When Gabriella was seven years old, her family moved from Barranquilla, Colombia, to Tampa, Florida. This experience sparked her first interest in learning about immigration law. As a junior in high school, she attended her naturalization ceremony along with her father and sister at the Tampa Convention Center. “It was really exciting because everyone was so happy,” she says. “The ceremony itself was cool. There was probably around 200 to 300 people, but they called out all the different countries that had people nationalizing: Colombia, Brazil, and many more. It was interesting seeing how diverse everyone was.”
After high school she had one goal: “I wanted to leave Florida. That was my main criteria.” She was accepted into Brown, where she concentrated in Economics and Development Studies. “Everyone says it but the best part is the open curriculum,” she says. “You can explore so many different fields. It really gives you a lot of versatility.” She continues: “I met my best friends at Brown. Everyone’s really passionate about what they do. It’s really easy to have good conversations with people and to learn more about anything really.” During college, she volunteered with the non-profit organization Dorcas International Institute, where she assisted clients in applying for citizenship, further cementing her interest in immigration law.
Gabriella joined the firm as a paralegal in 2017 after graduation. “I really love it. I love learning about different peoples’ jobs.” She lives in Soho with fellow Brown graduates. She’s not the best cook, she admits, so she’s happy with all the food options near her apartment. A favorite is Caracas Arepas Bar in the East Village. Gabriella plans to work for a few years before she attends law school. “I definitely want to learn more about different areas,” she says. “Anything that has to do with international aspects of law. Last night my dad was telling me that I should look into maritime law since that’s what his company does. I don’t think that’s really my future. But you never know.”
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
Salmon and almond—I never know which way they’re supposed to be pronounced!
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
A thought-provoking book.
What turns you off?
What is your favorite curse word?
Hijueputa—in Colombia, we combine the curse word “hijo de puta” (son of a bitch) to one word. It can be used as a verb, noun, or adjective, and can be used as an insult, a compliment, an endearment, as emphasis, and more.
What sound or noise do you love?
A pot of coffee being brewed.
What sound or noise do you hate?
My alarm—I am not a morning person.
What is your idea of happiness?
Sharing a great meal with friends or family.
Where would you like to live?
Who are your favorite prose authors?
Gabriel García Márquez and Jane Austen.
What is your favorite film?
The Princess Bride.
Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?
Who are your heroes in real life?
What would your last meal be?
Sancocho—a traditional Colombian stew consisting of meat, vegetables, potatoes, cassava, and plantains.
What natural talent would you like to be gifted with?
To be able to sing or play an instrument—everyone I know thinks I’m tone deaf!
How do you wish to die?
In my sleep.
What makes you laugh?
What makes you cry?
Sad books or movies.
What do you most like about the age we live in?
We can easily stay in touch with friends and family that live far away from us.
What is the biggest risk youʼve ever taken?
Going to college far away from home without knowing anyone attending the same school as me.
What is a book or movie that has changed your perspective on life?
One Hundred Years of Solitude.