Keeping the Dream Alive: Advising the Immigrant Student to College
Friday, October 18, 2013
Hosted by the University of Denver
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Mike Johnston represents Northeast Denver in the Colorado State Senate and serves as a policy advisor to New Leaders for New Schools. Mike first entered education as a high school English teacher in Greenville, Mississippi, an experience that led him to write his acclaimed book, In the Deep Heart's Core. After leaving the Mississippi Delta Mike co-founded New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit that recruits and trains urban principals. Mike started his own career as a principal leading two alternative high schools serving Colorado students held in state custody or living in group homes and detention centers. Most recently, Mike was the co-founder and principal of MESA (Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts), a redesigned urban high school in the Mapleton Public Schools that made Colorado history by becoming the first public high school in which 100 percent of seniors were admitted to four-year colleges.
As a high school principal, many of Senator Johnston’s students excelled in school, but then lost hope when they learned they would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate. Senator Johnston has introduced a version of ASSET each year since 2011. During his remarks in support of the bill, Senator Johnston said providing in-state tuition to undocumented students is an important step toward fairness and equality.
He has been an adjunct professor of education law at the University of Denver and has served as an advisor to state and federal political campaigns around the country, most recently as a top education advisor to Barack Obama's presidential campaign and transition. Recently named to Time Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and Forbes Magazine’s list of the “7 Most Powerful Educators,” Mike holds degrees from Yale University, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Yale Law School. He sits on the board of many local and national organizations including the “I Have a Dream” Foundation and the Urban League. He lives in Northeast Denver with his wife, Courtney, who is Deputy District Attorney in Denver, their two sons Emmet and Seamus, and their new baby girl Ava.
Lunch Plenary Session Facilitators
Tonette Salazar, Campaign Manager, Higher Education Access Alliance
Tonette has worked with the Higher Education Access Alliance (HEAA) for 7 years, helping the coalition find focus, develop and lobby legislation, and provide in-depth knowledge about higher education policy and politics. Under Tonette’s leadership, HEAA achieved success in better providing affordable access to higher education for all Colorado students when Governor Hickenlooper signed Colorado ASSET, Senate Bill 33 into law on April 29, 2013.
HEAA was only one of the many clients Tonette had in her legislative and political consulting firm, Salazar and Associates. For the last 13 years she has lea major education efforts and campaigns in state lobbying and national political consulting with clients including the Colorado School Counselors Association, the Council on High School and College Relations, TRIO, Cherry Creek Schools, Aims Community College and Educators for Obama.
Beginning Nov. 1, Tonette has accepted a new position with the Education Commission of the States, created by Congress in 1965 as an interstate compact to improve K-12 and higher public education. She will serve as their state relations director and the main point of contact to state legislators, governors' offices, and state departments of education and higher education.
Tonette earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from the University of Denver and her law degree from the University of Colorado. She juggles her successful career while being married to her husband Tony and raising three children.
Blanca E Trejo, Parent and Student Outreach Coordinator/Bilingual Presenter, Higher Education Access Alliance
Blanca is a Denver native and a graduate of West High School. As a Boettcher and Gates Scholar, she triple-majored, earning her BA in Spanish and Political Science as well as a BSBA in International Business from the University of Denver in 2010. Blanca has been an advocate for Colorado ASSET and Immigrant Rights since she was 15. She brings over 11 years of Community and Youth Organizing training experience with Together Colorado, United We DREAM, and the PICO National Network.
"I am a first generation college graduate, first generation born in the U.S and was raised in a single parent home." Blanca says, "That is how I understand, through experience, many of the struggles our young people face while trying to reach their dreams." Blanca believes in the power of young people to influence public policy and improve the communities they come from. She shares her passion for youth empowerment through volunteering for organizations such as College Summit; as well as presenting to High School students of color across the metro area about the importance of continuing their education at post-secondary institutions.
