Gloria Itzel Montiel

Senior Grant Writer | Adjunct | Business Owner | Consultant

I’ve always known that the system has been broken and I’ve always hoped to be part of the solution as an adult and a professional...

My Story

I went through Harvard College (Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature And Language + single subject teaching credential) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (EdM) BEFORE DACA. I also started my PhD program at the Claremont Graduate University before DACA and became the first undocumented student to obtain a PhD at that school in 2017. That fall, I taught my first graduate school course at the same school under the “Allies of Dreamers” Certificate Program. I’ve always known that the system has been broken and I’ve always hoped to be part of the solution as an adult and a professional. Today, I have helped to bring more than $12 Million to fund programs throughout Southern California that help to bridge the gap in access to healthcare and educational services for working class families of color.

But, I’ve also helped to build civic engagement programs focused on providing opportunities for those impacted by inequities to be at the forefront of creating solutions. This is what being an #UndocuPhD is about! We are not victims of the system. We are innovative and resilient and while we do not excuse the system and those who uphold it, we create our own paths and actively work to make it easier for others to follow behind us! My next goal is to visit all 50 US states, because being undocumented, it often feels like we are caged in, but we have wings! And this is our home. And I want to see it all!

My Message to undocuprofessionals

1. Connect with others who have travelled the road. A lot has been done in terms of producing how-to-guides, expanding scholarships, and changing admissions policies. Also, when choosing your next step: career, school, certificate program, etc. choices can be overwhelming. The undocumented community is so diverse and has had so many different experiences, contact those “elder undocs” who can shed some light on what it’s like to go through some of these paths.

2. Check out Immigrants Rising website. They have done SO MUCH research and compiled so many guides that explain the different information to sort through to begin a business, look for scholarships, etc.

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