MEET OUR TEAM
Carolina founded My Undocumented Life in 2011 as a platform for undocumented communities to obtain up-to-date information and resources on pursuing higher education, immigration policies, and much more. She grew up undocumented in the U.S. for over a decade. Carolina recently completed her PhD in Education at Harvard. Her current research project explores the consequences of heightened immigration enforcement on undocumented immigrants and their families.
Rachel is currently leading several programming and outreach efforts at My Undocumented Life. She 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.
Lucy is currently leading the development of the UndocuScholarship series at My Undocumented Life, which will include posts that are dedicated to featuring the research of formerly and currently undocumented scholars. The series will launch during the Fall of 2021. She is a first-generation PhD student in ethnic studies. She has conducted qualitative research focusing on undocumented migrants and their experiences forming new family ties and navigating immigration law. She is involved with efforts to support undocumented and formerly undocumented graduate students.
Brenda is a student at Marquette University studying biological sciences to pursue a career in physical therapy. She advocates for undocumented students by creating scholarship opportunities at her campus.
Brenda was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and immigrated to California at the age of five. She recently graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Linguistics and Psychology. During her time at UCLA, she was introduced to the undocumented movement and fundraised for scholarships. Currently, she is in the process of applying to grad school. Brenda volunteers her time at a pediatric therapy clinic where her main focus is speech therapy.
Gloria was born in Guerrero, Mexico and brought to the U.S. at the age of 1. She is currently a freshman at Richland College and majoring in Biology in hopes of going to medical school and becoming a gynecologist. She has competed in national pageants and loves journalism, photography, art, and helping others.
Kenia is a double major in Sociology and Social Policy & Public Service at the University of California, Irvine. She was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and migrated to the U.S. when she was 8 years old. Kenia’s parents always emphasized the importance of going to college but lacked the knowledge of how to navigate the US college application system. With the support of several non-profit organizations, Kenia was able to successfully apply to college. Her journey towards higher education has influenced her into pursuing a career in public service and advocacy for resources for Latinx youth and the undocumented community.
Lilibeth was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and migrated to the U.S. when she was four years old. She wasn’t aware that the college application process was different for undocumented students until she reached the time to apply to a 4-year university, and due to the lack of financial aid she decided to continue by taking smaller steps. She is currently enrolled in community college and plans to transfer in the coming year. Lilibeth ultimately hopes to receive her M.A. in Gerontology and Occupational Therapy and work with the senior citizen community.
Maria is an undocumented student at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been living in the U.S. since the age of three and is currently a DACA recipient. With this privilege, she finds herself wrapping up her last year of undergraduate studies abroad. She looks forward to learning about the resources available and lacking, as well as becoming a resource for the undocumented community.
Nery was born in Chalco, Mexico and arrived to the U.S. at the age of 4. She is currently a DACA student attending Florida International University. She is majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Business. Nery hopes to pursue a career in medicine to help those with medical needs.
Paulina was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and brought to the U.S. at six years old. With Cerebral Palsy, the path towards a higher education for Paulina has proved to be quite a challenge. However, as an undocumented student with a disability she constructed a unique pathway on the road to a successful future. In 2010, she began her education at Cerritos College and in 2014 transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles. With many obstacles along the way, she managed to recently graduate with a B.A. in Spanish and Mexican Studies minor. Passionate about the community and Mexican culture, her ultimate goal is to receive a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature. She also hopes to continue advocating for undocumented students and help bring awareness about the obstacles that students with different disabilities face pursuing higher education in an effort to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that exists with these two minority groups.
Rossana was born in Guatemala. She came to this country when she was 10 years old. Like many other DREAMers, she realized academics were one area where she could excel in and focused on that throughout high school and college. Fascinated by the process of acquiring a new language and remembering what it was like to learn English as a second language, she studied Psychology and Cognitive Science during her undergraduate education, also learning Chinese along the way. She recently graduated with her M.A. in Social Work from the University of Albany and has a passion for advocating for the health of refugees and immigrants.
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Anamaria graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education from Brown. She was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the U.S. when she was six years old. She hopes to combine scholarship and activism to increase college attainment for undocumented students and contribute to the broader fight for immigrant rights.
