Path to Graduate School Workshop

Breonna Zapiain, Reporter

Undocumented Student Action Week is Oct. 18-22 and is a campaign to provide support and resources to the undocumented student population. Each day during this week events are held, such as having guest speakers and informational Zoom meetings.

Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. was the Path to Graduate School Workshop that was held via Zoom that those who wished to attend could register for on the Bakersfield College website. This workshop was hosted by AB540 & Undocumented Students Program Manager Marcela Gamino and moderator Rene Deniz and featured three panelists: Liliana Sánchez Coronado, Alejandro Campos Robledo, and Giovani Bautista.

During this meeting, Rene Deniz asked the panelists questions that they all took turns responding to. They each spoke about their experiences as undocumented graduate students and the ways they have overcome obstacles that have been presented due to their status. All three shared similar experiences struggling with costs of education and the lack of financial resources available for undocumented students and how they had to juggle working to support themselves and cover their education costs while also keeping up with their classes.

When Deniz mentioned “imposter syndrome” each panelist responded with their encounters with it. “I was one of three that identify as Latinx and was the only one undocumented… it has made me feel very lonely”, said Liliana Sánchez Coronado. Alejandro Campos Robledo shared, “I almost dropped out of my program…being the only person that identifies as undocumented…feeling the imposter syndrome.”

There was a discussion about what support systems they looked for when picking schools to attend and how they got help. “I was going to have to advocate for myself”, Giovani Bautista said as he recounted his experience when first looking to attend school. Liliana shared that “ I needed to count on my advisors to advocate for me”, and spoke about loneliness and how she noticed a lack of safe space for undocumented students in her graduate school experience.

At the end of the meeting, as Alejandro Campos Robledo had to leave for a class he left us with this, “There are always resources, don’t give up on your dreams, Sí, se puede.” After Alejandro left, an attendant, Martin Perez, asked for the panelists’ information to be sent to them as he wished to donate $2000 to each of them in support of them and their education. This act of kindness brought tears to the eyes of many attending and this concluded the meeting.