Scholar Category: Immigration

Dhiona Carter Jaramillo

Project: Immigrants tend to have an extremely difficult time accessing resources in regards to their mental health. Most times, this is due to the language barrier and common cultural taboo about discussing traumatic topics that have negatively impacted their mental wellness. I want to find a way to make these resources more accessible to the immigrant community through analyzing surveys, finding local English learning classes, and communicating more information about mental health to immigrant communities.


Inspiration: I come from a family of immigrants and I admire the sacrifices they make to build a life in the U.S. so their children can attend better schools and have larger accessibility to resources and opportunities, in comparison to what they might have had in their country of origin. The difficulties of securing jobs and houses, facing cultural and language barriers, and accessing services are not easy tasks to face, it is inspiring to me that my family and others have overcome those (and more) challenges.


Future Plans: I hope to make living in America a bit easier for immigrants. It can be uncomfortable living in a community where you feel as if you do not belong, it should not be that way and by providing resources I think it would make it slightly easier to settle into their communities.

Abighail Menghisteab Tekeste

Project: For the upcoming academic year, my project entails creating a solid system of workshops that navigate how to make higher education accessible for senior students in ESL (English as Second Language) classes at Fort Morgan High School. The workshops will entail instruction on how to apply for higher education (technical school, community college, 4-year university etc.) as well as different ways to help alleviate the financial burdens that come with it.


Inspiration: Working with Fort Morgan High School in my first-year with Key Communities, I was made aware of the lack of certain amenities that students in the ESL classes were faced with along with the burdens that already came with being minority students (language barriers, legal status, academic history). I resonated with a majority of the students as I had also been in ESL classes before and I was better able to communicate and empathize with them. Whereas I lived in the Denver metro area and was blessed to have many opportunities easily attainable, the students of Fort Morgan lack that. This ultimately compelled me even more to work with them.


Future Plans: With my community engagement work, I hope to not only be a resource for the students but also help build their confidence in their abilities and demonstrate that their obstacles they face in their educational journey can serve as an advantage.

Mawusi Danso

Project: I hope to provide pathways for immigrant and minority students to explore and question assimilation and cultural competence within their communities.

Inspiration: Growing up my family and I often felt alone in our struggles with belonging. This only made it harder for me to function as a student and member of society. Therefore, I want students to identify their similarities early, but also explore the pressing issues regarding culture in educational and community endeavors.

Future Plans: I hope to reach out to schools and community organizations to start conversations with students who are interested in branching outside of the norm. Sharing of thoughts and ideas can hopefully lead to comfortable belonging and to challenge systematic difficulties that impact immigrants and minorities.

Angelica Prisciliano

Project: Student led state wide organization designed to build a strong community network to provide higher education and career resources for Colorado students and professionals regardless of immigration status. ULHE strives to build meaningful coalitions, organize resourceful events, and actively advocate for equitable policy.


Inspiration: Hard working immigrant community inspired me to want to do more work for equity rights.


Future Plans for Project: My goal is to reach my community and build a network where we can all advance in our careers and community.

Duvia Ortega

Project: Create awareness of college opportunities and support for DACA students


Inspiration: Little kids, and how they should know about college since they are small.


Future Plans for Project: To let them know what college is about and give them an idea that college is important.



Lluvia Macias

Project: I have been able to join a research lab through the Renee Crown Wellness Center through CU. As a team we were looking at feelings of trust or distrust between hispanic families and the school district. I worked on translating and transcribing interviews as well as coding them.


Inspiration: CU has a growing population of Undocumented students and must have a support system for them.


Future Plans for Project: I hope to gain Faculty/student/administrative support and get funds to retain undocumented students on campus.


Sana Zulali

Project: I decided to focus my project on working with high school students and their parents understand the college process which includes, financial aid, applications, GPA, SAT scores, and other resources necessary. My goal is to help underrepresented students. First generation or immigrant students are lacking support and are underrepresented students. Creating this project will allow me to show the importance and opportunity available for these students. After having guidance, I hope to see students feel prepared about the future. Volunteering with Adelante! at Boulder High School will allow me to use the activist intellectual tradition to give back to my community.


Inspiration: Due to the recent political debate on children being taken away from their families and lifestyle, I decided to choose this as my Puksta Project because this is a major problem happening in the United States that will affect globally. As a result, less immigrants will get the opportunity to have basic human rights.


Future Plans for Project: I hope that I accomplish change in my community that will spread to others who hear our voices. I think that anyone can create change and I hope to spread awareness in order to make change.

Sara Hagos

Project: In an attempt to create a community in which people can learn more about their roots, I will provide resources and a safe space which encourages both collective cultural and individual growth. I also hope to collaborate with other diaspora projects to emphasize the importance and beauty of being involved culturally.


Inspiration: Coming from a high school with a total minority enrollment of 76 percent has opened my mind to a variety of perspectives that have expanded my intellectual capabilities. Experiencing all of these different cultures took residence in my heart and helped me on my journey of cultural identity. Being an American born Ethiopian had proven to be difficult at times because I had yet to truly be immersed in all aspects of my culture. Eventually, I became quite comfortable within Ethiopian culture, but not without a struggle. Therefore, I want to help other diasporas along with their journey of cultural identity.

Future Plans for Project: I plan on show all individuals, especially diaspora, how important culture can be. I also hope that this acceptance of ones and others cultures can help break past barriers such as xenophobia and provide a safe place to present your culture proudly.


German Treto Esparza

Project: Help high school seniors explore DU and guide them through the application process.


Inspiration: My own background as an immigrant and my struggles to get where I am today, have pushed me to want to make a difference in peoples lives.


Future Plans for Project: I would like for students and parents to feel more confident making a decision when it comes to their future.


Jessica Rangel Leon

Project: Currently working to create a curriculum that focuses on undocumented high school students and their experience. In this curriculum, the goal is to guide these students towards higher education specific to their needs and experiences.


Inspiration: As I have seen firsthand how immigration policies and laws tear undocumented families apart, I was inspired to help those who don’t have resources or outside support.


Future Plans for Project: I hope to educate my peers and those who are unwilling to accept immigrants into the US about why America thrives on immigration and what the lives of every undocumented person truly means.