Meet Our Staff
Meng L. So, M.A., Director, Undocumented Student Program
Meng graduated as a first-generation college student from UC Berkeley. He then went on to receive a Masters in Education and Organizational Change from UC Los Angeles. Meng was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is excited to partner with faculty, staff, and students to implement a comprehensive agenda that provides holistic support for the undocumented student community. Under his guidance, the program looks to support further initiatives, research, and advocacy to create safe spaces for undocumented members of the on-campus community. He is an active member of the E4FC Educators Action Group (EAG) and sits on the Standing Committee for Undocumented Members of the On-Campus Community.
Fun Fact: Meng loves to play basketball and invites others to join him on the courts. He speaks Khmer and loves to learn and laugh.
Liliana Iglesias, M.Ed, Counselor
Liliana graduated from UC Berkeley as a first generation college student and earned her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Southern California. Born and raised in the Los Angeles county, Liliana quickly became aware of the injustices and inequalities that are prevalent in society. She is passionate about increasing college access and retention amongst first generation and low income students and students from underserved/marginalized communities. Liliana comes from a mixed status family and has always held immigration issues close to her heart. As the Academic Counselor for USP, Liliana is excited about providing academic, financial, and holistic support to students so that they excel in college and beyond.
Fun Fact: Liliana danced Mexican folklorico for four years, she enjoys playing different musical instruments, and she is a big fan of Chai tea.
Ruben Elias Canedo Sanchez, Research and Mobilization Coordinator, Center for Educational Equity and Excellence
Ruben graduated as a first-generation college student from UC Berkeley. Ruben was born and raised in the border valleys of Coachella (US), Imperial (US) and Mexicali (MEX). Ruben was part of a mixed status family throughout his childhood. After 26 years both of his parents are finally US citizens. Programs such as AVID, M.E.S.A., F.L.A.M.E., Junior Statesmen of America, Educational Opportunity Program, and the McNair Scholars Program helped to develop and propel Ruben to his current position as the Coordinator of Research and Mobilization at the Center for Educational Equity and Excellence at UC Berkeley. Today, he facilitates statewide and national efforts to transform higher education by increasing the graduation and representation of historically underrepresented students, faculty, and administrators. Finally, in the last three years, Ruben has devoted his time to presenting educational motivational speeches and keynote addresses across K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations.
Fun Fact: Ruben is a major foodie, he loves to explore new foods, and he passionately avoids restaurant chains when he travels. In the last year, he has found a new passion for creating his own dishes at home.
Diana Peña, PhD., Licensed Psychologist
Diana graduated as a first-generation college student from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, which is where she was born and raised. She then received her M.S. in Counseling, Family and Human Services, as well as her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oregon. Her professional experiences have been shaped by her interests in immigrant and undocumented student mental health, LGBTQ-affirmative therapy, resilience among queer and trans people of color, spirituality, grief/loss, career counseling, mindfulness, and cultural adjustment.
Her passion for serving underrepresented students is rooted in her own experience as a queer Chicana from an immigrant family, and is integral to her approach as a mental health professional. She is thrilled to join the USP team to support the holistic well-being of undocumented students at UC Berkeley.
Fun Fact: Diana is a bilingual English/Spanish therapist, and is very comfortable with the use of ‘Spanglish’ in therapy