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Keeping the Dream Alive Division of Student Affairs

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Annual Keeping the Dream Alive Conference

Thursday, November 18 & Friday, November 19, 2021

2021 Keeping the Dream Alive Conference: fostering joint action across people, spaces and systems

Conference Overview

Through the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and emerging practices, the Annual Keeping the Dream Alive Conference enables educators, practitioners, and other professionals to become agents of change in their respective institutions and continue advancing the success of undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. This year’s theme, Fostering Joint Action Across People, Spaces, and Systems brings attention to the collaborative nature of undocumented student support and the importance of relationship-building across various levels and sectors of influence. Speakers, panels, and breakout sessions will explore how collaborations and partnerships between allies, educational spaces, and other institutions can support and uplift students impacted by undocumented status.

This year, the conference will be held virtually on Thursday, November 18, and Friday, November 19, 2021.

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


Details about the registration fees, along with payment options can be found in this section. Select your preferred payment method to access the registration form, where you will select your registration type. For questions, email or call (916)278-7734.

Registration Types

General: $100 – For educators, practitioners, administrators, community members, etc.

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

Note: 50% of registration fees go to our Dreamer Emergency Fund which supports undocumented students who are experiencing unexpected financial challenges. Registration fees are non-refundable.

Payment Methods

Credit Card

Invoice/Purchase Order

CPO – For CSU campuses


Conference Program: November 18

General Session: Conference Welcome & Opening Keynote Speaker

8:30 – 10:00 am, Pacific Standard Time

Join us for the official conference welcome! Organizers will provide an overview of the conference and the program outline, as well as review the procedures for accessing sessions, requesting technical support, etc. Yoliswa Cele will deliver the Opening Keynote Address.

Yoliswa is a communications strategist with a strong passion for advocacy and social/economic impact, both in the U.S. and Africa. A South African native, Yoliswa has a diverse professional background, ranging from nonprofit work to advocacy in Congress and the United Nations. An advocate and creative at heart, Yoliswa's passions lie at the intersection of human rights, economic justice, immigrant rights, and racial justice.

Join General Session

Breakout Session 1

10:15 – 11:15 am, Pacific Standard Time

Note: Click on the title of the session to access the Zoom link.

Alive We Strive: An Insight on Graduate Students’ Lives
10:15 – 11:15 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across People

Fatima Garcia, Juan Becerra, Rebeca Vallejo, & Maiko Xiong
CSU Sacramento Counselor Education Program

This session aims to educate professionals, students, and the general public about the experiences and needs of undocumented students in higher education, highlighting their intersectionality as graduate students who are undocumented, allies, and future professionals in the field of school and career counseling. Two panelists will share their personal experiences as undocumented students, and one panelist will present his experiences as an ally. The goal is to use personal narratives to enable educators to build cultural competence with undocumented students.

Cohesive Support for Undocumented Students Across Departments, Disciplines, and Community at CSU Fullerton
10:15 – 11:15 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Spaces

Areli Castro & Laura Barreto
CSU Fullerton

The Titan Dreamers Resource Center (TDRC) team at CSU Fullerton will discuss their quest to expand support and resources by working with campus partners and departments to support undocumented students outside of the TDRC. These spaces include other identity centers, UndocuAllies, key offices such as college-based student success centers, the Office of Graduate Studies, and the admissions and financial aid offices. Presenters will highlight their UndocuAlly training program which is being implemented across offices on campus. Attendees will also learn how these collaborations allow the TDRC to enter academic spaces and reach more undocumented students.

Increasing Inclusivity for Undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander Students (undocuAPI) in Higher Education
10:15 – 11:15 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Systems

Siyue (Lena) Wang, Miso Jang, & Madison Villanueva
Immigrants Rising, UPLIFT

This session will equip educators and practitioners with effective practices to support undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander (undocuAPI) students, whose existence and struggles have been long overlooked by higher education discourse and institutional efforts. Through a comprehensive presentation and interactive activities, presenters will address the unique challenges facing undocuAPI students in higher education, and foster a collaborative learning space for the audience to engage and innovate new approaches to serving diverse subgroups in the undocumented student population.

Breakout Session 2

12:30 – 1:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time

Note: Click on the title of the session to access the Zoom link.

Forging Partnerships to Enhance Success: A Conversation for Faculty and Practitioners
12:30 – 1:30 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across People

Dr. Veronica Lopez, Dr. Carly Offidani-Bertrand, Erik Ramirez
Moderator: Dr. Kristina Flores Victor
CSU San Marcos, American River College, Sacramento State

This round table discussion will feature faculty members and a dream center coordinator who are at the forefront of serving undocumented and mixed-status students. The session will focus on ways faculty can support student success (i.e. research, advocacy, etc.). Panelists will also offer examples and recommendations for collaborations between faculty and dream centers. Attendees will deepen their understanding of how to forge partnerships across academia and student services to empower undocumented students.

