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Sarah Baranik de Alarcón ’19 Awarded Prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Grant

Sarah Baranik de Alarcón

Sarah Baranik de Alarcón ’19 was recently selected by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study and teach abroad.

Beginning in February 2020, Baranik will use her Fulbright to research Brazil’s Migration Law, specifically the country’s 2016 immigration law and how it affects children, particularly their right to family life and free movement. Her research will culminate in an analysis of the law, its protection of children and families, and Brazilian sentiment around it.

“Completing a Fulbright in Brazil will combine my background in immigration law, international children’s rights, and international law,” said Baranik. “Using my experience working with immigrants in the U.S. and policy at UNICEF, I will investigate whether the decriminalization of the act of migration can remain when challenged by the influx of thousands of immigrants. My hope is that my research will assist advocates seeking to reform migration laws, particularly those statutes related to family unity and detention.”

During her time at Villanova Law, Baranik was President of the International Law Society and a consultant with UNICEF’s Migration Policy Unit. She spent much of her law school career dedicated to advocating for asylum seekers through work with the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee & Emigrant Services (CARES) and the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic, including providing legal assistance to asylum-seekers at the U.S./Mexico border.

“My involvement as a student attorney at the CARES clinic and an interpreter for the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic allowed me to have experience working with clients from all over the world and further fueled my interest in migration policies,” said Baranik. “I am incredibly thankful to the University and to the Law School for the support I received when pursuing a Fulbright.”

After her Fulbright year, Baranik hopes to work in immigration law.

A total of 32 Villanova University students and alumni were awarded Fulbrights for 2019-2020, marking the largest single-year number of Fulbright awards in the University’s history, surpassing the previous record of 16 winners set in 2018-19. Villanova has been listed among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Students for more than a decade and the University has had at least one student selected for the coveted award each year since 1994.