Compilation of UndocuGrads Series



The UndocuGrads Series, with support from UndocuScholars, recently commissioned undocumented students in graduate school to share advice and reflections about navigating graduate school as an undocumented student. The series aims to provide knowledge, resources, and a sense of community to undocumented students considering applying to and/or currently studying in graduate school. The series features eight authors studying in various programs including sociology, engineering, nursing, and political science in several states including Texas, California, and Connecticut. Please see below for a summary of each post, and stay tuned for future posts in the series!

In her post titled, “The Reflections of an Unconquered Voice“, Emelin (a Masters student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) reflects on her experience balancing school, work, and family in the midst of the uncertainty of the future of DACA. “I will keep on making my family proud, and I will show them each and every single day that their sacrifices are not in vain.”

Ramon, a PhD student in political science at Yale University, writes advice about applying to graduate school with many examples from his own experience, all with a sense of humor. “Here are some pieces of advice I learned through my own painful but ultimately rewarding experience applying to PhD programs as an undocumented student.” Read more on this post titled, “On Applying to Graduate School while Undocumented“.

Pratishtha, a Masters student in Biomedical Science, shares advices about pursing a career in the medical field. In her post, “Your existence is worth more than a paper“, she encourages readers to “use professional training as an opportunity to learn from mentors, network with coworkers, and build relationships that will last a life time.”

In “Making Your Way into a Graduate School Program“, Frida (a PhD student in education) shares tips for applying to graduate school, with particularly extensive information about summer programs. “This roadmap is intended for undocumented undergraduates who are interested in learning more about the graduate school application process… it is ok to feel overwhelmed and ask for help. You are not alone.”

In “From the Tomato Fields to Grad Nursing School“, Martín, who recently earned a Masters of Science in Nursing and registered nursing license from UCLA, shares tips about applying to nursing school and writes about his experience coming to the US at the age of 15, earning his GED, and and transferring from community college. “I am the underdog as many of you are, one of the unique stories of proactiveness and resilience, the one that many do not believe in, but I was the first undocumented nursing graduate student at UCLA.”
Jose, a Masters student in sociology, writes about the inspiration from working with his professors and his community to learn more about research.
“At the age of 34, I began my graduate school education at a California State University… While I had attended a presentation about graduate school one of my undergraduate professors had given (the initial planting of the seed), it was not until I started collaborating with professors and with people out in my community that the seed sprouted.” Check out his post titled, “Taking Steps to Crack Open the Door to Graduate School“.

In “Navigating Research with Undocumented Immigrants as an Undocumented Immigrant,” Dani, a PhD student in sociology, writes about navigating research with undocumented immigrants as an undocumented immigrant. “I have found smaller ways to give back to my community alongside my research. This includes community organizing, presenting my work, and mentoring students interested in research. I’ve also been cautious about not imposing what I feel my community needs, instead I challenge myself to listen and give back what people ask of me.”

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Rachel is a PhD student in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies where she is a Research Associate for the Civil Rights Project and the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education. She has worked closely with undocumented youth in several regions including California, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. Rachel has also worked in the higher education sector for Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, MassBay Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Achieving the Dream, and Jobs for the Future. She received her Masters in Higher Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and her Bachelors in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Carolina grew up undocumented in the U.S. since the age of twelve. In 2011, she created this blog as a platform for undocumented communities to obtain up-to-date information and resources on pursuing higher education, immigration policies, and much more. Currently, she is a doctoral student at Harvard University whose scholarly work centers on immigration, race and ethnicity, law and society, families, and social movements.

Robert is a Professor of Social Science and Comparative Education, the Morgan and Helen Chu Endowed Chair in Asian American Studies, and co-director for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization and Education at UCLA. His research is broadly focused on race, ethnicity, and the stratification of college opportunity. His work has been influential to federal, state, and institution policy related to college access and affordability. He has provided congressional testimony regarding the Higher Education Reauthorization Act and No Child Left Behind, informed state policy decisions related to selective college admissions, and his research has been solicited to inform U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and school desegregation. Prior to his appointment at UCLA, he served as a professor at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Categories: Applying to Grad School, Navigating Grad School, Personal Stories

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