UndocuHuskies VP helps undocumented students with scholarships

 

By Juan Calvillo

The Dream Resource Center is conducting classroom presentations informing students of resources available to undocumented students and LGBTQ students.

Judith Arguello is a student worker at the DRC.

She has conducted multiple presentations since the beginning of the Spring semester.

She is also the Vice President of the UndocuHuskies and a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

DACA allows individuals who have been in the United States since childhood to not be deported for two years and become eligible for a work permit and schooling scholarships.

Judith Arguello is in her third year at East Los Angeles College and has been a student worker from the beginning of her college experience.

She worked at Student Services, the Welcome Center, and finally, was offered a spot at the Dream Resource Center.

“I was excited to work with people who I was able to relate to because I am undocumented myself. I’m a DACA student,” said Arguello.

Arguello’s parents filed her for DACA status before she moved on to college.

She said that getting her information lifted her spirits.

She said she was suddenly able to get a job like many of her peers did during high school.

What really became apparent was that she could now seriously consider higher education.

“When I was in high school, I was kind of sad. I wasn’t able to transfer out because of my situation. I wasn’t able to go to a four year university,” said Arguello.

She said that getting DACA status helped open up multiple opportunities for her, like being able to work as part of the DRC and helping all kind of students.

Arguello said that being at ELAC for the past three years has given her intimate knowledge of the transfer process.

The fact that she has been able to use that knowledge for incoming students makes her wish she had someone like herself when she first started at ELAC.

She said that being a part of the DRC has allowed her to see that every undocumented student situation is unique.

From those who pay out of state tuition to those who just started their journey being an undocumented student.

“Being here has shown me how much drive undocumented people have to go to school,” Arguello said.

Student Services Assistant at the DRC, Maira Cruz said that to accomplish more this semester they came up with doing daily in class presentations.

The goal had originally been set to do outreach to 1000 students in the spring semester.

Cruz said that up to this point in the semester the DRC has reached about 1700 students in the classroom setting.

And that the classroom presentations, about general information on the DRC, are averaged to about 1-2 a day.

Both Cruz and Arguello spend time doing presentations to students, and Cruz has said that sometimes it seems that many faculty still do not know that the DRC even exists at all.

A routine presentation given by Arguello highlighted the lack of knowledge many on campus have when it comes to DRC.

The presentation starts off with asking the very easy question of whether the students in the classroom even know that the DRC exists.

Arguello said that on average three people in a classroom of 30 will know that the DRC exists.

This leads Arguello to talk about the DRC, giving its location, its mission, and all the activities that go on there.

Arguello said that she focuses on getting scholarship information into the hands of students and that she primarily looks for scholarships that help undocumented students.

“I’ve been able to focus a lot on finding scholarships for undocumented students, which to me is, it’s important. A lot of us don’t have the money, or our parents didn’t really know a lot of how to fund our school. So these opportunities I try to look for undocumented students I think is really important. I hope students take advantage of it,” Arguello said.

The DRC has a scholarship blackboard that gives details on undocumented scholarships and is constantly updated.

The presentation also gives background information on services the DRC has available to all students.

There is a monthly LGBTQ discussion group, and there is even information available for students who need legal counsel for immigration.

Gathering together all the information needed to do just these things is arduous, but Arguello said that it has helped her immensely in her day to day life.

Arguello said that working at the DRC has taught her how to go out and search for resources for everything from financial aid to places to live.

Searching out resources for other students in need has given her the keys to be a self sufficient person.

Being a part of the classroom presentations has helped her get over her fear of public speaking.

Arguello has applied to multiple universities to continue her studies with California State College Los Angeles already accepting her.

She said that she is confident that wherever she ends up she has learned the skills to find resources to help her continue on.

Her time at the DRC and ELAC gave her tools to take into the future.

Arguello said that making the choice to come to ELAC was to get away from what she knew.

“I can say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. I do not regret coming to ELAC,” Arguello said.

The DRC is located in the Student Services building, E1-142 and is open Monday through Thursday 8am to 5pm, and Fridays from 8am to 2pm.

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