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Keeping the Dream Alive Division of Student Affairs

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Annual Keeping the Dream Alive Conference

Save the Date: Thursday, April 11 & Friday, April 12, 2024

8th Annual Keeping the Dream Alive Virtual Conference

Families, Futures, and Well-Being: A Holistic Approach to UndocuScholar Success: A Holistic Approach to UndocuScholar Success

Conference Overview

The Annual Keeping the Dream Alive (KDA) Conference brings together dedicated educators, practitioners, and professionals nationwide with a shared commitment to supporting the success of undocumented and mixed-status students in the United States.

This online conference serves as a dynamic platform, connecting minds, ideas, and experiences from diverse regions, creating a rich tapestry of perspectives. KDA facilitates a national dialogue and offers a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, discover innovative practices, and establish connections with like-minded individuals engaged in similar work.
The two-day event includes keynote speakers, an expert panel, workshops, interest-based discussions, and networking opportunities. Together, we will keep the dream of obtaining a college degree alive for undocumented and mixed-status students!

This year's theme, "Families, Futures, and Well-Being: A Holistic Approach to UndocuScholar Success," underscores the importance of providing comprehensive support to students, especially in a post-DACA landscape. An emphasis on holistic support encompasses the active involvement of families, equipping students with a clear understanding of future options without DACA, and promoting well-being throughout their college journey and beyond.

Areas of focus include:

  • Family Engagement and Support
  • Navigating Legal and Policy Challenges
  • Beyond Graduation: Career and Life Success
  • Advocacy and Activism
  • Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Intersectionality, Equity, and Belonging

KDA 2023 Highlights

Discover the captivating moments from the Keeping the Dream Alive 2023 Conference!

KDA 2023 Highlights

Agenda at a Glance

All listed times are Pacific Standard Time (PST). All sessions will be transmitted via Zoom, and live captions and transcriptions will be available. Requests for additional accommodations can be made during registration.

Agenda at a Glance

Keynote Speakers

Cynthia Nayeli Carvajal, PhD - City University of New York Director for Undocumented and Immigrant Student Programs

Cynthia Carvajal is a scholar and practitioner at the intersection of immigration and education. Originally from Zapopan, Mexico she immigrated to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, CA at the age of five where she navigated K-12 education as an undocumented immigrant. Her personal and professional goals are grounded in her experience as a formerly undocumented immigrant, student, and community member for twelve years of her life.

She previously served as the inaugural director for two immigration focused spaces: John Jay’s Immigrant Student Success Center and the CUNY-Initiative on Immigration and Education (CUNY-IIE). In her role at CUNY-IIE, Dr. Carvajal managed a $6-million-dollar grant provided by the New York State Education Department, which focused on developing resources and materials for K-12 educators across the state of New York.

Her current role as the inaugural university director for Undocumented and Immigrant Student Programs at CUNY is a centralized role which addresses practice and policy that impacts undocumented students across CUNY campuses. One of her department’s main goals is to help develop Immigrant Student Success Centers across the CUNY campuses.

Cynthia Carvajal earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA, her master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University and her doctorate at the University of Arizona.


Marisela Hernandez- Equity Manager, Foundation for California Community Colleges

Marisela Hernandez is a passionate Equity Department manager at the Foundation forCalifornia Community Colleges (CCC). Marisela has twelve years of experience supportingundocumented students in higher education. Marisela collaborates with the CCC Chancellor’s Office, UndocuLiaison Network statewide, and experts across California to enhance services for undocumented students. She is a driving force behind the creation of the statewide Undocumented Student Support eHandbook. Previously, she founded the Sacramento City College Dreamers Program and established the Sierra College Undocumented Student Center. Marisela has also co-chaired the California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition Campus Resources workgroup.

Marisela holds a B.A. in Communications Studies from California State University, Chico, and a Master's in Business Administration for Executives from California State University, Sacramento. Her unwavering commitment lies in fostering safe, inclusive, and supportive environments while promoting equity and holistic support for underrepresented communities.


Expert Panelists


  • Kim Gomez, Program Coordinator & Conference Chair, Dreamer Resource Center, Sacramento State


  • Guillermo Metelin Bock, Dream Center Coordinator, CSU Monterrey Bay
  • Diego Sanchez, Director of Policy and Strategy Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
  • Jaqueline Neri Arias, Executive Director of Student Experience and Inclusion, Dominican University
  • Sarah Kim, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edu Light, Inc.


Registration will launch in Spring 2024!

Registration Types

General: $150 – For educators, practitioners, administrators, community members, etc.

Student Staff: $50 – For student employees from dream centers, undocu-resource programs, student affairs departments, etc.

Note: 100% of registration fees go to our Dreamer Emergency Fund, which supports undocumented students who are experiencing unexpected financial challenges. Registration fees are non-refundable.

Credit Card

Invoice/PO Registration

IFT Registration

To request ADA accommodations that will allow you to participate in this event, please contact no later than five (5) business days prior to the event.

Contact Us for Support

Please contact the Dreamer Resource Center for support with registration or any question you may have.

Phone: (916) 278-7734