Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. EDT
An estimated 1 million undocumented children under the age of 18 live in the U.S. and 65,000 undocumented high school students graduate each year. Yet, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, only 7,000-13,000 undocumented students are believed to be enrolled in college systems throughout the U.S., with the largest numbers in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Illinois*. While Congress has failed, to date, to pass the D.R.E.A.M. Act, many states have passed legislation to facilitate undocumented students access to higher education. There remains a great deal that student affairs educators can do to work WITH and FOR undocumented students on their campuses.
On this episode of Student Affairs Live, co-host Heather Shea Gasser discusses campus-based, state, and national initiatives to support undocumented students in higher education with four educators, scholars, and activists. Joining Heather are Laura M. Bohórquez García, Matthew Matera, Dr. Susana Muñoz, and Meng So.
Please submit questions or discussion topics in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will do her best to work them into the show. Viewers watching live can also participate in the conversation on Twitter by tweeting with the hashtag #higheredlive.
*Sources: Scholarships A-Z, Pew Hispanic Center, U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates
Heather SheaHeather Shea's career in student affairs spans 16+ years and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she is a true Student Affairs Generalist. Heather is currently serving as the assistant director of RISE (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment), a living-learning community at Michigan State University while also a full-time doctoral candidate in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University in 2000. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heather_shea_
Laura M. Bohórquez García
Matthew Matera is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of ScholarshipsA-Z, an organization dedicated to providing educational resources to students, regardless of immigration status. He has a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from the University of Arizona, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in college access and educational policy from the same institution. Matt’s scholarship and activism are focused on helping educators find the best ways to work with AND for undocumented students as we collectively fight for an equitable education system.
Dr. Susana Muñoz
Dr. Susana Muñoz is an Assistant Professor of Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University. Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of underrepresented populations in higher education. Specifically, she focuses her research on issues of access, identity, and college persistence for undocumented Latina/o students, while employing perspectives such as Latino critical race theory, Chicana feminist epistemology, and college persistence theory to identify and deconstruct issues of power and inequities as experienced by these populations. She utilizes multiple research methods as mechanisms to examine these matters with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices. Connect with her on Twitter at @SusanaPhD
Meng So currently serves as the first director of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley, coordinating efforts to initiate and enact a comprehensive agenda that responds to the needs of first generation, low-income, and undocumented students. The program is renown for its holistic system of critical support services for undocumented students inclusive of a Dreamers Resource Center, immigration legal support, emergency grants, mental health support, and faculty/staff ally training. The program has quickly emerged as a innovative practice of support being replicated at other universities in the state and nationwide. He sits on the UC Presidential Task Force on Undocumented Students, and lends his voice to national efforts to advocate for inclusive immigration policies and a Federal Dream Act.