Karina Paredes Arzola | Legal Assistant
MAJOR: Political Science with Ethnic Studies minor
HOMETOWN: Oakdale, California I Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Member of the Latino Pre-law Society, Former Research Assistant for the Urban Displacement Project, Former coordinator for the Entre Mujeres Femtorship program through Chicanx Latinx Student Development
As the daughter of immigrants, I have moved between Sonora, Mexico and various parts of California during my life. I was raised in the California Central Valley, but have since lived in SoCal, and now the Bay. I have no simple answer when I am asked where I am from. Six years ago, I moved back to California in the pursuit of higher education while leaving my parents and younger brother behind.
As a re-admitted transfer student, I took two years off from my education during which I gained experience as a community organizer. I am an aspiring law student and plan to dedicate my career to immigrant and workers’ rights through the nonprofit field.
I first heard about the Undocumented Student Program from some of my closest friends. Through their experiences, I became aware of the many ways USP touches student lives. Today, I can testify to the great support and benefits USP has offered my own family.
I enjoy hiking, taking Zumba classes, cooking, and watching home makeover shows.
FUN FACT: I am a huge believer in natural remedies, so it is common to see me drinking some strange cure-all tea or making my own face and hair masks. I get most of my recommendations from my dad and Pinterest.
Bianca V. Rodriguez Plancarte | Peer Academic Counselor
MAJOR: Ethnic Studies and Native American Studies
HOMETOWN: East Palo Alto, California
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Sister of Sigma Pi Alpha Sorority, Inc., Receptionist at College of Environmental Design, Member of Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, Co-Lead of the Graduation Gown Lending Project under EOP.
ABOUT: I am the eldest of three, I have a younger brother and a younger sister. I was born in Mexico and have lived in East Palo Alto and Redwood City since moving here at the age of nine. I enjoy dancing to any Latin songs, specially to Salsa, Bachata, and Banda.
To me USP is family, home, and reason. Since my time at Cal, I have found a family with the Undocumented Student Program and there are no words to describe how grateful I am. I have challenge myself in the space and I truly see it as my home here at Cal. For many reasons, USP has become a main reason why I am still at Cal and why I want to do the work I want after graduating. It has become my reason to challenge my own thinking and be critical of the opportunities other lack.
My career goal is to work with undocumented youth either in High School or College. I want to help students that come from a similar immigration story and guide them through the process of applying to college or retaining students in college.
FUN FACT: I love listening to 90s boy bands, especially the Backstreet Boys.
Juan A. Prieto | Social Media Coordinator
MAJOR: English with Spanish minor
HOMETOWN: Mexicali, Baja California | El Centro, California
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Core-Member for Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, Berkeley Representative for the UC Undocumented Student Coalition, Social Media Coordinator for the Transfer Student center.
ABOUT: Having to come out of the shadows to me was a lot harder than coming out of the closet. Though there were fears as it related to my queer identity, the fears of stigma regarding my legal status far exceeded that. Since empowering myself through both identities, however, I’ve realized the importance of intersectionalities within the various spaces I coexist in, and how certain things might intertwine with others as we progress forward. Because of that, I try to stop and listen to the marginalized within our very own marginalized communities, and ask how I can best serve those voices as an ally.
The Undocumented Student Program is the very reason why I’m at UC Berkeley today. It’s the reason I chose Cal to begin with, and the reason I remain here as a student today. USP is more than the resources it provides. USP is family away from home..
Bilingual education work, whether through practice or policy.
FUN FACT: I talk in my sleep. Sometimes so loudly, I wake myself up.
Paola A. Mora Paredes | Peer Academic Counselor and Student Staff Coordinator
MAJOR: Sociology and Ethnic Studies
HOMETOWN: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico | Santa Ana, California
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Co-Chair for Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, Peer Academic Counselor with EOP.
ABOUT: I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, but at the age of 4 my parents decided to come to the US with my aunt in Santa Ana, CA for the first time. Within those first 2 years we went back and forth between countries a couple times. I grew up in a mixed status family of 14 in Santa Ana, CA, which included my uncles, aunts and cousins. Although I only have 1 younger sister, my 4 cousins are like my siblings. My family is the most important thing in my life, and without them and their unconditional love and support I don’t think I would be at Cal.
