Ramon was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico in 1990 and came to Oakland, California in 1998 with his mother and three-year old sister to reunite with his father. He graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in March 2016 with Chicana/o Studies and Sociology degrees after transferring from Laney College in Oakland. He aspires to go to law school to become an immigration attorney and work in the undocumented community. One day he hopes to open a non-profit organization dedicated to provide affordable legal services and legal education in the Bay Area. He joined the E4FC family as a Legal Advocate because he believes in community empowerment through education, and legal education is one of the most valuable resources that is lacking in the undocumented community
In his free time, he likes being active and being outdoors. Hiking, running, and high intensity training are some of the activities he enjoys. Additionally, spending time with family is very important to him.
Angela's experiences being undocumented for 16 years, including throughout her undergraduate career, have ignited her passion for working with undocumented students and developing campus resources. Most recently, Angela worked as the Director of the Undocumented Student Program at UCLA, which served over 500 undocumented students, spawned new programs, and built resources across campus departments to better serve undocumented students. Angela's institutional advocacy also includes leading University of California system-wide efforts to increase awareness about policies that impact undocumented students and guiding universities across the nation to develop support programs for undocumented youth. Angela completed her B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine and received her M.A. and Ph.D. from UCLA Graduate School of Education with an emphasis on Higher Education. She enjoys meeting people, art therapy, biking, comfort food from all cultures, and storytelling.
For more than 20 years, Katharine has worked to enhance arts and education opportunities for low-income and minority youth. She has developed innovative programs in schools, housing projects, and detention facilities. Her artistic and educational work with youth has been exhibited and published widely in college textbooks, literary anthologies, magazines, and national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The Harvard Educational Review.
Outside of her work with E4FC, Katharine serves on University of California President Janet Napolitano's Advisory Group on Undocumented Students, the Leadership Committee of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), the National Advisory Board of TheDream.US, and the Underground Scholars Initiative at UC Berkeley. She has also served as an advisor to the Nelson Fund at The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, where she oversaw the fund's philanthropic investments in arts and education from 2001 to 2014.
Katharine was born and raised in San Francisco, and received her BA from Yale University and MFA from the University of Oregon. She is the proud descendant of Chinese immigrants, who first came to the U.S. in the 1860s to work in the gold mines of California and later during the restrictive Chinese Exclusion Acts. She is also mother to Anna Dido Nordeson and partner to Kjell Nordeson.
Born and raised in Cuba, Francisco obtained his law degree at the University of Las Villas, graduating as one of the top students in the school. For several years, he worked as a civil litigator and taught civil litigation, civil procedures and administrative procedure at the University of Santa Clara in Cuba. After joining a Catholic political opposition movement and becoming legal adviser to the bishop of Santa Clara, Francisco was forced to leave Cuba and become an immigrant and asylum seeker in Sweden. He later immigrated to the United States, initially working as a janitor while enrolled full-time at City College. In 1998, Catholic Charities of San Francisco hired Francisco as an immigration counselor and promoted him to the coordinator position of their Refugee & Immigrant Services Program just eight months later.
Francisco is a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative, which authorizes him to represent and advocate for clients at all possible levels within the immigration legal system. Francisco has represented dozens of asylum seekers and clients seeking suspensions of deportation and/or cancellations of removal. He is also a writer for the El Heraldo Catolico and appears as a weekly guest on the Telemundo channel. Francisco believes that "caring deeply for the clients' legal problems is the soul and essence of a successful legal practice."
Photo by: Diana K. Arreola (DKA Photography)
Legal Services Director
Board of Immigration Appeals Level I Accredited Representative
Alejandra is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management, and Planning. She is a first generation college student and the first woman in her family to earn a graduate degree, obtaining a Master of Social Work at the University of Washington. As the daughter and family member of former and current undocumented immigrants, Alejandra learned early on about the injustice of the U.S. immigration system, which has led her to work to on issues directly impacting immigrants and on larger systematic changes. She has been a student organizer, organized social workers, and worked at immigrant serving non-profit organizations. Prior to joining E4FC, Alejandra worked as a Program Manager at Mission Asset Fund, managing Lending Circles for Dreamers and other social loan programs. Alejandra spends her free time traveling, going to concerts, and training for half marathons.
Estefania was born in Tepatitlan, Jalisco and came to the United States at the age of six. This transition brought her to the Central Valley, where she has lived ever since. Her grandparents, aunts, and uncles were instrumental in fostering a space for her mother and sisters to thrive as they navigated the United States without legal status. Through their guidance and support she transferred from Modesto Junior College to the University of California Davis, where she recently graduated.
In Modesto she worked as a community organizer for the non-profit (CBC) Congregations Building Community, an affiliate of People Organizing Community through Organizing. Through this work, she met with Governor Jerry Brown to advocate for the signing of AB 60. She later spoke alongside the Governor during the signing of the bill in 2013.
In Davis she worked at the AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center and used the time at Davis to attend various trainings and forums to sharpen her skills as an organizer, professional, and advocate for immigrant communities. She hopes to continue to do transformative work to more accurately represent the great power immigrant communities have in the United States and across the world.
For almost twenty years, Nancy has been working to increase admission and graduation rates for underrepresented students in higher education. She most recently served as an AB 540 / Undocumented Student Advisor at San Francisco State University, where she was also advisor to SFSU’s chapter of Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success (IDEAS), a student-run group providing resources and support for AB540 students. Prior to that, Nancy served as a pre-admissions advisor, transfer counselor, financial aid officer, and scholarship specialist. Through these varied roles, Nancy has developed a comprehensive understanding of the enrollment process and a solid track record of institutional advocacy.
