Written by Haley Horn, Asst. News Editor
As the newest member of Furman’s department of Politics & International Affairs, Assistant Professor Brittany Arsiniega’s unique background and impressive accomplishments make her an asset to students. According to Wyche Law Firm’s Website, Arsiniega grew up in a family that was constantly on the move. From living in the United States to Germany, to Saudi Arabia, she cultivated a passion for other cultures and a global worldview that she would later apply to her career.
Arsiniega graduated at the top of her class at the University of Colorado, Boulder with degrees in International Affairs and Spanish. She then decided to put further education on hold to pursue work in both North and South America for three years. Eventually, Arsiniega returned to school to pursue a JD and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkely, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif, the foremost law honor society. Arsiniega received her Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy, two areas she has managed to apply to courses she teaches at Furman, including Introduction to American Government and Judicial Process & the Supreme Court. In addition to her students’ glowing reviews as a relatable and approachable instructor, Dr. Arsiniega’s work behind the scenes makes her an especially remarkable professor.
After completing her JD, Arsiniega traveled to Greenville to continue her journey in the field of law and education. In her short time in the Upstate, she continues to wear several different hats. As a teacher, researcher, attorney, and volunteer, Arsiniegea always strives to advocate for justice on behalf of humanity.
In 2015, Arsiniega published research on Trends in killing of and by police: a preliminary analysis. The study reviewed data collected over a span of thirty-five years. When asked why she wanted to research this topic, she says, “ultimately, I want policing to be safer both for the cops themselves and for the civilians they encounter.”
Arsiniega has also spent countless hours providing legal services to underrepresented communities of Greenville as a volunteer attorney and Vice-Chair for the Greenville Hispanic Alliance’s legal team. She speaks highly of her clients, emphasizing that “immigrants are the most tenacious and brave people that [she] know[s].”
At Furman, Arsiniega makes an impact on students both inside and outside of the classroom. The Furman Politics & International Affairs Department, in partnership with Wyche, P.A., where Arsiniega is Of Counsel, offers free legal resources to the Greenville community through the Justicia Project, creating relationships that bridge the gap between Furman students and the Greenville community. Each year, a selection of students intern for Dr. Arsiniega, helping young “victims of serious crime…apply for [visa] programs.” (Arsiniega)
Senior Emma Carter served as Dr. Arsiniega’s intern in the spring of 2019. As a Spanish and Politics double major, Carter explained that she was “proud to be able to offer help to those who need it, and to help [our] clients achieve justice, even across a language barrier.”
Internships that connect Furman students with the outside community reside at the core of the Furman Advantage. Carter’s work with Dr. Arsiniega has nourished her passion for helping others. She said, “the Justicia Project has inspired me to get into the Victim Service Provider field.” Moreover, she praised the mentorship Dr. Arsiniega provided her, saying, “working with Dr. Arsiniega and the Justicia Project…opened opportunities for me.”
In her time at Furman so far, Dr. Arsiniega has opened doors for several students to pursue their passions. Thanks to her background and experience, she offers a perspective that transcends beyond the physical boundaries of Furman’s campus and “encourages [students] to look at global issues and discover how [they] can make an impact, not just in Greenville, South Carolina, but across borders as well,” said Carter.