Meet Our Team

Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibañez (Co-Principal Investigator) is a Professor in Sociology at CSU San Marcos. She was also the Faculty Director of the National Latino Research Center (2016-2020) where she worked 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.

Dr. Carolina Valdivia (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor at UC Irvine and Founder of Her research interests include immigration, law and society, family life, education, race and ethnicity, and social movements. Her work explores how illegality impacts the lives of immigrant young adults and their families, including their educational trajectories and political participation. Her current research project explores the consequences of heightened immigration enforcement on undocumented immigrants and their families.

Ana was born in Guerrero, Mexico. She came to the U.S around the age of 4, and was not aware of her undocumented status until she was about 18. In 2012 at age 15, she qualified for DACA and used her work permit to help pay for college. She is now 20 years old and in her junior year at Cal State San Marcos, majoring in Sociology.

Angelina Pena is a fourth year student at Cal State San Marcos. Her research interests include working with marginalized people, like women, people of color, and children. She is apart of the CSUSM newspaper, The Cougar Chronicle and in the summer of 2018, she will be working with children at a summer camp for the city of San Marcos. Her hobbies include photography, video creating, fitness, and digital art.

April  is a 2018 MiraCosta graduate transferring to UC Santa Cruz in Sociology, with a concentration in Global Information and Social Enterprise. Her focus in her undergrad research so far has been issues surrounding and within K-12 education in low income neighborhoods. With knowledge of how undocumented Latinx students are disproportionately impacted in the K-12 system, the UndocuResearch group has served as an initiative to investigate these forces further in her studies and implement the changes needed while in her career. April understands that education can either uphold disparities or equalize society.

Armando Contreras graduated as a Computer Science major this past December 2020 and currently works as a coding instructor. I live all of my life in Mexico and had the pleasure to meet and make many friends throughout my life. When I got over here I had direct contact with people that needed help much more often than before. This ultimately led me to join the Undocu-Research group along with a few pals!

Brenda Segura is a third year Sociology student at CSUSM. She is empathetic and really strives to understand other people’s world views. This project is meaningful to her; both of her parents are immigrants from Mexico and she wants to help people in similar situations in whatever way possible.

Carolina Lopez is a first-generation undergraduate scholar at California State University of San Marcos (CSUSM), majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. She is very motivated to pursue a career in science to achieve her long-term goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and providing therapy to college students in English, Spanish and American Sign Language. She is a safety monitor for Border Angels, mentors high school students in her free time, and is historian for the EOP Association at CSUSM. She strongly believes that “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away” (Pablo Picasso).

Celeste Espindola Rodriguez is the first from her immediate and extended family to pursue higher education. Celeste grew up in a mixed immigration status family in the U.S. until her parents moved back to Mexico. Among her passions are fighting for social justice and giving back to the community. Celeste will be receiving a Bachelor’s of arts in criminology & justice studies and a Bachelor’s in psychology in Spring of 2019, and she plans to enroll into a joint Ph.D and JD program to obtain a doctorate in sociology and a law degree.

Christina was born in Carlsbad, California to Mexican migrant parents. She obtained an Associates in Social & Behavioral Sciences at MiraCosta in 2017 and is currently a student at CSUSM where she is pursuing a Bachelors in Human Development with an emphasis in Counseling. Her career goal is to obtain a to Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and work in the juvenile/ adult prison system.

Daniela Carreon (She/Her) is a student in the Masters of Sociological Practice program at Cal State San Marcos. She has been part of the UndocuResearch Project since May 2018. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D in Sociology or Ethnic Studies to become a university professor. Broadly, her research interests include Motherhood, Immigration, Trauma, and Joy.

David E. Aguilar III is currently an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego and is pursuing a double major in sociology and political science with a concentration in Law & Society. Research interest(s): consist of public policies at the local, state, and federal level pertaining to the realms of immigration, education, and tax policy.

Dr. Diana Camilo currently serves as the Director of the School Counseling Master’s program at San Diego State University and has over fifteen years of experience in serving families and children in school based and clinical settings. Dr. Camilo is experienced in implementing psychosocial, academic, therapeutic and crisis interventions and support within the K-12 setting. She has managed school-based and special education teams to identify and implement educational supports for students. Dr. Camilo served as the chair of the Supporting Access to Higher Education for Immigrant and Undocumented Students conference hosted by the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL).

