UndocuGrads Workshop: Learn How to Apply & Navigate Graduate School as an Undocumented Student

We are excited to share a video recording of the brief presentation that we gave at the start of the workshop. See video below.

On May 16, 2020, we hosted the UndocuGrads Virtual Workshop where we discussed key information and resources about the graduate school application process for undocumented students (with or without DACA). We had over 300 participants who registered for this event with interests in various disciplines, including Education, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, American Studies, Arts & Humanities, Psychology, Social Work, and Public Policy.

In this presentation, we discussed:

  • Reasons why you might consider applying to graduate school
  • The difference between Master’s and PhD programs
  • Costs associated with applying and attending grad school
  • Funding opportunities available for undocumented students
  • Recommended next steps to prepare your application


Make sure to also check out our resource page.

This workshop was facilitated by 13 panelists who shared their experiences, advice, and resources during one of the following breakout sessions.

PANEL I. Education, Sociology, Criminology

Carlos is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to attending Harvard, Carlos co-founded and coordinated the Immigrant Youth Leadership (IYL) at the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA). IYL and ongoing work from previous generations paved the way for the opening of the first Dreamer Center in the State of Texas. He holds an MS in Sociology from UTSA.

Iliana is the Director of Research & Entrepreneurship at Immigrants Rising, where she oversees the research and evaluation agenda of the organization, as well as the entrepreneurship programming. Iliana is also a lecturer in the Labor Studies Department at UCLA. Iliana holds a BA in Mathematics from Fresno State, an MA in Economics, and a PhD in Education Policy, Evaluation and Reform from Claremont Graduate University.

Diana is currently the Director for Undocumented Student Services at UC Santa Barbara. Diana has worked with undocumented students as a student affairs professional for 6 years. As an undocumented student, she graduated with a BS in Business Administration from CSU San Marcos and holds a Master’s in Education from SDSU.

Carolina recently completed her PhD in Education at Harvard. She will be a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at UCLA during the 2020-2021 academic year. In Fall of 2021, Carolina will join the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at UC Irvine as an Assistant Professor.

PANEL II. Political Science and Public Policy

Ramon is a PhD student and activist scholar in Yale University’s Political Science Department. His research concerns the ways that migrant communities resist the growth of the immigration regime, from political mobilization to everyday defiance. He’s broadly interested in everything related to race, social movements, and field research.

Norma earned an undergraduate degree from Rice University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard and is pursuing an MBA from Rice Business School. She has been a consultant to numerous non-profits, businesses, and governmental agencies on their vision, expansion strategy, fundraising tactics, technology integrations, and mergers and acquisitions.

PANEL III. Psychology and Social Work

Cindy has worked on immigration advocacy, organizing, and education access in Illinois for over 10 years. While in college, she helped organize students, staff, and administrators to provide supports for undocumented students on campus. She attended the University of Chicago and received her Bachelor’s in Comparative Human Development and a Master’s in Social Service Administration.

Norma is a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology and a plaintiff in the SCOTUS case regarding DACA. Norma is continually in contact with the community and searches for ways to make mental health accessible to the undocumented population. Additionally, norma is an advocate for the undocumented community both locally and on the national level.

Ingrid is currently in the online MSW program at Rutgers University. She currently works at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness. She is currently working as an MSW intern in the Immigration Services program at JFS.

PANEL IV. Anthropology, American Studies, Arts & Humanities

Milena is committed to conducting research that reduces the barriers to healthcare, confronts social inequality, and combats the disenfranchisement faced by marginalized populations in the United States. Dr. Melo graduated with her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2017. She is currently a professor at Mississippi State University. In the Fall 2020, she will be a faculty at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Rafael recently received his PhD in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on the social, political, and economic contributions of Undocumented Youth Movements. Rafael recently accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Southwest Borderlands at Arizona State University where he will be starting in Fall 2020.

Alberto is the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley where he works with students, staff, and faculty to increase the number of underrepresented students attaining doctoral degrees. He holds a PhD in Ethnic Studies and has published extensively on his experience as an undocumented undergrad during the 1980s IRCA era. He is also an illustrator & creative writer; often works with undocumented students interested in figuring out new ways of telling their stories.

PANEL V. Law School

Mitchell is a DACA recipient, a native of Toluca, Mexico, and was raised in South Central, Los Angeles. He recently completed his Juris Doctorate (JD) at Harvard Law School after having earned his BA in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley. Mitchell is also a declarant in the current DACA Supreme Court litigation.

NOTE: If you have specific follow up questions for any of the panelists, please feel free to e-mail us at myundocumentedlife@gmail.com


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logo3ver2At My Undocumented Life we provide up-to-date information and resources for undocumented immigrants and allies. We post scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, strategies for navigating the educational system, information on how to apply for DACA/Advance Parole, news on DAPA, and much more. Most importantly, we want to provide a sense of community to our diverse group of readers. Learn more about our work here: “About Us

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Categories: Applying to Grad School, Grad School Funding, Navigating Grad School, UndocuGrads: Stories of former and current undocumented grad students

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