Andrea was born in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico and brought to the U.S. at the age of six. Her current interests include traveling, motivating people, and tasting foods from various cultures.
Alejandra was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon Mexico and immigrated to the Rio Grande Valley in TX when she was 14 years. Soon after, her visa expired and she became one of millions of undocumented individuals living in the shadows. After facing numerous challenges because of her status, she decided to own her narrative and come out of the shadows. With the support of her community and an incredible network of undocumented students and allies around the nation, Alejandra was able to apply to college, and is excited to start her new journey as a freshman at Tufts University. She hopes to become more active in the immigrant rights movements and earn a degree that would allow her to assist other students like her.
Alexis was born in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of two. Despite having been admitted to some of the best engineering programs such as Cal Poly and UC San Diego, he decided to attend San Joaquin Delta Community College due to the lack of financial resources. He was able to transfer to a 4-year university a few years after where he is currently pursuing a double major in ethnic studies and public health. Alexis has been both an advocate for undocumented students and families.
Alexis is a third year student at Brown concentrating in Urban Studies and Anthropology. Born and raised in Watsonville, CA, an agriculture based immigrant community, he is passionate about supporting and increasing college access and rights for undocumented, first-gen, and low-income people.
Beni recently completed his Master’s in Sociology. He previously attended community college and 4-year university where he received an A.A. and B.A. in Sociology. He owes all of his educational success to the extensive support from professors, counselors, friends, and family members. Through research, he hopes to create a bridge to college and grad school for the most underserved and underprivileged undocumented students.
Beto/Carlos was born in Irapuato, Mexico and migrated to the U.S. at the age of 14 without (legal) authorization. Though he holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S. in Sociology, and a A.M. in Education, Beto credits most of his limited, yet ongoing [un]learning to perspectives erased in the education system. He will continue his schooling at a sociology department this upcoming fall semester (2020). He is a DACA holder.
Cynthia is a Postdoctoral Scholar and Visiting Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College. Cynthia is also a researcher for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, & Education (IGE) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research broadly focuses on issues of college access and college completion for underrepresented student populations, especially as it relates to higher education policy and practice. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Riverside in Psychology and a minor in Sociology, M.A. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Social Science and Comparative Education.
Dani‘s research centers on children of immigrants, undocumented students, and the experiences of people in detention. He is involved in immigrant rights organizing and hopes to continue to find ways to place research into practice.
Danielle is an ally to the undocumented community based in New York City. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and is now a social media editor for a digital news organization where she doesn’t get a chance to write much outside of Tweets and strategy documents.
Deyvid was arrest by CBP while riding a bus on his way to college, faced deportation and house arrest by ICE for a year and three months. Since then, Deyvid has been an ‘apptivist’ creating apps while doing activism. His first app was focused on immigrant rights and the second app features scholarship opportunities available to undocumented students. He has worked at a high school and the Consulate of Mexico. Currently he is studying at Salt Lake City.
Diana has grown up undocumented for over 15 years. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters in Education and a Bachelors degree in business administration from Cal State San Marcos. Diana currently works with undocumented college students.
Diana was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has navigated her entire educational journey as an undocumented/DACAmented student. Diana graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in history and a minor in Latino/a Studies. While at Pomona, Diana felt an urgent need to increase the visibility of undocumented students and as a result co-founded an immigrant rights awareness and support group for undocumented students and allies on campus. She recently received her Master’s degree from Harvard University and aspires to promote educational equity for undocumented students and dreams of becoming the director of a resource center.
Fabiola is passionate for social justice and public health. Her passion ignited through the various experiences she navigated as a formerly undocumented immigrant and as an indigenous woman from Oaxaca, Mexico. She received her MA in public health and her BA in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Francesca is the Program Assistant for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program at the Social Science Research Council in New York City. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a double major in Anthropology and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies and a minor in Human Rights. At the University of Chicago, she focused her research and advocacy work on conflict studies and early warning signs of genocide. She has previously worked on international grassroots mobilization against genocide and mass atrocities.
