Academic Counseling Support

S-1Meng L. So, M.A. | Director, Undocumented Student Program

Meng So is a first generation college student from UC Berkeley. As a Cambodian refugee, he’s always felt a deep commitment towards issues of immigration, political identity, and educational equity. He is the founding director of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley, coordinating efforts to initiate and enact a comprehensive agenda that responds to the needs of first-generation, low-income, undocumented students. The program has quickly emerged as embodying best practices of support that are now being replicated at other universities in California and nationwide. Today, Meng serves on the University of California Presidential Task Force on Undocumented Students, and the Leadership Board of Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC). He is a Rockwood Immigrant Rights Fellow for a New California and lends his voice to national efforts to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. He believes in the power community coalition building through radical love, storytelling, soul-hugging.

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. | Academic Counselor & Coordinator

Liliana graduated as a first generation college student from UC Berkeley and earned her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Southern California. Liliana grew up in the Los Angeles county, comes from a mixed status family, and has always held immigration issues close to her heart. In her role as the Academic Counselor and Coordinator for USP, she provides holistic counseling to students and coordinates events and other USP services. She is also a member of the UndocuAlly Training Committee, which holds trainings for staff and faculty on how they can be allies and support undocumented students on campus.

Fun Fact: Liliana enjoys playing different musical instruments and she is a big fan of Chai.

 

Madeleine Villanueva | Academic Counselor

Madeleine Villanueva is a first-generation, undocumented graduate from UC Berkeley. She immigrated from the Philippines and settled in the San Fernando Valley with her family. As an active supporter and advocate for undocumented students during her undergrad, Madeleine is excited to continue that work as a USP staff member. She also currently serves as the Higher Education Fellow with Immigrants Rising (formerly E4FC).

Fun Fact: Madeleine thinks breakfast is food for the soul.

 

 

Martha Ortega | Graduate Student Fellow

Martha Ortega Mendoza is a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. Before enrolling in graduate school, Martha served as the Interim Coordinator for Undocumented Student Services/ EOP Counselor during the 2016-2017 academic year at UC Santa Cruz. Through her position, she gained valuable insights on the need to diversify the administrative body that serves first-generation and low-income students at four-year institutions. Martha wants to obtain her Ph.D. to work as a faculty member and eventually work as an administrator who works with and for underrepresented students. Martha is beyond thrilled to be joining the Undocumented Student Program office at UC Berkeley.


Mental Health Support

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.


Immigration Legal Support

(Provided in collaboration with the East Bay Community Law Center)

The East Bay Community Law Center, a clinic of Berkeley School of Law and the Undocumented Student Program have partnered to provide free legal support and resources about immigration law to undocumented students and undocumented family members at Cal.

Through the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), the USP Legal Support provides general consultations, and full legal representation on a wide range of immigration matters that are available to current UC Berkeley students, family members, and members of the East Bay community.

Our legal team has expertise in a wide range of immigration legal matters, including, but not limited to, family-based immigration, FOIA/criminal background checks, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, asylum, U/T visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile visas, DACA, advance parole, naturalization, and regularly represents clients in matters before USCIS, BIA, and the Immigration Courts.

Clients will be provided with legal information, a general consultation to create a pathway to legal status, and in many cases, full legal representation with regards to their immigration matters. In some cases, matters will be referred to other units at EBCLC, and if EBCLC cannot take the case, the students and their family members may be matched with pro-bono attorneys who will represent them in their cases at no charge.

You can make an appointment for an initial consult online. If there are no available appointments, please feel free to email usplegal@ebclc.org