Dree Collopy: Advocate for Immigrants Rights and 3L at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, Washington, DC
by Rebecca Unzicker
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<<Crediting her parents, who were professional educators, with instilling a love of learning and a value of community service, Collopy says she has made her life choices based on the influence they provided. Additionally, she says a tragedy early in her life further shaped the person she became. At the age of 15, Collopy suddenly lost her father to cancer. Collopy, her mother, and her sister immediately relocated from Chicago to Des Moines to be closer to extended family. Within a matter of weeks, the young Collopy had lost her father, her home, her school, and her friends. The three women grew closer, supporting each other through the crisis.
"My dad was my hero, my inspiration, and my role model," Collopy said. "Without that horrible experience, I would not be the strong, independent person I am today."
"I learned from my mom how to endure heartache and how to overcome. I learned from my sister how to find inner peace and how to find joy in the small things."
Growing up and attending college in Iowa, it quickly became apparent to Collopy that the agricultural segment of the state had a need for migrant workers and that this was causing controversy in the state.
<<"Migrant workers were desperately needed in the agricultural sector, but it took awhile to convince the conservative parts of the state," Collopy said. "I was interested in this debate throughout high school, and started to focus on immigration issues throughout my tenure at Grinnell College."
Collopy realized that fluency in Spanish would be essential to her work in immigration, and studied Spanish throughout high school. As an undergraduate, she lived in a rural area of Costa Rica for five months in order to completely immerse herself in the Spanish language and culture of the region. The only English-speaking person in the community, Collopy also completed field research in the Spanish language for a paper that examined the segregated gender roles in Latin America. Now fluent in Spanish, she is studying Arabic because she believes it will be a valuable tool in immigration work
<<Committed to a career in immigration law, Collopy has completed law school internships at the Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation; the Office of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), United States Senate; the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, Headquarters Immigration Court; Ayuda, Inc.; and Maggio & Kattar, PC, where she will work as an associate after passing the Maryland Bar exam. Ayuda, Inc., is a Washington, DC, source for multi-lingual and social assistance on issues including human trafficking, domestic violence, and family law, in addition to immigration. Last summer, as an immigration intern for the group, Collopy filed an asylum case for a Pakistani woman for which she will appear in immigration court later this month.
Grateful to be developing knowledge and skills to help others, Collopy believes she is well on her way to fighting injustice and intolerance.
"What I enjoy most about the study of law is the awareness that I will be able to use the skills and knowledge that I have acquired to help others who are less fortunate than I am," Collopy said. "I hope that my client will be granted asylum in a couple of weeks. If she is granted asylum, I know that that will be one of my favorite memories of law school."
What do you do for fun?
I love to play tennis and softball. I also love to dance and watch baseball.
What CD is in your CD player right now?
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. I used to be a dancer, so I enjoy listening to classical ballets while studying. Swan Lake is my favorite ballet.
What is the last magazine you read?
The Week. This is a great magazine for people like me who do not have time to closely follow the news, but who are interested in being informed about world events and all sides of the important issues.
What is your favorite TV show?
What is something most people don't know about you?
Most people don't know that I was adopted by my mom and dad when I was a few weeks old.
LawCrossing has the most listings of any job board I have used. It's actually a great site. The website had a lot of detail. It’s nice that you don't have to go through a recruiter if you don't want to. You can actually contact the law firm directly for the positions listed. LawCrossing had a ton of great features.