Title: Dreamers Coordinator
Q: How long have you worked at UCI?
A: I have been part of the Anteater family for two years and 8 months.
Q: Can you briefly share what your job duties entail?
A: This is difficult question to answer because being a coordinator entails being in different places at the same time! Under the supervision of the Student Outreach and Retention (SOAR) Center, I am responsible for the planning, development, implementation and assessment of programs and services to engage and support undocumented undergraduate and graduate students at UCI. In addition, I am responsible for identifying and collaborating with on- and off-campus resources and partners to help undocumented students address and overcome obstacles to success and well-being. Overall, I am responsible for assisting leadership, strategic planning and direction for AB540 and Undocumented Student Programs, which supports undocumented UCI students by serving as a clearinghouse for resources and information as well as a safe space for building community.
Q: What made you interested in applying for this position?
A: I was highly interested in this position because I had been working with the undocumented community for five years already and I wanted to continue contributing to the success of these immigrants. In addition, I was empowered to share my story, connect with others and use my knowledge to design services and programs to meet students’ needs. I was beyond excited about coming to UCI and making a difference in my community.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Connecting with students is the best part of my job. I am privileged to know hundreds of undocumented students from very diverse backgrounds. I am even more privileged to have these students trust me and share their stories with me. It has been a true honor to witness a beautiful community of faculty, staff and students come together to support this population. I consider myself very fortunate to work with everyone on campus.
Q: How can faculty/staff help UCI AB540 and undocumented students succeed?
A: There are various ways faculty and staff can support undocumented students. The first step is to learn more about the undocumented student population on campus and in the community. Faculty and staff can participate in ally trainings [http://dreamers.uci.edu/ally-training/] to gain a better understanding of our immigration history, terminology students use to identify, and laws and policies impacting undocumented students. Being an ally is more than being a vocal supporter, it is about taking action. For example, faculty can easily add a supportive statement on their syllabi advertising the on-campus services for undocumented students or they can put their textbooks on reserve at the library to reduce the financial burden that students face. Building a personal relationship with undocumented students also contribute to their retention and academic success. Acknowledging that undocumented students have the right to be part of higher education and they have earned their place in the university is a small step to helping students succeed.
Q: Do you have a mentor? If so, what is the best advice you’ve received from that person?
A: Claudia Caro, Mimi Ko and Dr. Elena Macias are my mentors. They have always encouraged me to take some time to reflect on my daily routine, to continue learning and reading, and to challenge myself in any way possible!
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I love spending time with family, friends, and nature! I find patience and love in cooking and in hikes.