Deysi was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and she grew undocumented in the USA since the age of twelve. She graduated from CSUSM with a B.A. in Social Sciences. Along with community organizers, she successfully led a movement to stop the deportation of her father in 2013. At CSUSM, Deysi was president and an active member of Standing Together As oNe Dream.

Jonathan Sarabia is a fifth year and first generation college student
from National City, CA. He will be graduating Spring 2019 with a B.A
in Communication and Criminology & Justice Studies. His education
combines his two passions: storytelling and bringing attention to
immigration issues. Being the son of parents who migrated from Mexico
and having siblings who are undocumented have exposed him to the
struggles and unfair treatment that a “non-citizen” face.

Jose was born in the state of Michoacán in Mexico and migrated to the USA at the age of nine, and has lived in North County San Diego since then. Jose received an Associate in Arts in Sociology for Transfer degree from Palomar College, a bachelor degree in Sociology from CSUSM, and is now pursuing his M.A. in Sociology. He considers himself an undocumented scholar and community member devoted not only to immigrant rights, but social justice more broadly. Currently, he is an ally to the Transitions Collective at CSUSM, a student organization dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated students and/or students who have been touched by the tentacles of the prison system in some way.

Josefina is an immigrant from Mexico and was the first in her family to ever attend a university. She graduated with honors cum laude and received her degree from CSUSM in Business Administration with an emphasis in organizational management. While at CSUSM she co-founded the Latino Business Student Association and the Cougar Career Closet. She is currently a researcher for the UndocuResearch project and for the U.S Immigration Policy Center at UCSD. In Fall of 2019 she joined CSUSM as the Program Specialist for the DREAMer Resource Office where she focuses on the academic success of undocumented students and students of mixed status families.

Juan Jose Duran is a first generation, Chicano student from Fallbrook, California, a small agricultural community located in North County San Diego. He is graduating from CSU San Marcos with a B.A. in History and a minor in Spanish this Spring 2020. On June 2021, Juan will be attending Stanford University to pursue an M.A. in Education and Teaching Credential.

Juana was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of 26. She started to take ESL classes at MiraCosta College and is currently attending California State University of San Marcos. She plans to obtain her B.S. in Accounting by 2020 and earn her CPA. Throughout her educational journey, she has been very active representing her fellow students as well as helping the community through the volunteer service.

Ismael was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up undocumented in the United States until the age of twenty-one. He is currently attending Palomar Community College in San Marcos California where he is pursuing a degree in Chicana/o Studies and plans to transfer to San Diego State University in the Fall of 2018. In the Fall of 2016, he founded Supporting Empowering & Engaging Dreamers, an on campus student organization that focuses on providing a safe space for undocumented and AB-540 students. Whenever he finds the time he enjoys attending Chicana/o art exhibits and likes to hike.

Keisha Chin Goosby is an immigrant from Jamaica. After teaching in urban and suburban California schools, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Education at Claremont Graduate University to contribute to the scholarship about immigrant student experiences in the U.S. Her dissertation will focus on the mentoring experiences of immigrant and undocumented students.

Laura Martinez is a first-generation graduate student in the Masters in Sociological Practice program at CSU San Marcos where is she studying gerontology, intergenerational relationships, family, and gender. She will be graduating in Spring 2021 and plans to pursue a PhD in Sociology.

Lizeth Ortiz was born in Baja California, Mexico in a small town in San Quintin. She migrated to the U.S. with her mother at age one to be with her father who was already residing in the U.S. She graduated from CSU San Marcos in 2014 with a B.A in Sociology and now works with unaccompanied minors as a case manager. She has been part of community organizations advocating for immigrant youth and community as a member of the San Diego Dream Team and has attended United We Dream events and actions in D.C. advocating for a Clean Dream Act.

Lucas Schacht is a graduate of CSUSM and is currently in the Higher Education Student Affairs Master’s program at Eastern Michigan University.  His research and professional interests involve understanding the impact of the legal system on access to educational opportunities.

Maira is a first generation, migrant student and she is the first in her family to receive her bachelor degree. Maira received her BA in Sociology with an emphasis on Children and Family Services. She currently works as a case manager for a preschool that serves low income families. She grew up in Guadalajara, Jalisco and San Diego County. She is also an aspiring graduate student and plans to continue with her higher education.

Oswaldo Rosales is a 1st generation college student and son of Mexican immigrant parents. Rosales was a high-school dropout but decided to return to school in his early 30s to earn his GED. He went on to attend San Diego City College for an AA in anthropology, then transferred to UC Berkeley where he earned a BA in psychology. He is currently attending Stanford University for a PhD in education policy and psychology with research interests in academic/psychological resilience and academic achievement in Latinx students.

