In federal courthouses across the U.S., access to justice requires the use of languages spoken around the globe. As one of only seven Certified Court Interpreters in Illinois for the Russian language, College of DuPage alumna Olga Bronovytska plays an integral role in helping a defendant with limited English proficiency or who is deaf or hard-of-hearing understand legal proceedings and assist in their case from beginning to end.
“Regardless of the outcome of a case, the bottom line is that meaningful access to the process is provided to the defendant,” Bronovytska said.
A 2020 COD Paralegal Studies graduate, Bronovytska said the College provided her a solid foundation to learning the intricacies that take place in a courtroom.
“Without completing the Paralegal Studies program at COD, I would not have been comfortable interpreting hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other cases,” she said. “Without specific education in the legal field, it is just impossible to embrace and be fluent in legal proceedings. I decided I needed to go through the entire program to obtain a solid foundation.”
Because she was working and raising two young children, Bronovytska took only one or two classes per semester. She was thrilled with the encouragement she received from both faculty and peers, including Paralegal Professor Sally Fairbank.
“Professor Fairbank made me realize how many more professional opportunities would open up if I completed the program,” she said. “I was also amazed with the support that faculty provided. It was immediate.”
Fairbank credits Bronovytska’s tenacity during her time in the program and has enjoyed seeing her flourish in the field.
“Olga was the consummate professional from the first day she started our program,” she said. “She was poised, prepared and courteous, and her work product was superior. She was continuously focused on learning and self-improvement, and I am thrilled that our program assisted her in reaching this prestigious accomplishment. Court interpreters play such a vital role in the constitutional process, and they allow everyone, no matter their background, a fair trial.”
During the next few years, Bronovytska—who also interprets Ukrainian, is advanced in French and is conversational in Mandarin Chinese—plans to continue working as a court interpreter while looking for additional courses to take at COD, including corporate law. She then would like to find employment with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where she can use her multilingual skills, or with corporations where she could use both linguistic skills and knowledge obtained during her time in the Paralegal Studies program.
“My COD professors provided me with consistent support throughout the program, and to them I must give a sincere ‘thank you.’”