The panel discussion will cover the unique challenges DACA-mented individuals face in Oregon and the resources available at the state and local level. The panel includes current Portland State University Students, SOAR Immigration services representatives, and will be moderated by Dr. Oscar Fernandez, Professor at Portland State University.
Dr. Óscar Fernández
Dr. Óscar Fernández (University Studies, Senior Instructor I) works at Portland State University and served as University Studies’ inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator (2017-2020). He teaches a yearlong Immigration, Migration, and Belonging FRINQ (First Year Inquiry) and Sophomore Inquiry courses on social determinants of health, and popular culture. He specializes in inter-American studies, literary theory, and the intersection of culture, sexuality, and representations of disease in Iberoamerican literature. He is a holder of a 2020 Residential Research Group Fellowship external grant from the University of California Humanities Research Institute, “Disciplining Diversity,” fall 2020, University of California, Irvine. In 2020, he received PSU’s 2019-2020 President’s Diversity Distinguished Faculty Award. From 2020-2022, he is organizing and co-chairing an ad hoc committee, PSU/El Comité HSI (PSU/HSI—Hispanic Serving Institution), to gather recommendations and aspirations regarding PSU becoming an urban Hispanic Serving/Thriving Institution. His published work appears in Comparative Literature Studies, Oregon Literary Review, the Journal of General Education: A Curricular Commons of the Humanities and Sciences, Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s book—Guide to Making Time to Write—, PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association), and Routledge’s Global South Scholars in the Western Academy. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The Pennsylvania State University.
Hello Everyone, I am Eleazar Gamez and use the pronouns He/Him/El. I was born in Tacambaro, Michoacan, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. at just four months old with my parents. One of my proudest achievements is being a Ford Family Foundation Scholar. I am a proud first-generation DACAmented college student currently in my fourth year at Portland State University. I am pursuing a double majoring in Child+youth & family studies, as well as in Social Science. Upon my completion of my undergraduate degree, I plan on attending Law School. I currently serve as the Director of DreamPSU, a student organization that focuses to unite, empower, and provide a space and resources for Undocumented, immigrant, DREAMer, and DACA related communities. Additionally, I serve as the community Liaison for SOAR Immigration Legal Services.
Maria Sorcia Sandoval
Maria is an undergraduate student at Portland State University where she is working towards obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an expected graduation in Spring 2022, being the first in her whole family to obtain a degree. Born and raised until the age of 5 in the small municipality of Acatzingo in the state of Puebla, Mexico, immigrated with her mom to Oregon in early 2006 to be reunited with her dad. She enjoys working alongside first generation students and their families in obtaining the necessary resources in higher education in a way that is culturally relevant and accessible to them. Maria enjoys exploring new places around the area, listening to people share their stories and spending time with her loved ones. From her early high school years, she has committed to working with this specific demographic because she has seen the disparities within our higher education system that often leave our students and their families in the dark to figure their paths on their own, specially Undocumented/DACAmented students. From serving and learning alongside PCUN, Adelante Mujeres and Washington County to the current work that she does at Portland State as a Student Ambassador and Orientation Leader, in multicultural retention programs like GANAS, Mecha de PSU and the Cultural Resource Centers, she hopes to continue and expand in making spaces we often don’t see much representation, be accessible to our comunidad.
Nacia Castaneda, Community Organizer at SOAR Immigration Legal Services. I love working with the immigrant community helping reunite families and connect them to resources needed! It gives me great satisfaction when I can help and connect to the right people! I was born in Mexico and have lived here in Oregon since I was in elementary school. I enjoy time with family and getting out to appreciate nature!
Jhoana Monroy, a former student at Portland State University & PCC, is one of nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are legally in the United States, thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Jhoana currently supports a public high school institution with a Social Work background. She supports a Wellness Lab, that promotes regulation, resource support, peer to peer relationships, mental health, and continues to advocate for marginalized and oppressed communities. She is also an active member of Washington Ignite, an organization that supports BIPOC individuals running for office. Jhoana is a strong leader and an advocate in her community and within Washington County, and a co-founder of Oregon’s very first DREAMers Resource Center. Jhoana has been on the front lines and continues to fight for the rights of undocumented and DACAmented individuals.
Ashley Meza is a first-gen & recent grad from Pacific University with a BA in Journalism. To her, being a multimedia journalist means amplifying voices that are kept of out the light and sharing stories and experiences that deserve recognition from many different perspectives. One way to amplify those voices is by advocating for educational rights. Ashley gained her passion for journalism and advocating for people’s rights at Portland Community College, where she was involved in the student-led demands of implementing a Dreamer Resource Center and Ethnic Studies before transferring to Pacific where she currently works as the DACA / DREAMer Coordinator at the Student Multicultural Center. There, steps are being taken to have better resources for DACA-mented and un-DACA-mented students, including (hopefully) a new Dreamers Resource Center. As a daughter of immigrants herself, she highly believes that education should be a right, not a privilege.