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Yliana Johansen

class of 2011; b.a., occidental college

Yliana Johansen

While growing up, Yliana Johansen gave little thought to becoming a lawyer; all she knew is that she wanted to help others. It was her position as a domestic violence case manager that illuminated how the law could be used to help women break free from the cycle of violence.

Johansen had never lived farther than 10 minutes from her home in Pasadena, CA.  However, a few members of the Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA) reached out to her on her visit to BC Law; it was this experience that convinced her that the School was worth being 3,000 miles away from home.  

“They really convinced me that I could be happy here for the next three years,” says Johansen. “Thus far, I’ve been right. It’s the people that make all the difference.”

Johansen recently served as President of the Latin American Law Student Association.  As president, she worked hard to make sure that new students would feel just as welcome as she did.  Her passion for social justice is also evident in involvement with the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project (PDHRP) and her participation in the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project (the BCIAP clinic). This past spring, she worked with Professor Brinton Lykes on an interdisciplinary participatory action research article based on the PDHRP’s collaborative efforts.

As both a young Latina woman and the fiancée of an undocumented immigrant, Johansen has a particular passion for immigration issues. “I feel that the work I am doing for LALSA, BCIAP, and the PDHRP are giving me a strong foundation for a career serving the Latino immigrant community,” she says. “I’m confident that I will be able to find a job doing the type of work that I love.”