides. Wolforth found her Peace Corps experience to be rewarding and impactful, and it played a significant role in shaping her later legal career. In a profile of Wolforth in the TRINITY magazine, she reflected, “I have been interested in Africa since high school. Because of Peace Corps, I have only become more interested in the continent, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. When I first thought about law school, I thought I wanted to be a litigator. However, I was interested in working with the African population. I knew that litigation would not offer me much exposure to this population and I soon shifted my focus.”
She returned to the U.S. in 2000 and began her studies at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts, the following year. Her interest in community service continued in law school where she participated in the Disability Advocacy Clinic during her third year of law school. After graduation from Suffolk in 2004, Wolforth found herself drawn to immigration cases because it allowed her to work directly with clients from all over the world. Legal volunteerism took her to a legal immigration clinic through Catholic Charities where she encountered clients from sub-Saharan Africa seeking asylum. Wolforth’s involvement in the asylum process helped to further shape her law career focus which led her to volunteer with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) on affirmative asylum cases. PAIR, based in Boston, provides pro bono legal asylum services to low-income asylum seekers and immigration detainees.
In fall 2009, Wolforth returned to Africa, this time as a volunteer with Asylum Access in Tanzania, East Africa, processing resettlement applications for refugees from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. In October 2010, Wolforth is headed to another volunteer assignment, this time with Burmese refugees in Thailand, where she hopes to find a permanent position after completing her volunteer commitment there. Wolforth is currently an attorney living and working in Washington, D.C., area.
Profile of Reneé Wolforth