Caesar is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
Being from Los Angeles, and coming from a family of immigrants has inspired me to further be passionate about helping the Immigrant community. Doing so, has led me on this pathway to this program that would not be possible without my family, friends and educators that have guided me on the way. What I hope to do is be able to pay it forward and help others whether in education or otherwise.
Jessica is a PhD candidate in Literature and the Team Lead for the Innovation Law Lab Project
I am originally from the San Ysidro/Tijuana border region and a first-generation, low-income student. I graduated from UCSD in 2014 with BAs in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature and received a master’s degree in Spanish from New Mexico State University in 2016. While at NMSU, I volunteered for the College Assistant Migrant Program, worked closely with the Center for Latin American and Border Studies, and was a member of literary workshop Pizca a las 6:30. Upon return to San Diego, I worked as a Case Manager for Southwest Key Programs, where I was in charge of compiling documentation for family reunifications. My current academic research takes from African American theoretical frameworks to analyze the racialization of Central American migrants as illustrated in Mexican literature (2006-2019). My personal experiences and relationship to the border motivates me to expand transfronterizo academic scholarship on American [trans]migration.
Stephanie is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I am a first generation college student. My family migrated from Honduras as adolescents, they worked very hard in the States to bring their immediate family members over to the states in order to escape the ongoing violence in Honduras, and to find better opportunities for work. Seeing it first hand, how innovative and creative my family had to be in order to make ends meet in America was admirable and inspiring however, I acknowledge that integration is only the last obstacle they faced in the journey of migration and I want to learn more about the journey one makes in order to get to the southern border and the legal policies that they encounter in order to cross the border.
Lucy is a 3rd-year Jewish Studies and Human Rights major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
Knowing my ancestors have time and again been refugees fleeing religious persecution, my Jewish identity and values have driven my passion to help the migrant community. Much of my work has involved welcoming new youth arrivals to the US, especially with the nonprofit Camp Nefesh. I am majoring in Jewish Studies and minoring in Human Rights & Migration, and I plan to continue to work at the intersection of religion and social justice after I graduate. I am overjoyed to be a part of the MMFRP team this year, and look forward to learning, growing, and volunteering to create positive change.
Nancy Castillo Camacho
Nancy is a 3rd-year Urban Studies and Planning major and a member of the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
I was born in Jalisco, Mexico and at the age of five I was told to pack my belongings in search of a better life. Pursuing the American Dream has always been a humbling reminder of my roots. Although I may not have the same privileges as those born in the country, I have advocated for myself and have successfully achieved many unplanned goals. As a low-income first-generation college student, I dedicate my triumphs to my community for its unconditional love and support. My passion for immigration and border-related issues were born when I was exposed to the cruel reality of an ongoing systemic oppression. I challenge myself to contribute a little grain of sand to stir positive change for those struggling to voice their injustices.
Priscila is a 3rd-year Sociology major and a member of the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
I was born and raised from Southeast San Diego, “the hood”. I am someone more likely to be presumed to be a stigmatized teen mom, rather than a college student attending UCSD. I am here to learn. By being a part of MMFRP, I can see myself. This program allows me to better comprehend my family’s and others’ migration stories. I am able to gain a deeper understanding of the migrant community. As a first-generation college student, daughter of Mexican immigrants, from the poor working class, I care a whole lot about immigrant justice and advocacy. I decided to join MMFRP because I want to learn how to conduct research and show up better for the migrant community.
Gabriella (Gabi) Clinton
Gabi is a 4th-year Political Science and Human Rights major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
I am the oldest of five children and grew up on the East Coast. I was born in Washington D.C. and have since lived in four different states. My family currently lives in the Bay Area. I have always been very passionate about the law, politics, and human rights ultimately pushing me to pursue a career in the legal field. However, I was initially inspired to join the MMFRP program after hearing my great-grandfather’s own immigration story. My great-grandfather lived his entire life as an undocumented immigrant in America, fleeing Greece alone when he was 18; however, due to his identity as a Greek immigrant, his immigration story and experiences directly juxtapose those of POC and undocumented individuals, especially those entering at the U.S.-Mexico border. My family’s own immigration story coupled with my own passions lead me to apply to MMFRP and eventually join the program.
Paulina Y. Corrales Ibarra
Paulina is a 4th-year Public Health major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I was born and raised in Durango, Mexico along with my twin sister and my two little twin sisters. At the age of 17 my parents decided to move to the U.S. in order for us to get a better education and opportunities. When I arrived in the U.S., I encountered a new culture different from the one I experienced growing up. I am the first member of my family, along with my twin sister, to attend college in a different country. Throughout the time I have been living in the U.S. I have experienced discrimination and seen social inequality towards immigrants. Thus, having first-hand exposure to social justice issues and seeing the misrepresentation of the community I am part of, has given me the opportunity to develop a voice for the people that cannot speak and stand up for themselves. That is why I decided to join MMFRP in order to help people that are going through the path I once traveled. As well, as understanding the impact immigration laws have on their American Dream.
