By ALMA CASTREJON
(Interviewed by Carolina Valdivia)
Alma was born in Mexico City and arrived to the U.S. at the age of 7. In 2011, she graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Master’s degree in Education. Her professional goals
include pursuing law school and/or a Master’s degree in Public Policy.
When did you know you wanted to go to graduate school? I didn’t start thinking about graduate school until I finished my undergraduate studies. Being undocumented, I thought that a BA was enough; and sadly, I had not received the information necessary to know what grad school was about and what the process would be like. I knew I wanted to go to grad school once I heard that other undocumented folks were already in grad school and that inspired me to start the application process.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give other undocumented students considering/applying to graduate school? Apply to programs that are supportive of undocugrads. It makes a world of a difference knowing that advisors, professors, other students and others in the program will be supportive, whether it is seeking/opening financial opportunities or resources, being open to hear and understand the different experiences undocugrads bring and also how that will shape the students’ work. For many, being able to say that they are undocumented is a huge part of their identity; if a program is not going to be supportive of that then why would you want to be in a place where your identity, experiences, and knowledge are not valued?