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Student Narratives: Presidents’ Alliance Dream Summer Fellows

The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (Presidents’ Alliance) has been a host organization for the Dream Summer Fellowship since 2019. Through our partnership, we have hosted five fellows who have done outstanding work within our organization and have played a vital role in centering the voices of those directly impacted by immigration. The Presidents’ Alliance understands the importance of having experiential paid opportunities for undocumented students and encourage others to expand those opportunities. 

You can find our FAQs on Experiential and Funding Opportunities for Undocumented Students here


Q: What Dream Summer and Presidents’ Alliance experiences influenced you the most?

Valentina: Getting the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. where many important policy related discussions were taking place allowed me to venture out, learn from others, and expand my network. 

Maria: My experience with Presidents’ Alliance allowed me to hone in on different valuable skills. For example, I worked on several excel spreadsheets collecting and analyzing data. I created agendas and facilitated meetings. I also gained graphic design experience by creating imagery that has been used for the Supporting Undocumented Students’ College & Career Equity: Strategies for Success (SUCCESS) convening’s website. 

Q: What is the most challenging and/or fulfilling project that you worked on while being a fellow at the Presidents’ Alliance and why? 

Valentina: The project I enjoyed the most was creating an infographic containing information on university presidents and their campus initiatives to support undocumented students. This project included researching, analyzing, and compiling data. It was an accomplishment to start it, finalize it, and have the infographic published.

Maria: I had the opportunity to be part of the planning for the SUCCESS convening taking place in March 2022. I have been able to collaborate with organizations such as the TheDream.US and Immigrants Rising, and to continue my work past my original placement date in order to see it flourish. 

How did your time at Presidents’ Alliance prepare you for your career and where are you now?

Valentina: Through my work at the President’s Alliance, I gained the connections and skills that I utilize in my everyday life. In most careers, skills such as working independently and collaboratively are important, as well as time management and communication. All these skills I gained at the Presidents’ Alliance and continue to use at my current role. Overall, I would like to thank the organization and the Dream Resource Center at UCLA Labor Center for making these experiences possible.

Maria: I have been able to attend several professional development opportunities, which included training on: Website development, the Higher Education Portal, and Excel. I also participated in several webinars with chancellors and presidents of different institutions where we talked about immigration related current events at the federal and state level. This helped me expand on my communication, administrative, and technical skills. These skills are crucial in my role as both an educator and student advocate. 

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