Westchester Community College (WCC) class of 2013 Paralegal Studies Program graduate, Erica Roszko currently works with a Supreme Court Judge in the criminal term of the New York State Unified Court System and has worked in the legal field for the past 7 years in several capacities. After 13 years in various positions, which included case advocacy for the OMRDD community, radiological medical scheduler and full-time mother, she decided to continue her studies within criminal justice and pursue a degree in paralegal studies in 2012. With the encouragement and support from her family and friends, she was able to complete the program in two semesters taking evening and weekend courses while working full time. Erica graduated in the spring of 2013 with an Associate of Applied Science and Certificate in Paralegal Studies with the honor of being on the Dean's List with a 4.0 GPA.
Upon graduation, Erica was able to obtain her first paralegal position with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley as a bilingual intake paralegal. In this position, she provided vital assistance to clients in need of legal services with issues ranging from landlord tenant, domestic violence, education advocacy, veterans’ needs, social security disability, and unemployment. In 2014, she completed her bachelor's degree in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Law from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 2016, she was offered the opportunity to work in criminal court as a Senior Court Representative with the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), a program that operates as an alternative to incarceration for juveniles. In 2018, she graduated from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Klein School of Law with a Master of Legal Studies and Criminal Law degree. She is currently in the process of obtaining her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Higher Education at Capella University.
Throughout her legal career, she has been able to utilize the skills taught by the knowledgeable professors in the paralegal program at WCC in order to assist other legal professionals in achieving social justice through advocacy and extensive preparation. She is currently a member of the WCC Paralegal Studies Advisory Committee, Westchester County Bar Association, and the New York City Paralegal Association. She also volunteers as a judge for NYC Urban Debate League and the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trials. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica drew upon her paralegal training and skills as she transitioned into adapting to the changes occurring within the criminal court system with the addition of electronic filing and facilitating hearings and trials with remote court appearances, supporting her Judge with digital filings of decisions, and preparing court files. Her support services continue to play an important role in helping litigants obtain access to the courts during this difficult time.
-Submitted by Cynthia Haycock, Program Director, Paralegal Studies Program, Westchester Community College