Frida is a first-generation doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education at MU University. At MU, she has conducted qualitative research that seeks to shed light on the unique experiences of undocumented graduate students. Prior to arriving to MU, Frida served as a Coordinator for Undocumented Students Services at another institution. In her capacity as Coordinator, Frida was responsible for effectively reviewing, understanding, and implementing university policies pertaining to undocumented students. Frida wants to obtain her Ph.D. to become a faculty member and eventually serve as an administrator who works with and for underrepresented students.
Gabriella is a native of Costa Mesa, California. Gaby attended Harvard University to pursue her passion of giving back to her community. As a Master of Divinity student, Gaby has used her knowledge and experience to help immigrant families remain united by translating for an immigration lawyer.
Genevieve is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco and also serves as affiliate faculty in the Migration Studies Program and is co-chair of the Working Group to Support Undocumented Students. Her work focuses on political activism among undocumented youth, children and families at the US-Mexico border, and California racial politics and Latina/o/x immigrant communities. Genevieve is also co-author of Encountering Poverty: Thinking & Acting in an Unequal World (UC Press, 2016).
Gina is a citizen of the world born in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. She immigrated to the U.S. when she was 15 years old. After facing a countless number of discriminatory acts because of her immigration status, she decided to become a resilient mujer. The day she stepped out of the shadows, she empowered herself. She started her journey as an organizer and writer.
Iliana was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and immigrated alongside her mother, father, and younger brother to the U.S. at the age of eight. Iliana attended CSU Fresno on a full-ride scholarship, where she graduated from in 2009 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Economics. Iliana recently finished a MA in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and is completing a PhD in Education Policy, Evaluation and Reform. Her research focuses on the occupational and educational attainment of immigrant students, the effects of deportation on the lives of young adults and economics of immigration.
Ismael grew up in Mexico learning traditional Folk Dances, while exploring other art forms such as poetry and painting. He came to the U.S. in the early 90s and studied English as a Second Language and Arts at College of the Desert. Ismael studied dance and theatre in college. He is continuing to pursue his higher education degrees in dance and physical therapy.
Jairo is a writer and community organizer in San Diego. Born in Michoacan, Mexico, he has lived in the U.S. since age 2. Jairo received his B.A. in Literature & Writing from California State University, San Marcos. Aware that out of 1.4 million undocumented students only an estimated 10,000 pursue college, Jairo is committed to increasing the number of undocumented college graduates nationwide.
Jennifer is a formerly undocumented writer, blogger, mom, pharmaceutical professional, immigrant rights advocate, and trail running enthusiast. She grew up in Long Island after coming to the U.S. in 1987. She was seven years old and grew up undocumented for 20 years. Jennifer started writing about the experience of growing up undocumented after meeting Carolina.
Jose is currently in a sociology master’s program at a California State University. His thesis is looking at the experiences of immigrant young adults involved in immigrant rights activism and/or advocacy under the Trump presidency. He will be completing his thesis in the Fall 2018 and plans to pursue a sociology doctorate degree in the near future. Jose is also currently involved with a community-based project exploring the experiences of undocumented high school students and their teachers, counselors, and staff.
Ju is part of a national effort that helps coordinate outreach activities and legal services to individuals eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in major U.S. cities. He came to the United States from South Korea at the age of 11. Ju holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from San Francisco State University.
Katy is a first-generation DACAmented student. She is currently a doctoral student in American Studies at Yale University. Her research interests include challenging the homogenization of Latina/o/x student experiences by highlighting the lived academic realities of Central American students. In addition, she examines the complex ways in which Queer Undocumented parents create and navigate family.
Karla recently graduated from UCLA. She is currently working at an immigration law firm. As a DACA recipient, she traveled to Italy under Advance Parole. She documented her experience, and created a guideline for other DACAmented individuals to apply for Advance Parole. The resource has been of great help for many people and it is just a small contribution to help out her community.
Karla was born in Mexico City and moved to Houston when she was two years old. She is DACAmented and advocates for other immigrant students at the University of Houston. As the first member of her family to pursue a graduate degree, she is currently studying law so she can help more immigrants protect their rights and pursue their dreams.
