Academic Counseling Support

Liliana Iglesias, M.Ed. | Program Director

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 Program Director for USP, she supports USP staff and students, and works with partners on and off campus to coordinate and develop strategies to further meet the needs of undocumented students on campus and their families. Liliana aims to ensure that our students feel a sense of community and are empowered to take full advantage of the resources/opportunities available to them as UC Berkeley students.

Fun Fact: Liliana is a big fan of boba milk tea and Chai.

Valeria Chavez-Ayala | Academic Counselor

Valeria is a first-generation, undocumented graduate from UC Santa Cruz. She earned a bachelors degree in Legal Studies, and Latin American & Latino Studies. Before joining our team, Valeria served as an Academic Counselor/ Undocumented Student Service Coordinator for the Educational Opportunity Programs at UC Santa Cruz. In her role, she coordinated direct services for undocumented students and built capacity across campus on how to best service undocumented students. She is deeply committed to advocating for educational equity for undocumented students regardless of immigration status and is innovative in her approach. Valeria looks forward to working with you, please stop by and say hello.

Fun Fact: Valeria enjoys adventures; she has skydived.

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 Peña (she/her/they/them), earned her PhD as a first-generation college student from the University of Oregon’s Counseling Psychology program. Diana coordinates the mental health program for undocumented students at UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program, providing counseling support to students and consultation to the campus at large.  As a licensed psychologist, her areas of focus include undocumented student mental health, resilience among queer and trans people of color, spirituality, and Latinx psychology. Diana stands on the shoulders of her Mexican immigrant parents and is committed to advocating for health equity for all undocumented communities.

Fun Fact: Diana is a bilingual English/Spanish therapist, and is very comfortable with the use of ‘Spanglish’ in therapy.

Bianca Barrios, PhD. | Licensed Psychologist

Bianca Barrios earned her PhD as a first-generation college student form Washington State University’s Counseling Psychology program. Bianca grew up in Los Angeles County with a mixed status extended family. As a licensed psychologist, her areas of focus include students of color and undocumented/immigrant student college adjustment and persistence, Latinx mental health, LGBTQ affirmative therapy, and women’s concerns. She possesses an unwavering commitment to social justice and advocacy. When working with students she aims to co-create a space built on trust and compassion where students can feel comfortable bringing in all parts of themselves to begin the process of exploration, learning, and healing.

Fun Fact: Bianca loves nature and outdoor adventures. She recently hiked 48 miles on a 4-day backpacking trip in Havasupai.


Immigration Legal Support

Legal services are provided in collaboration with the Immigration Unit of the East Bay Community Law Center. While all Immigration Unit members assist with USP Legal cases, the core staff of EBCLC providing services to UC Berkeley students are featured below. EBCLC believes in a model of providing legal services in partnership with community-based organizations, schools, and healthcare providers. EBCLC’s partnership with USP is part of our model of providing services from “Kindergarten to College” where EBCLC provides services not only to UC Berkeley students, but community college students attending Peralta Community College District community colleges and Chabot College (part of the Las Positas Community College District), and Oakland Unified School District students who attend certain schools served by La Clínica de la Raza.

Pictured above are most of the members of the Immigration Unit at EBCLC.

 

Core EBCLC Staff Members serving USP

Jessica Castellanos (’06), J.D. UC Hastings SOL ’13
Staff Attorney & Clinical Supervising Attorney, Immigration Practice  |  Lecturer, Berkeley Law

Jessica Castellanos joined EBCLC in 2018. Prior to EBCLC, she was a staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, where she provided direct legal services to detained and non-detained individuals in immigration removal proceedings. She also worked as an asylum officer and started her career at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, which provides legal services to detained individuals. Jessica is a bilingual English/Spanish attorney.

 

Diana Cardoz | Paralegal and Partially-Accredited DOJ Legal Representative, Immigration Practice

Diana joined EBCLC as an immigration paralegal in 2018. Prior to joining EBCLC, Diana worked for an immigration firm located in downtown Oakland where she was exposed to a variety of cases such as U-visas, Asylum, Adjustment of Status, and Stateside waivers. Diana attended California State University Northridge where she majored in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Psychology and has worked in nonprofits for most of her career. Diana’s experience includes paralegal work with Esperanza Immigrant Right’s Project in Los Angeles, where she worked with unaccompanied minors. Prior to that, she worked for several years as a paralegal and case manager in providing legal services to low income families facing eviction. Diana is fluent in Spanish.

 

Rebecca Romero (’16) | Paralegal and Fully-Accredited DOJ Legal Representative, Immigration Practice

Rebecca joined EBCLC in 2018 as a paralegal for EBCLC’s Immigration Unit. Prior to joining EBCLC, Rebecca worked for the Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) in San Francisco as a legal assistant, and then as a DOJ Accredited Representative (partial). While working at ICWC, she worked primarily on U Visa, Adjustment of Status, and Consular Processing cases. Rebecca is also fluent in Spanish.

 

 

Sara Dunsky, J.D. Georgetown Law ’09
Staff Attorney and Clinical Supervising Attorney, Immigration Practice  |  Lecturer, Berkeley Law

Sara joined EBCLC’s Immigration Practice in 2018. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2009, and started her legal career as an assistant public defender in Montgomery County, MD, where she worked with indigent criminal defendants—including many immigrants seeking to avoid the severe immigration consequences that might accompany minor criminal convictions. Immediately prior to joining EBCLC, Sara served vulnerable immigrant populations in the greater Bay Area as the owner-operator of a solo immigration practice, from 2014-2018. Sara is a bilingual English/Spanish attorney.

 

 

Theo Cuison (’05), J.D. UC Davis SOL (King Hall) ’11
Director and Clinical Supervising Attorney, Immigration Unit  |  Lecturer, Berkeley Law

Theo joined the EBCLC’s Immigration Practice in 2016. Immediately prior to joining EBCLC he was an associate attorney with a Sacramento-based immigration firm focused on removal defense, family-based immigration, and humanitarian relief for victims of crime, particularly through the PALE (Programa de Asesorías Legales Externas) partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento. Theo has also worked with WEAVE, Inc., a Sacramento-based domestic violence and sexual assault prevention non-profit and as a staff attorney for Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) representing clients in public benefits, consumer law, and immigration matters. During law school, Theo was a clinical student intern for King Hall’s Immigration Law and Family Protection clinics, as well as with EBCLC’s Health Practice. Particularly interested in encouraging law students to pursue public interest careers, he was the 2009–10 co-chair of the King Hall Legal Foundation (KHLF) and helped establish the KHLF/Lambda LSA Bill Smith LGBT Rights/Disability Rights and KHLF/APALSA summer public interest grants.

Theo is the son of first-generation immigrants from the Philippines and grew up mainly in Waipahu, Hawaii and San Diego, California. He speaks both Spanish and Pangasinan (a major regional language of the Philippines).