Introducing Our 2023 Mental Health Career Program Participants

2023 Mental Health Career Program Participants

We’re excited to introduce the six undocumented aspiring therapists who are joining our Mental Health Career Program this year. Throughout the program, participants will receive supervision, training, and mentorship from licensed therapists while gaining hours toward their licensure in California by providing pro-bono mental health services to undocumented individuals.

Illustration representing Cinthia.
Cinthia (she/her) was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico and is the first person in her family to obtain a master’s degree. As a teen, Cinthia migrated to the United States not knowing any English. She is a big fan of community colleges where she obtained two associate’s degrees in French and Italian. After that, she got her B.A. in sociology and an M.A. in counseling. Cinthia has had the privilege of working directly with the Latinx community for the past 6 years, either as a warmline volunteer or as a therapist-in-training. Cinthia has experienced first hand the high need for mental health clinicians in the Latinx community. Through the Mental Health Career Program, she hopes to continue growing as a therapist and human while serving her community.
Photo of Jesus
Jesus (they/them/elle) was born on Nahua land on the coast of Guerrero, Mexico and raised on Kumeyaay land in the U.S./Mexico Border region of San Diego, California.

Jesus is a bilingual (Spanish/English) Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) who identifies as a queer, non-binary, undocumented DACA recipient, and comes from a mixed-status family. They have an associate degree in social and behavioral sciences from San Diego Mesa College and a bachelor’s degree in Chicana/o studies with a minor in women’s studies from San Diego State University. After working as a human rights organizer for immigrant and refugee rights, Jesus received their M.S. in Counseling from SDSU’s Community Based Block (CBB) Multicultural Community Counseling and Social Justice Education Program.

Jesus’ approach to mental health counseling is informed by person centered, experiential, emotion focused, motivational interviewing and internal family systems modalities, as well as creativity, authenticity, mindfulness and spirituality. Overall, they are a passionate life-long student of healing, community organizing, plant knowledge, astrology, emotional wellness, mental health, and spirituality. In their spare time, Jesus enjoys time outdoors, and hanging out with friends, family, their spouse, and pets.

Photo of Laurie
Laurie (she/ella) is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Associate Marriage and Family Therapist starting her road to licensure through the Mental Health Career Program. After moving to California from Guatemala with her mother and two brothers at the age of 14, Laurie earned an associate degree in social and behavioral sciences from Santa Barbara City College and a bachelor’s degree in child development from Cal State LA. Later, after some consideration, Laurie decided to apply to Azusa Pacific University for a master’s in marriage and family therapy, and so she began her path to becoming a therapist.

After graduating, and having encountered many roadblocks due to her status, Laurie decided to take some time off from that career path to become a full-time nanny. It wasn’t until she found out about the Mental Health Career Program that she found herself feeling hopeful about the possibility of pursuing the road to licensure.

Laurie is passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves and providing mental health support to those in need. She feels strongly about making mental healthcare more accessible to the undocumented community and to young adults struggling with entering the adult world. Laurie’s goal is to create an environment, in which people from all backgrounds and walks of life feel welcome and embraced.

Photo of Linda
Born and raised in El Salvador, Linda (she/her) left her parents and siblings behind to come to the United States at the age of 18. Due to the insecurity and the economic instability in El Salvador, she decided to look for a better future. Linda began studying ESL at Las Positas Community College from where she graduated with her associate degree in science and liberal arts in 2010, as well as with a Certificate of Achievement in health and human services. After working several jobs saving money to pay tuition, Linda was admitted to San Francisco State University in the social work program and graduated with her bachelor’s in 2013. But Linda’s dreams have not stopped there. She went on to pursue her master’s degree in social work at San Jose State University, graduating in 2020 with the help of the SB 68. Currently, she is working on her clinical social worker licensure. It has not been an easy journey and there have been times where all her efforts seem to have been in vain, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and the hard work pays off. Linda wants to give back to the immigrant and minority community because she has lived their struggles. The United States is a country of opportunities, and they should be for EVERYONE!
Photo of Nicol
Nicol (she/her/ella) is an undocumented, non-DACA, empowered Latina who is a product of Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico.

Nicol proudly graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2020 and immediately entered her MSW graduate program at California State University, Los Angeles where she graduated in May 2023. Nicol is an advocate for the undocumented community and hopes to create space for people of color to be represented in policy-making. Through her experience in clinical work, she has witnessed an urgent need for mental health services among immigrants in this country, and her vision is to help her community heal through knowledge and collective empowerment.

Nicol’s hobbies include walking her dog, Milo, spending time with family and friends, listening to podcasts, and going to Dodger games—she’s an LA girl at heart. She is all about balance and manifesting good things in life!

Photo of Stella
From a young age, Stella (she/her) was always eager to discover what truly excited her. Raised in Xinjiang, China, Stella set out on a journey to find her passion and a better life in the U.S.

After searching for years, Stella found her path in, helping people navigate their emotions and overcome life’s toughest challenges, especially under-resourced immigrants like herself. Today, Stella is an accomplished associate mental health counselor specializing in helping people recover from difficult experiences, overcome harmful habits, and understand the intricate relationships between mothers and daughters.

Stella often compares herself to a tiger, connecting with its strong determination and limitless strength. Dealing with immigration restrictions has felt like being trapped in a cage, limiting her opportunities. But, just like a tiger, She has used her inner strength to break through these barriers and make the most of her abilities. Stella is grateful to the Mental Health Career Program for giving her a chance to start a new life, and empowering her to show a path to comfort and renewal to those who are struggling.

Immigrants Rising’s Mental Health Career Program provides undocumented aspiring mental health professionals in California with career-specific hands-on training, professional development, and mentorship. To support innovative programs like our Mental Health Career Program, Pre-Law Program, and more, click here.