Perla Perez Beltran was born in Sinaloa, Mexico and came to the USA when she was twelve years old. She graduated from CSUSM as a Sociology major and an emphasis in children, youth, and family. Perla has been an activist since she started college; she has been advocating for people who may not feel as comfortable speaking for themselves, yet. She worked as a preschool teacher for three years. In May 2021, Perla will finish a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Spanish with EL authorization. She plans to pursue a MA in Education.

Salvador Cruz Matus s a first-generation student born in Oaxaca, Mexico who immigrated alongside his parents at the age of 3 months. After attending UCSB, Palomar, MiraCosta, and CSUSM he is now a first-year PhD student in the Plant and Microbial program at North Carolina State University. He conducts research as part of a plant metabolomics and engineering laboratory studying medicinal properties of plants. He continues to advocate for undocumented students and serves as a mentor to high school students pursuing higher education.

Samantha Prado Robledo is a Ph.D. student at UCSD’s Education Studies program and serves as a lecturer at Grossmont College and San Diego City College. She is a first-generation college student and second-generation Mexican-American. Upon transferring from San Diego City College, she graduated from CSUSM with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Masters in Sociological Practice. Her relationships and family ties to the undocumented community have driven her participation in UndocuResearch; her motivation is to assist in making education accessible to underrepresented groups.

Sarai Maldonado is a student at CSUSM majoring in biology and minoring in sociology. She dedicates most of her time being of service to others such as involving herself as an auxiliary at her local hospital, interning at a community center called Universidad Popular, and serving devotedly at her church in several positions. Her plan is to dedicate her efforts towards bridging the gap between quality health and minority people in need

Selina has spent much of her life in North County San Diego. She grew up as a member of a mixed status family. As a consequence, she has grown up with the constant fear that one of her parents may be apprehended by immigration officers. This coming Spring, she will be graduating from CSUSM with a human development major and a minor in criminology and justice studies.

Sonia Hernandez Cabañas was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of six; as a formerly undocumented student, she continues to advocate against policies that have impacted and left trauma in families. She is a first-generation college student at California State University San Marcos. Sonia will be receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Health, Education, and Welfare in Spring 2020. She will be attending graduate school Fall 2020 at California State University San Marcos for Social Work.

Sussana Mendoza is a first-generation Master’s in Social Work graduate student at California State University San Bernardino. Sussana received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminology & Justice studies in Fall 2018.  She is expected to graduate with her MSW in May 2021 and plans to dedicate her time after graduation to help advocate for communities. Coming from a mixed status family, she is passionate about social justice and immigration issues within her communities.

Xiomara was born in Guerrero, Mexico and grew up undocumented in the USA since the age of six. She is currently attending CSUSM and is working towards her B.A in Sociology and a minor in Art History. Being part of STAND (Standing Together As One Dream), a club on campus, she passionately advocates for undocumented young adults and immigrant rights by raising awareness through presentations and also by providing resources to the community. As VP of the Sociological Student Alliance Club, she is able to provide a safe space for discussion on political and social reform.

Yazmin was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family at two years old. Growing up undocumented in San Diego, Yazmin has strived to make her community a better place for immigrant and undocumented students. She is a first-generation college student, and the first person in her family to attend college. Yazmin is a transfer student from MiraCosta College and will be attending UC San Diego in the Fall of 2018. She is currently studying Linguistics and Ethnic Studies.

Yeraldin was born in Michoacan Mexico and has been undocumented in the U.S since the age of 8. She graduated from CSU San Marcos with a B.A in Sociology. She is also a co-author of the Book Undocumented Latino Youth: Navigating Their World by Marisol Clark Ibanez. In winter 2016 she joined California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program, as a result of that she is now part of the California-Mexico Dreamers’ Network.

Dr. Luke Lara (faculty mentor, UndocuResearch project) is a counseling faculty member at MiraCosta College and earned his doctorate from the Educational Leadership program at San Diego State University. His dissertation investigated systemic racism in full-time faculty hiring practices in the community college from the perspective of faculty of color. He teaches courses on how to deal with math anxiety, how to transfer, and how to be successful in college and career. He was born in Quito, Ecuador and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Susan Miller (faculty mentor, UndocuResearch project) is Professor in Sociology at Palomar College. She teaches courses on social psychology, statistics, and social problems. Her previous research examined the romantic relationships of women visitors with male inmates.

Thank you to the following organizations for their support!

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