Workshop Presenters Biographies
Campaign for Citizenship
Hans Meyer runs a private law practice specializing in immigration law, removal defense, criminal defense, postconviction relief, and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. He represents immigrants in matters before the immigration trial and appellate courts, the federal district court, and state trial and appellate courts. Hans is a former trial attorney with the Colorado State Public Defender, and currently provides statewide training and technical advisements regarding the immigration consequences of crimes to the the public defender system, the alternate defense counsel, and the private defense bar. Hans is also the former Public Policy Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, where he focused on local, state, and federal legislation and immigration enforcement policies impacting the immigrant community. Hans grew up in Aurora, Colorado, and is a 2006 graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, he ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, the National Immigration Project, and the National Lawyers Guild. Hans has been recognized for his public interest litigation and advocacy by the immigration bar, criminal defense bar, and the Hispanic bar. He frequently lectures, publishes, and appears in the press on issues related to immigration law and policy and its nexus with the criminal justice system.
Julie Gonzales is a paralegal at the Meyer Law Office, PC, where she supports noncitizens with criminal convictions in deportation proceedings to fight to stay in the United States. She has a decade of experience engaging grassroots communities across the state through organizing around immigrant justice, education reform, and workers’ rights. She earned her undergraduate degree in History and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale University in 2005. Born on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona and raised in the borderlands of south Texas, Julie has lived in Denver for the past eight years and is proud to call Colorado home.
DACA: Eligibility, Process and Obstacles
Abbie L Johnson the Children's Program Staff Attorney. Abbie represents children and their families in immigration-related legal matters. Abbie's practice focuses on representing immigrant victims of crime. In addition, Abbie coordinates RMIAN's DACA intakes and referrals to probono attorneys.
Bryon M. Large is a licensed attorney in the State of Colorado. Mr Large earned his Juries Doctor degree from the University of Denver Strum College of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico. He is a private attorney and has been practicing immigration law for over four years. Mr Large serves on the executive committee as Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Colorado Chapter (2012-2013 Term). Mr Large is a member of the National LGBT Bar Association, as well as a member of the Colorado GLBT Bar Association. Mr. Large actively practices removal defense, federal litigation, and asylum law with a particular emphasis on same-sex issues. Mr Large has represented clients before the Colorado state courts, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and the United States Court of Appeals foot the Tenth Circuit. Mr Large is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Cynthia Rodriguez was born in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, but has lived in Denver for many years. She is an alumni of Abraham Lincoln High School and is currently a 2nd year student at the University of Denver pursuing a degree in Accounting. She has personal experience with the challenges of deportation. Since 2011 she has been living alone in Denver without her immediate family. Her mom, dad, and three siblings currently live in Zacatecas. She currently works for the Volunteers in Partnership Program at DU and is a member of the Latino Student Alliance. She serves as a student advocate and support for Latino students at DU.
On-Campus Support: Special Focus on Minority and Undocumented Students
Monica Acosta was born in Durango, Mexico and immigrated to the US at the age of 3. After moving from California to Denver, Colorado 15 years ago, she attended Denver Public Schools. Monica graduated from North High School in 2004 and moved on to the University of Denver where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology and Spanish. Today, she works as a community organizer for a local non-profit advocating and organizing for educational equity, health justice and immigrant rights.
Eva M Bonilla recently returned from her two year service abroad with the Peace Corps. Prior to leaving the country she worked supporting DPS students through their college admissions process. She graduated from the University of Denver in 2008 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish, as well as a minor in Sociology. While she was a student at DU she worked at various campus offices, including the Center for Multicultural Excellence. Eva immigrated from Mexico to the United States as child, and grew up in Denver.
Practical steps to integrate undocumented students in the academic environment
Francisco Miraval a philosopher, writer, and journalist. Born and raised in Argentina, he lives in the United States since 1994. He is the founder Project Vision 21, a bilingual independent, news and consulting service agency in Aurora, Colorado. Since 2009, Francisco is a professor at Colorado Christian University (Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Journalism) and since 2010 at Colorado Heights University (Humanities). He previously taught Introduction to Scientific Knowledge at the University of Buenos Aires (1985-1990).