Samantha D. is a 4th-year Urban Studies and Planning major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I am a Mexican-American, first-generation college student born and raised in South El Monte, California. My family’s migration from Mexico to the United States sparked an interest in immigration and has led me to major in Urban Studies and Planning with a concentration in urban diversity. I am dedicated towards serving my community and advocating for equitable opportunities for families such as my own.
Samantha F. is a 4th-year Political Science and Human Rights major and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
I am the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Iran, and I am passionate about advocating for migrant and refugee protections. I am majoring in Political Science-Theory and minoring in Human Rights and Migration. I am happy to be a part of this program because I believe that it exemplifies the intersection of human rights practice and theory through research, advocacy, and reflection.
Andrea is a Master’s student in Latin American Studies and the team lead on the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
I am a product of immigration. My family uprooted from Mexico to the United States when economic conditions turned home unlivable. This is a big part of my identity. I grew up flooded with the most interesting and sometimes heartbreaking migration stories from my family. I have a responsibility to help communities that are constantly treated less than human because I have the ability to do so, having been born on this side of the border. My family is only one of many with this type of background, and all these experiences deserve to be told and retold with the purpose of bettering immigrants’ lives.
Damalish is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
Being a first generation college student, and a child of immigrants, I have come to be the product of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. When I was young, I always visualized the aspect of immigration as being a normal suitable aspect of life. Whether my ignorance lied in the fact that I was young, or in the fact that my parents secreted their fear of deportation incredibly well, I eventually learned that migration is a difficult experience filled with complex pathways and injustices. I hope that through this program I continue to learn, grow, and use my privilege to amplify the voices of those who are constantly being shut down and oppressed due to our broken immigration system.
Inaaya is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
My interest in studying migration has been rooted in my experiences growing up as a Muslim in a country which has been hostile to my community as well as the hardships I have witnessed my parents go through as immigrants from Pakistan. Through these life experiences, I have learned to view society more critically through a social justice lens and hope to learn through MMFRP ways in which to uplift immigrant voices.
Alexxis is a 3rd-year Sociology and International Migration&Human Rights major and a member of the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
I am a first generation college student. I am Mexican-American. I am a woman. I am from Riverside, California. I come from a family of migrants who would do anything to give their families better. Everything I want to do stems from the respect I have for my parents and grandparents. Understanding their migration stories and understanding the highs and lows they have faced because of them, has always reminded me of my own privileges and resources. Thanks to my family, and the teachers, counselors, custodial staff, professors, etc that didn’t deny me the opportunities to achieve higher education, I want to never stop using my successes to give back to those who are denied the opportunities to do the same.
Amci is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
I am a proud Latina. Product of an immigrant household. I am a first-generation college student and the first in my family to graduate from community college. Through MMFRP, I hope to uplift the voices of undocumented people and spread awareness about the injustices migrants face everyday in this country.
Natalia Ibarra Mendoza
Natalia is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
As an immigrant myself I know that everyone’s story is different and I know that everyone will have different struggles relating to immigration, and that is what mainly inspired me to join the MMFRP program, I want to help people through those struggles and maybe even help them get to a stable place through their immigration process and have a better and safer quality of life.
Gabriella is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
My motivation to get involved in advocacy work such as the Mexican Migration Field Research Program (MMFRP) is because of my family and my major. As a first-generation transfer student and a daughter of an immigrant parent, I’ve seen and understood the sacrifices my parents have made for our family. Growing up I saw what my tío had to endure to get here from Guatemala and what my mother had to go through trying to get my tía here as well. Later on, when I went to college to pursue a degree in higher education, I decided to become a Sociology major because the subject helped broaden my perspective on a plethora of social issues and taught me different ways I could combat them. These experiences have shown me the importance of persisting forward and using my privileges to advocate for the implementation of more inclusive, innovative, and intentional solutions in the United States. I hope to learn and grow more in the MMFRP and be able to use my experiences to advocate for an equitable future.
Summer is a 4th-year Global Health major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I am a first-generation student and a daughter of immigrants. My present focus of study at UCSD is global health, which I intend to translate to my passion for immigrants rights. I have worked at the border for over two years, assisting in the provision of health care and advocacy for displaced and vulnerable populations in Tijuana. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Mexican Migration Field Research Program to gain a better understanding of international migration, US asylum systems and the stories of migrants in Mexico. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to explore a career in immigrants’ rights advocacy.
Kimberly is a 4th-year Global Health major and a member of the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
As a first generation student and a child of an immigrant parent, I have learned that many individuals do not have the same opportunities as me. My experiences have also encouraged me to think about how my decisions affect others, which has inspired me to be an advocate for the immigrant community. I want to fight for social justice so that everyone can have the same opportunities in life.
Jovana is a Master’s student in Latin American Studies and the team lead on the Al Otro Lado Project
I grew up as a transfronteriza student who crossed the international border everyday for 8 years to attend school in the United States and then return to my home in Mexico at the end of each day. My view everyday was a tall fence that extends for miles and miles without end. From a young age, I witnessed the arrival of numerous deportees in my border community and in the last decade a large community of asylum seekers from different countries. After having the opportunity to work with this community of asylum seekers in my hometown, I became passionate about helping these people and in the next years I intend to help change the way these refugees and asylum seekers are treated in my own hometown.
