Position: High School Program Participant
Host Site: Linda E. Marquez Libra Academy (Huntington Park, CA)
When Alison found out she was an undocumented immigrant at the beginning of her senior year of high school, it triggered a severe depression, causing her to skip so much school it threatened her chances to graduate on time. Not only did she have to learn to come to terms with this newfound identity, she also had to juggle three different college applications, a senior-year academic workload, extracurricular obligations, and a job all at the same time. As a low-income, first-generation college student, she knew that navigating the college application process would entail an extra layer of challenge and complexity completely foreign to her classmates, most of whom were from middle and upper-class backgrounds and college-educated families. Going through obstacle after obstacle, while suffering from depression, made that year the hardest of her life.
Although Alison received a full ride to the college of her choice, she still struggled (and currently struggles) with truly believing that she is capable of succeeding in higher education. She understands that being an undocumented, low-income, first-generation immigrant and college student means learning to survive in an education system that was not built for people like her to succeed. Therefore, Alison wants to use her privilege as someone attending college to empower, support, and learn from marginalized students just like her. Her work is inspired by the determination to create educational spaces that are compatible with the identities that many marginalized students bring to the table, while uplifting and elevating their intellectual spirit, curiosity, and empathy.