Let’s Build This! A Live Proposal for Joint Action Across Undocumented Student Resource Centers
12:30 – 1:30 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Spaces

Teresita Curiel, Marisela Hernandez, Gladys Puente, & Erik Ramirez
Moderator: Dr. Basia Ellis
Sacramento State, Chico State, Sierra College, CA Foundation for Community Colleges

This panel brings together members and founders of the Northern California Undocu-Centers Collaborative (NCUCC) to discuss the development of their joint initiative as well as explore best practices and visions for building collaboration across UndocuCenters in California and beyond. The session will take the format of a roundtable discussion, which will be facilitated by Dr. Basia Ellis, Curriculum Chair at the Dreamer Resource Center at Sacramento State. NCUCC speakers will describe their current projects as well as work together to identify next steps for expanding their collaborative impact at state and federal levels. Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions and submit ideas to support the development of a future vision for building collaboration across UndocuCenters.

Influencing Immigration Policy through Advocacy
12:30 – 1:30 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Systems

Rita Medina
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

This session features an expert who will offer updates on key policies that impact undocumented students in California and across the country; these include immigration policies, education policies, and more. The presenter will also discuss how educators, practitioners, and allies can influence policy change at the state and federal level. Session attendees will learn ways to engage in direct and indirect advocacy, and how to leverage the knowledge and experience gained from serving undocumented students.

General Session: Featured Speaker & Day 1 Closing Remarks

1:45 – 3:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time

This session will wrap up the first day of the conference. Organizers will provide an overview of Day 2. Maria Elizabeth Barrera will deliver the Featured Speaker Address.

Maria Elizabeth came to the US when she was six years old and grew up in La Puente, California. In 2000, at the age of 17, she testified in the Senate chambers of California about the plight of the undocumented high school student attempting to be recognized as a California resident. Her testimony helped pass Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), landmark legislation that grants undocumented students in California access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.

Join General Session

Conference Program: November 19

General Session: Day 2 Overview, Hummingbird Champion Award, Expert Panel

8:30 – 9:45 am, Pacific Standard Time

Join us to kick-off day 2 of the conference! Organizers will provide an overview of the day’s program. They will also present the Hummingbird Champion Award to student founders of the Dreamer Resource Center at Sacramento State: Norma Mendoza, Gustavo Garcia, Sarai Torres Mora, Zitlali Torres, and Brenda Martinez.

The expert panel, Leveraging Joint Action to Advance Undocumented Student Success, will focus on innovative collaborations that support the goals of undocumented students and students from immigrant backgrounds. Panelists will discuss a range of topics, including establishing professional opportunities, securing funding, program policy and administration, and advocacy and network building for immigrant support.


  • Ana Miriam Barragan Santoyo, Program Director, Toro Dreamers Success Center, CSU Dominguez Hills
  • Tanya Cabrera, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Inclusion, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Mark Stapp, Director of Development, Office of Advancement, Sonoma State University
  • Marcus Tang, ESQ., Citizenship and Immigration Project Director, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF)

Moderator: Dr. Kristina Victor Flores, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Sacramento State

Join General Session

Breakout Session 3

10:00 – 11:00 am, Pacific Standard Time

Note: Click on the title of the session to access the Zoom link.

Activating Agents of Change in Higher Education: UndocuAPI Educators Gathering in California
10:00 – 11:00 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across People

Madeleine Villanueva, Madison Villanueva, & Lena Wang
Immigrants Rising, UPLIFT

As an integral part of catalyst fund engagement and continued commitment to serving diverse undocumented students, Immigrants Rising launched a special project to engage educators from California community colleges and CSU campuses on important issues hindering undocuAPI students' access and success in higher education. This session will present the effort by overviewing the educators' gatherings, from inception to planning to assessing and measuring impact. This session will inform educators and practitioners of innovative ways to reimagine programming and collaboration across people and spaces. Presenters will also highlight the assessment and evolution that motivate educators to create institutional changes and illuminate meaningful lessons for future practices.

Bridging Campus Resources to Reduce Barriers to Paid Internships & Career Development
10:00 – 11:00 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Spaces

Stephanie Francis
CSU Sacramento Career Center

This session will explore how career centers can foster greater inclusion of undocumented students in career development experiences through collaboration across spaces by bringing together campus centers, offices, and decision-makers. The presenter will discuss the challenges and barriers to career development and internship opportunities that undocumented students face. This session highlights the Sacramento State Career Center’s Gaining Access to Internships (GAIN) Scholarship, which enables students in an unpaid internship to apply for financial assistance regardless of their work authorization status, and tips for practitioners to initiate a GAIN scholarship. Additionally, attendees will learn of campus partner and employer allyship and other strategies to increase career opportunities for undocumented students.