Jocelyn Meza Gonzalez
Jocelyn is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
My interest in the MMFRP came from wanting to better understand the impact immigration has on people not only from a research perspective, but also from a personal perspective. As a first generation, undocumented high school/college student, I have been fortunate enough to have been eligible for DACA and other resources after migrating from Tijuana, Mexico that have made my experience here feel a lot closer to home. What I am doing now is what my parents and I worked very hard for, I am very much glad I found a platform at this institution that acknowledges students of similar backgrounds as me. I want to help continue similar experiences and expand any knowledge learned from this program.
Jaqueline is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Alacrán Canyon Shelter Project
I am a first-generation Latinx student raised and born in Los Angeles, California. My parents migrated from Mexico almost 26 years ago. As a daughter of migrant parents, I have seen the injustices immigrants face in the U.S. Through the MMFRP, I hope to continue learning more about immigrants’ experiences and how I can be a better advocate for them. I aspire to hold an administrative position in Higher Education that will allow me to create policies and programs that are inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
Gonzalo is a 4th-year Political Science major and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
Growing up in immigrant-friendly communities, and being the child of immigrant parents, I have seen how important a topic Immigration is. Having been afforded many opportunities and privileges, I hope to use my education to represent my community in spheres where there aren’t many voices like ours. I look forward to understanding the world around me and uplifting migrants’ voices.
Esmeralda is a 4th-year Psychology major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I am a child of immigrants who coexists across multiple worlds as a Mexican and as an American. I grew up in this bubble where, of course, I spoke Spanish as both of my parents do not speak English, and I learned about my Latinx culture through my parents and community. However, I was unaware of all the challenges my parents, family members, and other Latinx members faced throughout their journey to the United States as immigrants and their stay here in this country. As I have become more aware of the challenges many immigrants experience, I have become more passionate about helping immigrants confronting challenges due to their immigration status and background. I advocate for the immigrant community, and I strive to use my knowledge and experience to help immigrants.
Kea is a PhD student in Sociology and the team lead on the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
Having grown up moving between various countries and cultures, I have always been interested in the different life experiences and stories people have to share. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a special and unique program that will allow me to conduct active research investigating experienced hardships and societal inequalities as related to immigration, higher education, culture, race/ethnicity, and social status. I aim to learn from the stories and experiences of others, and work toward mitigating these inequalities through shared knowledge, activism, and community solidarity.
Abby is a 4th-year Sociology major, and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
I am a second-generation immigrant, born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles to a Mexican immigrant father and Korean immigrant mother. Both sides of my family have shown me so much love, resilience, and hope. I find my strength in the knowledge of all of the women and men in my family who have humbly sacrificed so much of themselves for us and in my amazing friends and compassionate educators who have supported me in my education. I am proud to be an immigrant and I hope to apply my training in sociology and my invaluable experiences from this program to advocate for marginalized communities.
Kasandra J. Valladolid
Kasandra is a 4th-year Political Science and Human Rights major and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
My immigration experience began when I was 17 and I started studying in the United States. Before arriving at Chula Vista High School I was studying in Mexico. The differences between these countries were very noticeable, and the fact of being part of that percentage of students who did not fluently speak the language made me understand that there was a differentiating factor between individuals in society. That is why I began to get involved in activism, and in this way I began to understand what was happening around me. As an undergraduate student I want to help create communication bridges between institutions and vulnerable sectors. I want to help humanize the immigration issue, and ensure that we are seen as individuals, not as statistics!
Jazlyn is a 4th-year Sociology and Political Science major and a member of the Innovation Law Lab Project
I am a first-generation college student who is passionate about social justice issues. Coming from a low-income background has shaped my views, passions and interests. My interest in helping others has stemmed from being exposed to the many inequalities and barriers that disadvantaged communities face. Being a part of the MMFRP program has given me the opportunity to learn about immigrants’ rights issues and how to support vulnerable communities.
Michelle is a 4th-year Sociology major and a member of the Al Otro Lado Project
I am a first-generation college student who was born to immigrant parents. Having lived 10 minutes away from the US – Mexico border all my life, I have seen the struggle of low-income communities comprised mostly of immigrants in the city of Chula Vista, where I was born. An issue that is very personal to me as I mentioned, because I am a result of immigration. I have seen the struggles of my own and of others who are undocumented in the United States and because of that, I chose to pursue an education in sociology with a concentration in social inequalities. I strive to use the knowledge I have gained in my time at UCSD and throughout my life to help those who haven’t had the privilege that I have had growing up as a U.S. citizen.
Xochil is a 4th-year Public Health major and a member of the Latinx Student Inclusion Project
Being the only child of Oaxacan Mixtec immigrant parents, I have ALWAYS been passionate about the protection and support of Latin American immigrants and especially of our indigenous communities. I have an immense passion for helping others and am always looking for ways to give back to my communities, such as those in my hometown, Ventura, California, at UCSD, like in my club Rotaract, for which I serve as president, or in my parents’ pueblos in Mexico. My experiences and background give me the passion to help others and inspire my life plans and future career that I aspire to have in Public Health. I hope to continue serving my communities for the rest of my life.