Kevin is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in American Studies and in July 2017 will begin his position as an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. The son of a Vietnamese refugee mother and Bolivian immigrant father, he received his PhD in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley and MSL from Yale Law School. His book manuscript, Organizing While Undocumented, is a multi-sited ethnography conducted in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. More specifically, the book examines the instances of racial/ethnic coalition building among Asian and Latina/o undocumented youth in the immigrant rights movement and the use of the law as a tool for activism.
Laura is a scholar activist whose passion for education equity and commitment towards justice has led her to pursue her masters in education. She dedicates the opportunities and communal support she receives to the immigrant community that she is a part of.
Leisy is Professor of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA. Her research and teaching interests are in Central American migration, families, gender, and the intimate consequences of U.S. foreign and immigration policies. Her scholarship analyzing legal consciousness and legal violence explores the structures that produce inequality and the modes of resistance of different subsectors of Latina/o/x immigrants, including undocumented students. She is the author of Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders (Stanford University Press, 2014).
Linda is a third year student at Brown concentrating in Public Policy. She’s originally from Queens, New York, and her family are immigrants from Colombia. She cares deeply about making Brown an inclusive environment for low-income first generation college students and undocumented students.
Maria has been living in the south for about 17 years. She transferred from community college in 2016 to a four- year institution. Maria will be graduating in December with her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
Marisol is a Professor in Sociology at CSU San Marcos. She is also the Faculty Director of the National Latino Research Center (2016-Present) where she works on applied research projects in the community on such topics as civic engagement, education, and incarceration. Dr. Clark-Ibañez was the recipient of the CSUSM President’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation and Excellence Award (2014/2015). For 10 years, she has been a faculty advisor to STAND, a student club dedicated to serving undocumented students.
Martin came to work at the age of 15 to the U.S. He is a GED recipient and transferred to MiraCosta Community College, where he spent five years. He fell in love with nursing after the 2008 economic banks-made mess and since then has volunteered for numerous community-based organizations and hospitals. His recent achievements include a B.S from CSUN, EMT and RN license, MSN from UCLA. He is also the founder of UndocuNurses, which aims to support current and future nursing students.
Melissa was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and immigrated to the U.S. in 2001. She attended Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to UC Berkeley. She studies Latin American Studies and has used her degree to gain a better understanding of why people from Latin America have and continue to migrate to the U.S. She is in her last semester at Cal and plans on spending a few years in the workforce before pursuing a Masters in Public Administration in the coming years.
Miriam is an undocumented Ph.D. student in Education at UC Riverside. Her research focuses on the experiences of undocumented students in the education pipeline. Miriam is committed to the educational attainment of students of color in academia.
Nestor grew up in an immigrant, working-class family in Los Angeles, California. This ignited his passion to pursue justice, such as statewide organizing with undocumented students. Now he is at Harvard Divinity School and is working on his organization which builds community between students, campus workers (janitors, dining, etc) and their children through tutoring, mentoring, and community building meals, emphasizing that everyone learns from and with each other. After obtaining his Masters of Divinity he hopes to continue his calling and further coalitions between groups working for justice and learning more about how to effectively mobilize people.
Nidya was born in Nayarit, Mexico and arrived to the U.S. at the age of two. Currently she practices as a bilingual psychotherapist at a non-profit in San Diego, CA. In her work, Nidya consults with individuals, couples, and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse. She received her B.A. in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her M.A. in Counseling from San Diego State University.
Norma M.A., arrived in the U.S. at the tender age of 5 years old and has been actively involved with the Latinx community and volunteered her time in the Latino/a Youth Leadership Conference for over a decade. In 2012, when DACA was implemented, she began working at an immigration non-profit. Together, these experiences cemented her desire to pursue Clinical Psychology as she witnessed the lack of mental health services available. In 2017, she joined the Dreamers Lawsuit against the current administration for unlawfully rescinding DACA. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology and will graduate with an additional Masters in Theology. @Norma_LRM
Patricia is a former undocumented Salvadoreña who immigrated to the US at the age of eleven. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is an associate professor at Framingham State University, MA. Her research looks at how communities of color create different forms of capital to oppose and resist racism in predominantly white higher educational institutions. Her current project examines the effects of legality on the experiences of immigrant college students.