The Sacramento FUEL Network for Immigrants: A Model for Collaborative Community Support
10:00 – 11:00 am, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Systems

Alfredo Rivas Gomez & Nilsen Gomez
FUEL Network

The Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network is a coalition of nonprofits, religious organizations, law school immigration clinics, local pro bono attorneys, educators, and other community partners who are dedicated to helping Sacramento residents prevent, prepare for, and defend against deportation. A city-funded program, FUEL includes 10 funded partners who work together to provide education, legal, and mental health services to the community. In this presentation, FUEL Network Coordinators will discuss the history of the organization, its operational structure, and the services offered to Sacramento City residents. Session participants will also receive recommendations for implementing a similar program/network.

Breakout Session 4

12:15 – 1:15 pm, Pacific Standard Time

Note: Click on the title of the session to access the Zoom link.

Individual and Cross-Departmental Collaborations to Support Undocumented Students in Higher Education: The Narrative of UC Santa Barbara
12:15 – 1:15 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across People

Maddie Foster, Saul Quiroz, & Rosa Salamanca
UC Santa Barbara

Support for undocumented students is a shared responsibility and must be viewed as an ongoing institutional effort. In this session, attendees will learn how UC Santa Barbara supports students across campus through departmental collaborations. These include the Monarch Opportunity Scholarship Program and the UndocuSuccess Program, and shared initiatives between Career Services, the Office of Financial Aid Scholarships and Undocumented Student Services that aim to ensure all students have an opportunity to participate in professional development and career exploration. In addition, participants will meet the UCSB Dream Scholars Resource Team (comprised of students, staff, and faculty) and discover how they can make an impact across departments on their respective campuses.

Take an Active Role in Ensuring Equitable Implementation of AB 540 and SB 68
12:15 – 1:15 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Spaces

Nancy Jodaitis & Maria Gutierrez
Immigrants Rising & Chabot College

Join a statewide movement to resolve key discrepancies with the implementation of AB 540/SB 68 across California Community College, California State University, and University of California campuses. Participants will gain a better understanding of common challenges students face, promising practices at different schools, and the current efforts to increase equitable implementation of AB 540/SB 68 across the state. Participants will also learn about the role they can play to ensure all eligible students can benefit from this important legislation, pay resident fees, and receive all financial aid for which they are eligible at public colleges and universities in California.

Creating Opportunities for DACA Recipients to Study Abroad at their College or University
12:15 – 1:15 pm, PST
Focus: Joint Action Across Systems

Miriam Delgado, Sandra Brandt, Jenifer Chavez, Yolanda Granados, Citlalli Ortiz, Brenda Perez & Armando Vazquez-Ramos
California-Mexico Studies Center

The California-Mexico Studies Center team will present their Study Abroad model as well as their national campaign to restore DACA’s Advance Parole (AP). Presenters will discuss how to encourage postsecondary institutions and administrators to create study abroad programs for DACA recipients at their universities and to assist students with the AP process as they seek to study abroad opportunities. This panel will also highlight the importance for universities to connect students to study abroad programs as this educational experience becomes available and how to guide students through the AP process on their campuses.

General Session: Closing Keynote Speaker & Conference Closing

1:30 – 3:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time

Join us for the official conference closing! Ovi Vasquez will deliver the Closing Keynote Address. Organizers will also conclude this year’s conference.

Ovi is a national leadership keynote speaker, a TEDx speaker, and the author of six books, including a #1 bestseller. Ovi went from being a farm boy raised in a tiny ranch near a poor village in the sugarcane fields of Central America to working for global companies like Apple, Tesla, Salesforce, Uber, and General Motors. In 2019, he was accepted to Harvard Business School Online, where he is now working on a Specialization in Leadership and Management. Ovi has helped thousands nationwide by sharing over $1.5 million in scholarships for college students through social media.

Join General Session

Undocu-Leadership Student Strand

We are excited to partner with the Los Rios Community College District Undocumented Student Programs to offer the Undocu-Leadership Student Strand at this year’s conference! This strand is free for undocumented college and high school students. It includes access to workshops, keynote speakers, and an expert panel that will provide students tools for leadership and self-empowerment.

Please note: Student staff and student leaders who wish to attend workshop sessions for educators and practitioners should submit a paid registration to the general conference.

Register for Undocu-Leadership Student Strand