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Undocumented Student Services: Meet Our Staff

Photo of friendly faces at UC San Diego's Undocumented Student Services office

 

Staff

  • Daniel Arturo Alfaro Arellano

    Daniel Arturo Alfaro Arellano

    Coordinator

    Daniel Alfaro currently serves as coordinator of the Undocumented Student Services program. In this capacity, he oversees the student center and a series of high-impact programs tailored to meet the unique needs of mostly first-generation, underrepresented undocumented students. The services provided through this program reach an estimated 400 undocumented undergraduate and graduate students and are some of the first in the nation, among a handful of universities, to focus on supporting the retention and success of undocumented students in higher education. 

    Before UCSD, Daniel served as manager for the Immigrant Integration program at Alliance San Diego, a non-profit community empowerment organization that focuses on civic engagement, human rights, education equity, and tax and fiscal policy. While serving as manager, Daniel represented San Diego as site lead for the New Americans Campaign and Ready CA, two national and statewide coalitions, respectively, of organizations developing innovative and effective practices for providing high-capacity legal services, with high-efficiency resources. In his time at Alliance San Diego, he helped bring free immigration legal services to churches, schools, universities, libraries, and community centers. Through these services, hundreds of local San Diego residents were able to naturalize or apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

    Daniel was born in Queretaro, Mexico and came to the U.S. at the age of 11 with his family. Once in the U.S., his family settled in Escondido, California, where Daniel lived most of his young-adult years until relocating to the City of San Diego in 2013. In college, he was an active community organizer who challenged unjust practices deployed by the Escondido Police Department to target undocumented immigrant motorists. In his free time, Daniel enjoys exploring our diverse San Diego communities and spending time in nature through hiking local trails. 

    Email Daniel
    Book an appointment with Daniel

  • Christian Abigail Gonzalez

    Christian Abigail Gonzalez

    Assistant Coordinator

    Greetings! My name is Christian Abigail Gonzalez and I’m the Assistant Coordinator at the Undocumented Student Services Center. I am thrilled to be joining the UC San Diego and USS family! In my role, I will be leading professional development initiatives, offering one-on-one holistic advising to our students and providing general support to the center. 

    I’m a first-generation college graduate; I obtained my BA in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder (Go Buffs!) and my MA in Higher Education Administration from Adams State University. As an undergraduate student, I was drawn to services that fostered success and a sense of belonging for underrepresented students and, as a professional I feel very fortunate to make a positive impact in student’s lives. I’m passionate about educational equity, social justice and the empowerment of marginalized communities.

    I was born and raised in Santa Maria, CA to Mexican immigrant parents from Guerrero and Guanajuato. However, over the past 17 years I’ve called the beautiful state of Colorado my home. My favorite movies are La La Land, La Misma Luna, and Pixar’s UP. I also enjoy good food, dancing, laughing and talking about puppies.

    Email Christian
    Book an appointment with Christian
  • Andres Lemons

    Andres Lemons

    Immigration Attorney

    Andrés Lemons is a Staff Attorney at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. He has been a practicing immigration attorney since 2008. He has worked at the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now program, where he provided free immigration services to the people of New York. As a new member of the Undoc. Center, Andrés is happy to meet students for a one-on-one consultation and provide legal assistance with adjustment of status applications, DACA renewals, and general immigration screenings.

     

    Book an appointment with Andres

  • Kevin Graham

    Doctoral Project Specialist

    Kevin Graham joins the Undocumented Student Services team as a Doctoral Project Specialist. In his role, Kevin will work with campus partners to launch a domestic study program for undocumented/DACAmented students as well as assist with the undocu-graduation, orientation and, data collection/assessment for USS programs. Kevin is from Georgetown, Guyana and received his Bachelor of Science in social work and his master’s degree in human resource management from Nazareth College (Rochester, NY). He most recently served as the Assistant Director For Undocumented/DACA Student Support at Cornell University, spearheading many of the campuses undocumented/DACA student support initiatives. Additionally, Kevin interned with the Undocumented Student Program at UCLA. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Warner School of Education and Human Development Higher Education program at the University of Rochester. His dissertation explores the experiences of undocumented/DACAmented students at private higher educational institutions. Kevin has a passion for mentorship, working with undergraduate/graduate students and, shaping institutional change.

  • Maria E. Zuniga

    Maria E. Zuniga

    Program Specialist

    I am a UC San Diego alumni and obtained my B.A. in Human Development and a minor in Education Studies.  As a Program Specialist I help to support the Undocumented Student Services Center, Student Veterans Resource Center, and the Student Success Coaching Program.  I am very fortunate to be helping these three programs to better serve students and their needs. As a UC San Diego alum I understand how overwhelming this university can be in terms of size and information.  Seeking help and asking questions is the best way to obtain the support that is needed. 

Students

  • Alma Renero

    Administrative Assistant

    What do I love about the center?

    I love USS because it feels like a home. Staff, interns, and students are friendly and helpful. I am a transfer student and coming from a small community of students I was overwhelmed with how big UCSD is. I found USS to be a small community and a very similar environment to what I was used to at my community college. I love that there are plenty of workshops to improve student success. It is a great place to study on campus.

    How I help the center and students. 
    I am the administrative assistant. I am currently working on a workshop about loans and repayment.  In the past I worked on a financial workshop to help students fill out the CA Dream Act application and a resume workshop

     

  • Christopher Carbajal-Carbajal

    Retention Intern

  • Claudia Navarrete

    Community Building Intern

  • Diana Nguyen

    Media and Marketing Intern

  • Isabella Gomez

    Programming Intern

  • Karen Gutierrez

    Karen Gutierrez

    Community Building Intern

    I'm a transfer student from Los Angeles, and originally from Mexico. I am a senior in Muir college, and much like the "Father of National Parks", John Muir, I believe that America's public lands are truly our nation's best idea! Because of my interest in geology and environmental justice, I am majoring in Earth Sciences under UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  As Community Building Intern, I hope to help our community connect and flourish through events that are both fun and purposeful. Everyone is welcome to our center and events, so we hope to see you soon!

  • Krina Desai

    Legal Intern

    What do I love about the center?

    Since I started working here, I noticed one thing that drove me to love the center - the culture. Our center is incredibly warm and welcoming to all students, undocumented and otherwise, and at any point in time, the center is a mixture of students from different backgrounds, majors, and identities. But once in the space, you will notice students openly engage and interact with other students and staff. This is truly a space that derives its strength from the different experiences of every student that walks into the center, that is what I love about the center.  

    How I help the center and students.

    As the legal intern, my role is to support the immigration attorney in the center provide the best assistance to students. Some of my tasks include processing mail, corresponding with students, and putting on events throughout the quarter. A couple of events that I have put on as part of my position are the Fall Immigration Forum and Law School 101 for Undoc. Students.

  • Nedy Velazquez Ledesma

    Programming Intern

  • Seyeong Min

    Programming Intern

    Hellos! My name is Seyeong Min and I’m a second year ERC student studying international political science and economics. I was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to the US when I was five years old. Since then, I’ve moved twelve times but Los Angeles will always be my one true love. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that home really is where your heart grows, and no one has the right to take that away. In the future, I hope to work with immigrant families as an attorney to ensure that every voice is heard.

    As a Programming Intern, I create events and plan projects that will help you develop both academically and personally. These projects/events can be anything from overnight stays at Sacramento for lobbying visits to creating informatory flyers of what resources we have on campus. If you have any suggestions, or just want a conversation buddy, feel free to reach out!

  • Xelestial Moreno-Luz

    Media and Marketing Intern