Alina Kireeva is an international student from Turkmenistan. She is currently a freshman at Colorado Heights University (International Business). Previously (2009-2010), she was a participant in the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program of the American Councils for International Education. In 2012, she became the Alumni Coordinator for FLEX. She is multilingual and a published poet. She has a degree in music from her native country.
Step-by-Step ASSET Process
Lori Kester is the Dean of Enrollment Services and Registrar for the Community College of Denver. As Dean, Kester provides vision, leadership, program analysis and development, budget oversight, data analysis, and coordinator of services for admissions and registration, financial aid, recruitment, outreach, call center, and records management and systems. Kester holds a Master’s of Science in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Florida Atlantic University. Active in the community and within the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Kester has served on many committees including serving as past Chair of the Colorado Community College System Statewide Registrars Group, and she is currently part of the State Wide Admissions Task Force.
Michelle Pacheco has worked in higher education for eight years; she currently serves as Assistant Director of Admissions at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Metropolitan State College of Denver and a master’s degree in Counselor Education from Adams State College. She is highly involved in the development and implementation of outreach programs that are focused on the recruitment and retention of Latino students. Michelle also leads the provisionally accepted program and ensures students are represented and treated fairly throughout the process.
LeAnne Schnader is the Tuition Classification Officer at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado for the last 6 years. She has been responsible for providing information to the staff and students at CSU on the State of Colorado tuition classification statutes and reviewing all petitions requesting in-state tuition classification. She has been at Colorado State University for 10 years and has been in Student Financial Services since 2005. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics Education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Counseling/Student Personnel Services from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. She has enjoyed living in CO for over 20 years and spends her free time as a volunteer with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Victim Response Team.
Shelly Ellerby has been the Tuition Classification Officer at the University of Northern Colorado for three years, where she gets to help students understand the requirements to establish in-state residency in Colorado. Shelly is a Colorado native and UNC alumna with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy-Ethics and Public Policy. Shelly is currently pursuing her MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership at UNC with the hope of working with first-generation college students in some capacity.
Supporting Dreamers in their College Dreams
Michael Jennings served as the Associate Director of Health Promotions for the BACCHUS Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on the health of teens and young adults. Prior to accepting the position with the BACCHUS Network, he served as the Director of Student-Alumni Relations at the University of Denver. While at Texas A&M University, he worked in the admissions and athletic offices in a support role. Michael graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Communications and Masters of Education. Michael believes in the power of education. He wants to help make a difference in the lives of young people. He takes his time with students seriously and hopes to inspire them to live life to the fullest of their abilities.
Stories of Dreamers: Undocumented Americans on the Path to College
Lisa M Martinez is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Denver. She earned a BA in Sociology from the University of Texas, and MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Arizona. Her areas of expertise are racial/ethnic politics, Latina/o sociology, immigration, and inequality. She is a faculty affiliate of the DU Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES), an interdisciplinary program dedicated to conducting research on Latina/o communities in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to serving on various departmental, divisional, university-wide, and national committees and advisory boards, she is a member of the Gender and Women’s Studies Executive Committee and faculty advisor of the Latino Student Alliance. In terms of her scholarly pursuits, Lisa studies the role of community-based organizations in mobilizing Latinos for political action in Colorado as well as the impact of immigration policies on the social, economic, and political well-being of Latina/o communities. She is currently working on an interdisciplinary project with her DULCCES colleagues on the pathways to mobility among Latino and immigrant youth. She has published in academic journals including Social Forces, Mobilization, and American Behavioral Scientist. Her courses include Social Inequality, Sociology of Immigration, Political Sociology, Latina/os in American Society, Race and Politics, Gender in Society, and Quantitative Research Methods.