Frances B. Sellers Award
Many students fall in love with Drew’s campus, and Barbara Camacho was one of them. The green grass, the trees, the arboretum all called to her, but so did the realization that there was no limit to what she could learn and do with a Drew education. She relished the opportunity to learn from people more diverse than she knew at home in Jersey City. She says that her experience as a Drew Educational Opportunity Scholar gave her a whole other way to look at life.
Barbara was inspired by volunteering at Drew, becoming part of a community that would speak against injustice and make a difference, and was active in the Honduras Project and KUUMBA. English Professor Sandra Jamieson took an interest in Barbara’s development, helping her to acquire the tools that have served her well. The Drew International Seminar to Russian was “incredible,” and Barbara’s dream is to found a study-abroad scholarship to give more students an international experience. She graduated with a major in sociology and minors in English and Russian Studies, as well as membership in two honor societies. Twannah Ellington of the EOS Office guided her interest in law, although Barbara initially pursued an MBA program at St. Peter’s College.
Upon receiving the JD degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2007, Barbara clerked for a presiding judge at the Superior Court of New Jersey in Morris County. She then spent three years as an attorney with the American Friends Service Committee’s KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) Fellow program, providing free and low-cost legal services involving immigration—work that helped her to fully realize her deep need to give back to the community. In 2011 she moved to Fragomen Worldwide, where she had worked as a paralegal before her law degree. Fragomen, which specializes in immigration law, appointed Barbara as a three-year Fragomen Fellow, enhancing the pro bono immigration services offered by the City Bar Justice Center in New York City. In October 2014, she was named Fragomen’s first pro bono manager, responsible for coordinating, training and mentoring Fragomen attorneys in its 17 offices throughout the United States as they assist clients with such problems as asylum, deportation and immigration benefits. Barbara is active in attorney associations relating to immigration.
Barbara still lives in Jersey City, with her husband, David Wiggan, a quality control manager for Columbia Group, and their 5-year-old daughter, Taina Imani. Barbara is involved in community issues, keeps David company when he fishes, and enjoys church, museums and family time. David’s mother, a retired high school principal in Jamaica, makes Barbara and David aware of the many students there who drop out for lack of school fees, and in consequence they have created the Wiggan Family Scholarship for high school students there.