CIANA Staff Spotlight: Olivia Sztanga

Olivia Sztanga, CIANA's New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator got involved with CIANA because of her passion for immigrant rights. Photo: Maria Eliades

Astoria, NY -Like much of CIANA’s staff and interns, Olivia Sztanga has an immigrant background. Olivia is the child of Polish immigrants, and she speaks Polish and Arabic. As CIANA’s New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator, she has been managing and hiring volunteers and interns, as well as conducting client outreach since September, but she originally began at CIANA as a legal intern in June 2018. She chats with Maria Eliades, CIANA’s Communications and Programs Manager, about CIANA’s impact and her own immigrant story.

Maria Eliades: What inspired you to start working/volunteering at CIANA?

Olivia Sztanga: For the past two years, I’ve been working in immigration focused research; so more like the academic side of immigration issues. However, the professor I worked under had a meeting with the executive director of CIANA, and she recommended that I reach out and see if you guys needed help. And you had a legal intern posting.

I had worked as a legal assistant previously and my parents are immigrants. I’ve been very dedicated to immigrant rights for the past few years and it was just a perfect match.

ME: What do you like most about CIANA?

OS: Truly, our clients. We’ve had so many great interactions with clients, where they’ve expressed how grateful they are for different programs. Every time, it surprises and pleases me. I also assist with our tutoring program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those kids are a pleasure. They truly brighten my day on those days.