2023-2024 CHCI Postgraduate Fellows
Karen Itzel Suárez Jiménez
CHCI Law Postgraduate Fellow Presented by PepsiCo Foundation
Hometown: Janesville, Wisconsin
School: University of Wisconsin – Madison
Degree: Juris Doctor
Placement: U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Karen (she/her/ella) is an Indigenous Mexican woman from Oaxaca, Mexico. She immigrated with her family to the United States at three years old and was raised in Janesville, WI. Karen is a first-generation college graduate, achieving summa cum laude from St. Norbert College. Before pursuing law school, Karen prepared to become a high school teacher. She spent her summers interning at her local public library as a bilingual Youth Services Associate, coordinating and leading summer education programs for children and teens. After switching her track to prepare for law school, Karen was involved in various legal internships, including involvement with Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Farmworker Project, where she supported attorneys specializing in labor, family, immigration, and human rights law. Karen also engaged in outreach, informing members of the community about
public benefits eligibility and updates on proposed and actual policy changes.
Karen earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was involved with the Indigenous Law Students Association, the Latinx Law Students Association, the Government and Legislation Clinic, and the Economic Justice Institute’s Immigrant Justice Clinic. During her time in law school, Karen led efforts for a flag ceremony highlighting the Native Nations of Wisconsin at the UW-Madison campus, served as inaugural staff for the UW Center for DREAMers, assisted in course preparation for virtual teaching in Ukraine, and mentored other first-generation BIPOC law students. Through her work with the Immigrant Justice Clinic, Karen directly represented clients in federal immigration court and supported clients in successfully obtaining asylum. Additionally, Karen spent a summer working for the Office of the Solicitor for the Department of the Interior (DOI). At DOI, Karen prepared research memoranda to support interagency cooperation, regulatory reform, and foreign policy. Her graduate studies have led her to develop an interest in Federal Indian Law and International Transactions.
As a CHCI Law Postgraduate Fellow, Karen looks forward to applying her professional skills while gaining a better understanding of the legislative and policy process at the domestic and international levels. After this fellowship, Karen plans to use these new skills and knowledge within the corporate or private sector.