Educating young minds is Ludise Malkvoka’s favorite part of being an associate professor of Pharmacology at Georgetown University. However, teaching has felt relatively easy compared to gaining United States citizenship. Despite living in the States for over 25 years, finding the time and support to submit her citizenship application has been a constant challenge, and it wasn’t that Ludise wasn’t motivated to become a U.S. citizen. Quite the opposite. Not only did renewing her green card require substantial paperwork, but the possibility of not being able to renew her green card, or worse, deportation, evoked fear and became the impetus to become a citizen. But where to begin?
Fortunately, since May 2015, Georgetown has assisted employees with the U.S. citizenship application process through a series of workshops. Made possible through a partnership with New American Workforce, all Georgetown employees and their families are able to attend information workshops to learn about citizenship requirements and the general application process. Those who are eligible to apply for citizenship return to meet one-on-one with an immigration attorney from CARECEN, the legal services provider for the workshops, to complete their application. Employees laud the workshops affordability and are grateful that they occur at the worksite, mitigating transportation barriers.
After attending both workshops, Ludise successfully submitted her citizenship application and is now awaiting a response. Ludise spoke positively about her experience, saying:
“I thought the workshops were informative and helpful. I made an appointment with a lawyer that helped fill out my paperwork. It is a great opportunity that the employers offer this, and I encourage everyone to attend these workshops.”
Of all the benefits associated with U.S. citizenship, Ludise is ecstatic to not renew her green card again, meaning more time and attention for her students. She is enthusiastic about the coming years at Georgetown University and as a United States citizen.