Nancy has worked tirelessly to build educational pathways for undocumented students within California, conduct trainings about applying for the California Dream Act, identify key challenges that colleges and universities face when supporting undocumented students, and elevate institutional best practices. She has also developed a library of educational materials to help undocumented students in California successfully enroll in CA public colleges and universities, and be sure they receive all financial aid for which they are eligible.
Since 2009, Nancy has been active with E4FC, beginning as a volunteer with our Educator Action Group, and later serving in various capacities as a trainer, researcher, and consultant. Nancy joined E4FC as Director of Higher Education Initiatives in July 2016.
Iliana G. Perez was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and immigrated alongside her mother, father and younger brother to the U.S. at the age of eight. Iliana grew up in Turlock, CA and navigated the educational system as an undocumented student for 18 years until she became a DACA recipient in 2013. Iliana attended CSU-Fresno on a full-ride scholarship through the Smittcamp Family Honor’s Program, where she graduated from in 2009 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Economics. Iliana recently finished a M.A. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and is completing a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Evaluation and Reform. Her research focuses on the occupational and educational attainment of immigrant students, the effects of deportation on the lives of young adults, immigrant entrepreneurship, and economics of immigration. Iliana has shared her story and presented her work to various audiences across the country via keynotes and research presentations at professional conferences, organizations and college campuses. Iliana looks forward to helping all immigrants, regardless of legal status, reach their highest potential through entrepreneurship opportunities.
Rocio was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States at the age of nine along with her parents and her younger sister. She grew up in Oakland, California where she had the privilege to attend a College Preparatory high school. Thanks to her optimism, the support of her family, organizations like College Track and the resources available at UC Santa Cruz, her college experience was a positive one. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Feminist Studies. At UC Santa Cruz she interned at the Education Opportunity Programs AB540 Student Services where she supported and mentored college students. Now that she has graduated, she is eager to continue supporting students and ensure that they do not miss important opportunities that can lead to their success in the future.
Dean was born in the Philippines. He arrived in the United States with his mother at the age of 12. As an undocumented immigrant, Dean never disclosed his status to anyone prior to being involved with immigrant rights because of the stigma associated with being undocumented. In the end of 2010, Dean was apprehended by Immigration Customs Enforcement and was sent to an immigration detention facility in Florence, AZ. Upon release, Dean was put into deportation proceedings.
This life-changing experience led Dean to become involved with immigrant rights-related issues. Dean became an outspoken advocate against collaborations between ICE and local law enforcement by sharing his experiences of being detained. He became a leader within ASPIRE, the first pan-Asian undocumented youth group in the nation, and California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the coalition of thirteen undocumented youth groups throughout California. Dean obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Notre Dame de Namur and received the Political Science and History Department’s University Mission Award. Outside of immigrant rights, Dean is an avid cyclist and races cyclocross on occasion. He hopes to someday participate in the prestigious randoneé Paris-Brest-Paris.
Jay Sherwin is an independent consultant who works with foundations and other non-profit organizations to develop strategic plans, design programs and initiatives, implement rigorous outcome evaluations and improve communications. Before launching his consulting practice, Jay spent twenty years as a grantmaker for five national, regional and community foundations, specializing in efforts to promote college access and completion for students from low-income and under-represented communities. From 2007 to 2010, he served as Vice President for Programs at College Access Foundation of California; during that time, the foundation awarded over $50 million in grants, supporting more than 20,000 scholarships for low-income and first generation college students, including hundreds of undocumented immigrant students.
Jay is working with E4FC to design and launch its "Invest in the Dream" initiative, which offers matching grants to scholarship providers nationwide to encourage them to create or expand college scholarship opportunities for undocumented students.
Photo by: Diana K. Arreola (DKA Photography)
Legal Services Coordinator
Board of Immigration Appeals Level I Accredited Representative
Tommy identifies as trans*undocu Polish-Californian. In the spring of 2015, after completing his senior honors thesis on the intersectionality of transgender and undocumented (trans*undocu) identities in the U.S., Tommy graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. In 2014-2015, Tommy served as one of E4FC's Legal Advocates. In June 2015, he joined E4FC's staff as Legal Services Coordinator and, soon after, obtained his Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Level 1 Accredited Representative status.
When Tommy arrived to the United States on a tourist visa at the age of eight, he could not have imagined the obstacles and opportunities that America would afford him. Today he has Withholding of Removal (WOR) status, a documented undocumented status. But before WOR, Tommy faced the daily fear and isolation specific to a trans*undocu experience in the U.S. Although his struggle of borders (within his own body and that of nations) bruised his hope, Tommy persevered and is grateful for his life experiences: for the time he was homeless, for the years he spent working under the table, and for transitioning into the man he is today.
Tommy is passionate about contributing knowledge to and increasing visibility of LGBTQ and undocumented communities. His future law school education will help in this pursuit, but until then he is grateful to work with the E4FC community whom he admires and considers family. Speaking of family, Tommy’s life is made richer by his life partner and beagle who love him unconditionally and he them.
Mari is a public interest lawyer dedicated to cultivating our next generation of attorneys, focusing on the talents of undocumented pre-law students. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Pomona College, Mari was a panelist at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) 2013 national conference, co-authoring its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals practice advisory. In 2010, Mari became the inaugural Face of AILA with her support of pro bono casework, and as a member of the Minnesota bar has limited her law practice to federal immigration law since 2003. Mari has been a public interest career counselor at Stanford, helping aspiring attorneys explore opportunities to create positive change throughout the world. Mari is most excited about being at E4FC because, “DREAMers have had to demonstrate unparalleled talent and resourcefulness to survive in our society. My colleagues at E4FC bring that same passion into our office and, as a result, are professionally addictive.