The USP staff have been the most supportive people I have met during my time here at Cal. They have supported me through many really tough times.
I look forward to continuing to foster my passion of serving the community by looking into careers that allow me to work in student affairs, higher education, or higher education administration.
FUN FACT: I love going to concerts! My first concert ever was seeing the Jonas Brothers when I was in middle school.
Adriana P. Ramos | Legal Assistant
MAJOR: Political Science
HOMETOWN: Napa Valley, California
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Co-Chair for Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (R.I.S.E.), Steering Committee Representative for the Napa Valley Dream Team, an affiliate of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
ABOUT: I am a middle child, I have two younger and two older siblings. Since immigrating from Mexico, my family has lived in Napa. In my free time, I enjoy reading and writing. I also love listening to spoken word poetry.
Throughout my time at Berkeley, the USP community, has been a tremendous support for me and my immediate family.
Upon completing my studies, I would like to pursue a combination of policy advocacy and legal services work to continue working with immigrant youth.
FUN FACT: I will add hot sauce to my food, even if it is already really spicy because I love hot sauce. I love hot sauce in general but Tapatio and Sriracha tie as my favorites, after the salsa my Ma makes of course.
Rosario Torres | Scholarship Coordinator
HOMETOWN: Perris, California
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Member of Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, Intern at the Archaeology and Ethnobotany Lab, and Volunteer for the Dreamers Project.
ABOUT: I love to read and spend time with my two beautiful children.
The Undocumented Student Program (USP) is truly committed to helping undocumented students succeed. Therefore, I hope more students take advantage of the great resources offered through USP.
I hope to one day obtain a Doctorate degree and work as an Archaeologist.
FUN FACT: I was quite a tomboy growing up. I loved running around barefoot in the summer with the boys catching lizards, frogs, and climbing trees.
Oscar Alvarez | Student Staff
MAJOR: American Studies with an emphasis in Education Policy
HOMETOWN: South Central, Los Angeles
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: Peer Adviser at College of Letters and Science, Coordinator at Home Without Borders.
ABOUT: I was born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles. When I have time, I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball. I have a special connection with food, but get best along with Mole and Arroz Con Leche. I am still in the process of finding out more about myself and my future. It is a scary, but exciting process. I want to go into Education Policy and advocate for policies that support the representation of students of color in higher education.
The Undocumented Student Program was one of the determining factors when deciding to SIR to CAL. The support I have received from USP is amazing and empowering. I can say that the resource center has allowed me the space to learn and unlearn in order to continue growing.
I want to go into Education Policy and advocate for policies that support the representation of students of color in higher education.
FUN FACT: I love LIFE cereal!
Yongbin Chang | Student Staff
MAJOR: Business Administration with Education Minor
HOMETOWN: Elk Grove, CA
OTHER INVOLVEMENT: CalSO, Resident Assistant, The Berkeley Project, NUFP, Rally Committee, Alternative Breaks, Director for ASUC Senator Grace Kim
ABOUT: I was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Oakland when I was three years old and haven’t been back. I am an only child and have lived with my parents in California for most of my life. I love talking, meeting, and being with other people – hearing their narratives and experiences and being able to create genuine and authentic relationships! Currently, I am pursuing my interests in Student Affairs and Higher Education as well as Business Administration while following my other passions. On the side, I love to play piano, sing (although terribly), and cook. You can find me cheering for the Bears at the football games and trying to meet all the new students coming in because I love Cal!
When I first learned I was undocumented in my senior year of high school, I was hesitant to tell anyone. I never told anyone about my status until I came to Cal, and it was the existence of an Undocumented Student Program and a vibrant, powerful undocumented community that gave me the hope and support to come out openly about my status and stand up for my community. If you ever wanted to reach out to USP or to me, feel free and open to always contact us. USP has been one of the supporting foundations of my college experience and I hope that it can be for many other undocumented folks as well!
I hope to, through educating and transforming myself through my experiences and through meeting many other folks, change the world to become a better place. I am currently learning more about Business and Student Affairs and Higher Education and am exploring many future paths!
FUN FACT: I’ve raised nearly 100 stray cats back home with my parents but unfortunately, I’m very allergic to cats.