Diana Mateo is a paralegal at Benach Collopy LLP since September 2018. She assists the attorneys in preparing applications in all of the firm’s practice areas to be filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and various branches of Homeland Security. Diana is an immigrant from Guatemala who aspires to be an immigration attorney. Her passion for immigration stems from her personal experience and commitment to human rights and social justice.
Diana is a 2018 George Mason University graduate where she obtained a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Immigration Studies, and a concentration in Childhood and Youth. During her undergraduate career, Diana carried out an independent research about the ways in which 1.5-generation immigrants, or those who come to the United States before the age of 13, cope with gender expectations in and outside of their homes. Prior to her research, Diana obtained approval from the Institutional Review Board to protect the welfare of the human research subjects she interviewed to conclude her findings. She later presented her findings at a research symposium. Furthermore, Diana served as the Senior Coordinator for the Student Transition Empowerment Program at George Mason University, which included management of the program and staff, and mentoring rising first-generation college students from various backgrounds. She focused on the students’ personal and academic transition from high school to university, cultural competence awareness, and identity development through group workshops and one-on-one meetings. Diana also served as an UndocuAlly Coordinator for Mason Dreamers where she facilitated presentations for other students, staff, and community members about the impacts immigration policies have on undocumented and DACAmented college students at a state and national level.
Diana’s volunteering experiences include, working with non-profit organizations that assist women fleeing various types of violence from Central America so that they can attain asylum in the United States, advocating for and mentoring college-bound DACA, undocumented, and low-income high school students, and presenting as a guest speaker at multiple high schools in the Northern Virginia area to highlight diversity in the legal field. Abroad, Diana volunteered with Kamalbe Spanish School, located in a remote and indigenous populated community of Xela, Guatemala. She assisted in raising funds and obtaining donations for families of the community, developing academic lessons for elementary school children, and beautifying of the school’s premises. Additionally, Diana has traveled on two separate occasions to the United States and Mexico border to volunteer with Al Otro Lado. There, she offered, legal support to attorneys, translation services to members of the refugee exodus, and contributions to strategies related to the efficiency and ethical practices of the organization’s mission.
Diana has native fluency in written and oral Spanish. In her free time, Diana enjoys hanging out with family and friends, traveling back to her hometown, dancing, hiking, and sharing memes.