Isabel and Strom Thacker

A shared commitment to social justice: Strom and Isabelle Thacker.

Advocating for Others: A Conversation with Isabelle Thacker

When she was a child, Isabelle Thacker knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. While other kids were drawing pictures of animals or race cars, Thacker was drawing pictures of herself as a stick-figure lawyer. She also wrote down that she was going to help people one day—and she’s stayed true to that childhood promise.

“I want to see how my experience can help further Pitzer’s mission. I’m excited that the community and I share values in social justice. It’s nice when people are working toward a common goal.”

—Isabelle Thacker

Prior to moving to Claremont, she was the supervising attorney in the Immigration Unit at The Legal Project in Albany, New York. The Immigration Unit focuses on providing humanitarian relief to immigrants. Thacker is looking forward to finding exciting ways to combine her professional experiences with Pitzer’s focus on social justice as her husband Strom settles into his new role as the College’s seventh president.

“I want to partner with Strom to help Pitzer move forward and get the word out about all the great things happening at the College,” she said.


Advocating for others through the law has evolved over the years for Thacker. After graduating from the University of North Carolina Law School, she worked as a staff attorney at Georgia Legal Services Program and focused on domestic violence, housing, and public benefits. She took time off to raise their three children before returning to the workforce with the Greater Boston Legal Services and Latinas Know Your Rights Program. This was the first time Thacker practiced immigration law.

Thacker has also practiced law at an antipoverty agency, a domestic violence program, and a refugee agency.

At her core, Thacker said she enjoys “helping people who are facing barriers so that we can work through their problems together and improve their situations.”

According to its website, The Legal Project has “a special commitment to people who have traditionally had difficulty in obtaining legal assistance, including the working poor, women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.” Thacker was deeply involved in the immigration program, which specializes in domestic violence, trafficking, asylum, juvenile cases, and family reunification cases. The program also helped groups of displaced people such as Afghans, Ukrainians, Haitians, and others.


Thacker has not yet done work on the U.S.-Mexico border, but she sees Pitzer’s proximity to it as a potential opportunity to explore that. In the meantime, she is excited to join the Pitzer community that shares her values in social justice and community engagement. As she gets to know people, she hopes to learn from them about ongoing projects and see where she can be most useful.

“I’m fairly nimble: If you work in a nonprofit for any number of years, you have to be able to do a lot of things,” said Thacker. “I’ll roll up my sleeves and do what needs to be done.”

Of course, she will not be doing so alone. Isabelle and Strom Thacker have been partners since meeting on a study abroad program in Madrid during their junior years in college. Pitzer represents another leg in their journey together that has taken them to San Francisco, North Carolina, Georgia, Mexico City, Boston, Palo Alto, and Upstate New York. You may even catch them walking around campus or the Claremont Village with another member of their family—Opal, a 13-year-old retired sled dog that they adopted during the pandemic.

“I want to see how my experience can help further Pitzer’s mission,” said Thacker. “I’m excited that the community and I share values in social justice. It’s nice when people are working toward a common goal.”