The Path to Higher Education: Undocumented and Undeterred

A still from “Owning My Stripe: A Brave Chameleon Asks the Right Questions”

Providing quality guidance to all students, including those who are undocumented, is essential to the mission of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.  In 2022, identifying the need for clarity and resources for school counselors and all those who support undocumented students, the Foundation’s Director of Advocacy, Karina Arango, facilitated a collaboration between Félipe Martínez, former Foundation student advisor and expert in the field of undocumented student advising, Nicole Cortés of the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project (MICA), Vivian Garcia, Graduate Support Director at St. Cecilia School in St. Louis, and Alisson Morales, Senior Immigration Policy Fellow with The Foundation. The result was a series of three workshops, a narrative video, and two detailed resource guides on the topics of supporting and advising undocumented students. The workshop, entitled “The Path to Higher Education: Undocumented and Undeterred,” provided college access practitioners a way to sharpen their skills, their sense of purpose, and their comfort with assisting undocumented students and families in their communities.

Alisson Morales, Vivan Garcia, Félipe Martínez, Nicole Cortés

A total of 297 practitioners from across the country attended one of three workshops: an in-person, invitation-only St. Louis event with close community partners; a virtual workshop hosted by the Missouri College and Career Attainment Network (MOCAN); and a national webinar, hosted by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN).  (See below for link.)

Owning My Stripe: A Brave Chameleon Asks the Right Questions

Debuting at the workshops was “Owning My Stripe: A Brave Chameleon Asks the Right Questions,” an animated short film written by Alisson Morales and illustrated by Vivian Garcia. This short story is drawn from the lived experiences of the film creators, their friends, and is told by a very special chameleon. View the film in its entirety below:

Recommendations for Effective Advising of Undocumented Students

At each workshop, key recommendations were made regarding some specific ways counselors could support undocumented students. Emphasizing the importance of being present, communicating information explicitly, supporting students in the application process, and understanding the complex role of the families of students are just some of the important topics in the recommendations. View and download the recommendations HERE.

Key References

A comprehensive list of resources including legal and social history, local and national resources, and reputable online guidance was compiled and distributed to all participants. Knowing trustworthy sources of resources and information is a key factor in advising undocumented students and their families. View and download the key references HERE.

Watch and download a recording of the January 11, 2023 National College Attainment Network (NCAN) webinar HERE.

Click HERE for a PDF of the full presentation made on January 11, 2023 by Félipe Martínez for the National College Attainment Network (NCAN).