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Seton Hill Hosts Panel Discussion on Immigration 11/8




What: Seton Hill University’s Diversity & Inclusion Office and the YWCA of Westmoreland County’s Racial Justice Committee are sponsoring the panel discussion “Immigration: It’s Not That Easy.” The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will address topics such as the immigration process, the detention of undocumented immigrants and the impact on the Hispanic community in western Pennsylvania. For more information or to register for the event, contact Debra Mason at 724-830-4614 or

When: Wednesday, November 8 at 6 p.m.

Where: Cecilian Hall, on the Second Floor of the Administration Building, Seton Hill University’s Hilltop Campus, Greensburg, Pa. 

Who: The panel will be moderated by Joyce Clohessy, chair of the YWCA’s Racial Justice Committee. Joyce is a retired social worker and associate professor of human services/social sciences from Westmoreland County Community College. She worked for several years in the field of International adoption and taught courses that included sections on immigration history and policies. 

Panel members include Monica Ruiz, community organizer for Casa San Jose; Sandra Marsh-McClain, program manager for RISE; Pittsburgh immigration attorney Abbie Rosario; filmmaker X. Alejandra Castillo Smyntek; and Laura Chavez, a 15-year-old who came to the United States at age 2 and is registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

Monica Ruiz is a civic engagement and community organizer at Casa San José in Pittsburgh. Monica has been working as an advocate with the Latino community for over 15 years. She provides immediate and long-range assistance to the Latino immigrant community in numerous ways, including translation for medical, legal, and educational issues; advocating for those facing deportation proceedings, launching projects to assist the women, youth and high school students; and collaborating with local political, labor, religious, and law enforcement leadership to make Pittsburgh more welcoming for Latinos.

Sandra Marsh-McClain is the program manager for RISE – Refugee and Immigrant Services for Employment – for PA Women Work. In that role, Sandra works to translate global education and experience into local opportunities for refugees and immigrants. Prior to joining PA Women Work, Sandra worked in the Professional Development Services Department at Carnegie Mellon University. A member of the ordained clergy in the United Methodist Church for 24 years, Sandra has served in roles in numerous church settings.

Abbie Rosario began his career in immigration law in Las Vegas in 2008 before moving to Pittsburgh in 2013. His practice is focused on two separate aspects of immigration law: Family-based immigration, which allows him to help families bring their relatives to the United States, and Employment-based immigration, where he has helped employers bring talent to their companies. A graduate of the University of Central Florida and the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Abbie is admitted to the Bar in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah and Washington, D.C.

X. Alejandra Castillo Smyntek is a filmmaker, an artist and a PhD researcher in Latin-American Studies and Screen Studies. She has shown her video work at different conferences, festivals and galleries in the United States, Chile and the United Kingdom. A Fulbright Scholar, Smyntek earned her Masters in Spanish language, Literature and Culture at Syracuse University and worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the State University of New York, Oswego. She currently works as an associate researcher in the Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She is developing a project call “Familia & Comunidad Westmoreland” and is the director of “Amigas & Amigos,” which gathers the Latino-American/ Hispanic and Spanish-speaking community of Westmoreland. Also, she is part of the Westmoreland Latino Support steering committee.

BACKGROUND: At the panel discussion, “Immigration: It’s Not That Easy,” panelists will offer insight into the immigration process, including the steps of the process, the types of VISAs available, the detention of undocumented immigrants, and how immigration laws and processes impact the Hispanic community of western Pennsylvania.

After the panel presentation, members of the audience will be asked to discuss what they learned in small groups and come up with solutions to the issues presented. 

If you are a member of the media and would like more information, contact Director of Media Relations Jennifer Reeger at, (724) 830-1069 (office) or (724) 433-9613 (cell).