At the 2014 UndocuGrads conference in San Diego, CA

At the 2014 UndocuGrads conference in San Diego, CA

My name is Carolina Valdivia. I was born in Mexicali, Baja California and have lived in the United States since I was 12 years old. I am currently DACAmented after benefitting from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) a few months after its implementation on November of 2012.

On May of 2011 I received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, B.A. in Criminology and Justice Studies, and a minor in Spanish from California State University of San Marcos (CSUSM). Most recently, I completed my Master’s in Sociology at San Diego State University (SDSU). Currently, I am a first year doctoral student in Education at Harvard University. I hope to ultimately become a scholar-activist, and continue advocating for social justice and positive social change.

My pursuit of higher education has always been connected to my involvement in the community through my research and community organizing.

I have been a community organizer for over seven years now. Prior to helping form, and organize in, the San Diego Dream Team (SDDT- an amazing undocumented youth-led community organization), I served as president of Standing Together As oNe Dream (another amazing undocumented youth-led organization) at CSUSM.

In addition to my community organizing, I have also served as research assistant of several projects supervised by faculty at CSUSM, SDSU, University of Chicago, and UC San Diego. I have conducted research on undocumented immigrant youth online and offline activism, working conditions of taxi drivers in San Diego, political incorporation of undocumented youth, educational experiences of undocumented students, undocumented youth-led organizations, and more. Most recently, I served as senior research fellow at United We Dream, where I contributed to the establishment of the network’s research institute and implementation of our first research project, “In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Survey of Undocumented Millennials

Much of my research, teaching, and community organizing center on the areas I am most passionate about- immigration, education, policy-making, community organizing, and social movements.

May 2013 M.A. in Sociology graduation cap

May 2013 M.A. in Sociology graduation cap

I created this blog in 2011 to share helpful information and resources with undocumented folks and allies about the higher education process, DACA, as well as immigration-related news and community organizing efforts. As an undocumented graduate student myself, I am well aware that pursuing our dreams while undocumented is not easy. I also do not believe that because I made it this far, anyone can make it. We all go through different circumstances that facilitate or hinder our journeys. However-

It is my hope that this free-of-charge blog will be helpful in several facets of your own life, whether you’re also undocumented or an ally. I hope my blog can encourage some of you to begin or continue your educational pursuits. I intend for my blog to add to the ongoing conversations about international migration, policies, social movements, and related topics.

Disclaimer: All opinions in this blog are mine alone (unless otherwise stated) and they do not represent any organization I have or am currently involved in. Posts in this blog should also not be taken as legal advice.


10 thoughts on “About

  1. Just discovered your blog in an attempt to find out more about the possibilities of doctoral studies for a DACA recipient. I know someone who was accepted at a PhD program for biomedical sciences in NY but could not enroll as the person was undocumented. Now, this person wants to apply again to PhD programs but is unsure whether it will be different this time. Communication with the school hasn’t proven much productive. Can you suggest how this person can find out about the possibilities of actually pursuing the degree?

    • It’s been my experience that for graduate education there are no restrictions to enrolling due to immigration status. However, I know that it’s not always the case, specially when it comes to fields of science, law, business, and health. I’d recommend contacting admissions staff to inquire about applying as an undocumented/DACAmented student. Another route is to try reaching out to Faculty and students in the program. Often times they can inquire about information as such faster, but admissions should be helpful regardless. Because that’s not always the case, asking Faculty and/or students in the program might be helpful. I know that Faculty and students there may even know more about opportunities and applying to the program. If your friend would like more advice or if you have any questions let me know :)

  2. Dear Carolina, just came across your blog while searching for some DACA info. Thanks for all the valuable information and for sharing your experiences with us.

    Sam, I wanted to share with you information about an amazing organization in Northern California that does a lot of advocacy work around issues of access to higher education for undocumented students. They have put together some really great resources for the public. I have worked with them in the past and constantly find myself referring people to them. The organization is Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC). They have a guide that I think your student could really benefit from about applying to graduate school as an undocumented student. Here is the link to the resources page where you will find many other great guides that you can download and print for free. http://www.e4fc.org/resources.html

  3. Pingback: In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Survey of Undocumented Millennials (Working Paper # 191)

  4. Hi Carolina,
    My name is Angie Ocampo and I’m a student at Brown University. I’m writing a senior thesis on the experiences of undocumented Latino college students at elite universities. I’d love to interview you since there are very few graduate students currently represented in my sample. Please email me if you’re interested in participating so I can send you more information. Thank you!
    Angie Ocampo

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