Christina Ochoa

Cornell University

Christina Ochoa, a junior majoring in Development Sociology at Cornell University, is committed to addressing social change and injustice at individual, organizational, and systemic levels. As a dedicated member of the Cornell Parole Preparation Project, a group that collaborates with and supports incarcerated persons who are preparing for parole hearings, Christina has seen firsthand how the parole process dehumanizes and removes agency from incarcerated individuals. This experience has strengthened her resolve to build personal bonds with applicants and support them through the parole process, while working to address prison and parole reform. When the Cornell Parole Preparation Project’s parent organization discontinued their partnership because of financial constraints, Christina began the necessary work to make the student organization financially and legally self-sufficient so they could continue their vital efforts. After graduation, Christina plans to pursue a legal education to continue supporting individuals facing parole hearings while also addressing unjust laws

Martha Pollack
Cornell University

Personal Statement

I first became involved in advocacy work through a friend’s mutual aid fund that focused on the unhoused community in Downtown Los Angeles. During this time, I realized that the work of an advocate is not to speak on behalf of a marginalized community, but rather to engage in direct, cooperative action to help secure improved conditions. On campus, I got involved with the Parole Preparation Project, an organization that works directly with incarcerated individuals to help prepare them for upcoming parole hearings. This project has been especially meaningful because not only are we helping people get a second chance outside of the prison-industrial system, we also get to help reaffirm the humanity of individuals who have gone through the dehumanization associated with incarceration. By putting in the time to get to know the people who we work with and work for, we remind them that they are worth helping and prove that every person is worthy of support and second chances.

Christina Ochoa
Development Sociology: Class of May 2023
written 2022

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