Kathleen Dormer-Carusone was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 14, 2014 to serve on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Dormer-Carusone began her legal career after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in Legal Studies. She worked as a paralegal with the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association in Orlando, Florida. There she helped support the legal teams in providing quality legal services for low-income residents, the working poor, children, and disadvantaged groups with special legal needs. She worked in the areas of family law, housing law, consumer law, immigration and guardian ad litem cases.
She returned to Harrisburg to attend Widener University School of Law after the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania awarded her a scholarship based on academic merit and her status as a third-generation immigrant who was the first in her family to graduate from college.
While studying at Widener, Dormer-Carusone worked at the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Attorney General's Office, where she helped advocate for the rights of consumers. In addition, she worked for the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the PA Department of State, working on cases under attorney supervision investigating violations of professional and occupational licensure.
Upon graduating with a J.D. from Widener, she moved to Western Pennsylvania and volunteered at the American Civil Liberties Union in Pittsburgh, where she worked on cases affecting a broad array of individual freedoms.
While Dormer-Carusone's advocacy for the underprivileged was very satisfying, her true desire was to pass along her zest for this work to others, so she became a postsecondary career teacher in legal studies. At the same time, she continued to support the needs of the underprivileged in her community through school-sponsored activities that she spearheaded via the various clubs she advised. Her 19-plus years in academia began at Berks Technical Institute in Wyomissing, PA where she taught and administered the Paralegal Program.
After moving to Eastern Pennsylvania, she taught at The PJA School in Upper Darby, as a full-time paralegal faculty member, administrator and interim director of employment assistance. When her family moved back to Central Pennsylvania, she became director of the Legal Office Specialist Program and a full-time faculty member in the Paralegal Studies Program at Central Pennsylvania College in Summerdale, Cumberland County. In addition, she taught as adjunct faculty for Elizabethtown College's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and Kaplan University's School of Legal Studies.
Over the years, she has taught a wide range of foundational legal courses and courses in legal specialties including bankruptcy, business law, civil liberties, communications law, criminal law, family law, environmental law, estate law, ethics, intellectual property, labor law, law office management and women's issues. She has taught in a variety of formats including traditional, online and blended classrooms (traditional classroom plus online, weekend-intensives). As a faculty member, she served as an academic advisor, student tutor, advised various clubs and coordinated internship and field trip experiences, in addition to handling a wide variety of administrative duties.
Dormer-Carusone lives in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. She speaks basic conversational Spanish and Italian.
Commissioner Dormer-Carusone takes a serious interest in the rights of women, children and all individuals with special needs. She looks forward to serving the citizens of Pennsylvania in a positive, productive manner as a member of the commission.
Her term will expire Oct. 14, 2019.