Pratishtha is currently a post baccalaureate graduate student pursuing a Masters of Science in Biomedical Science and looking forward to applying to medical school in the near future. She hopes to continue to surpass systemic barriers and leave the doors behind her wide open for undocumented students pursuing higher education in the sciences.
Ramon is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Yale University. His research focuses on migrant resistance against the violence of the U.S. deportation regime. Ramon is interested in bridging scholarship and activism, looking at the ways social movements create new possibilities for knowledge.
Renata is an undocumented (DACA) college student at Brown University studying Public Policy and Ethnic Studies. As a former community college student, she has led efforts to create a scholarship for undocumented students at the County College of Morris and is also proud for being part of the youth-led campaign that successfully resulted in the passage of the NJ DREAM Act. She credits her local immigrant community’s support and resilience for the opportunities she was given. Renata migrated from Brazil at the age of 12 and calls both Brazil and New Jersey home.
Robert was born in Lima, Peru and immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 4 years old. He spent most of his life as an undocumented immigrant, but his perseverance and the support of his mother fueled him to pursue an education despite the limited opportunities available to him. He attended Union County College in NJ where he received an Associate’s Degree in Business. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at York College/CUNY in Jamaica, NY. After receiving his permanent residency in 2013, he is working on his PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and is also a PD Soros Fellow.
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.
Rodrigo was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and raised in Chicago. He recently finished his associates and is in the process of navigating through undergrad applications. As a DACA recipient, Rodrigo has volunteered in the past to help fellow undocumented students through the process of applying to DACA. Rodrigo is aspiring to graduate with a Bachelors in Engineering with hopes to eventually teach at a university and establish a scholarship foundation for undocumented students.
Rosalie is a DACA recipient, undergrad student, and currently in her third year of college pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She is 21 years old, went to a 4 year university straight out of high school and felt compelled to write this piece because she felt very misguided in her pursuit of a higher education, wishing that someone had been more straightforward and really told her what lay ahead for her aa a first generation undocumented college student versus her first generation college documented counterparts. She writes this piece not to put fear in future undocumented college students nor to discourage them from going straight to a four year university, but to let students know some of the unique obstacles they will encounter that no one else will talk about, especially students who came from programs specifically designed to help first generation documented college students, such as AVID (a program that Rosalie was in).
Salvador is a Mexican, undocumented, undergraduate student in the CSU system, majoring in biotechnology with the short-term goal of earning his Bachelor’s degree May 2019. He is currently doing research in a plant biology laboratory and with the Undocu-Research project. He is also President of Border Angels at his campus and Outreach Executive with S.A.C.N.A.S in an effort to advocate, encourage, and empower minority groups to overcome personal and educational obstacles in order to accomplish their goals. He believes people must sacrifice who they are today for the person they want to be in the future because everyone has 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week, but some people aren’t paying attention where they allocate their time.
Sati is a Ph.D. candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. His scholarship focuses on “crimmigration”, especially when it comes to the increased use of criminal enforcement tactics in immigration enforcement. Sati is also a 2018 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.
Silvina was born in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico and is currently a fourth year student at Brown concentrating in Political Science, Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Ethnic Studies. She has lived many years in the U.S., but considers Oaxaca her home. As a migrant, her interests have been deeply rooted in international migration and U.S. Latino policies. She has spent her time at Brown developing these interests, as well as taking multiple leadership roles in various capacities throughout the university.
Viviana is the first person in her family to ever attend a University. Her goal is to obtain her PhD and become a professor who makes an impact by helping minorities attain their educational goals. Viviana believes that having a diverse faculty will increase the diversity in the classrooms and also increase the rate of graduating minorities. She is looking forward to mentoring and helping undocumented students.
Yanina is a Uruguayan painter, sometimes storyteller and activist. She owns an art gallery and diy music venue where the main focus is to represent artists of color, undocumented, queer, and women.
Contributors are listed alphabetically by first name.