Collaborative Research


The UndocuScholars Projects support collaborative research between researchers and organizations that provide services to undocumented youth in higher education. The goals of this strand of project are: to establish formal relationships between researchers and organizations, 2) help organizations strengthen their research capacity and establish a culture of inquiry that will improve their use of research to inform their work, and 3) help researchers think about their own work in the context of real world problems in order to promote more applied and actionable research. This year UndocuScholars has collaborated with multiple partnerships to support their efforts in supporting undocumented youth, this project is comprised of the following partnerships:

Dream Resource Centers:
Institutional Support for Undocumented Students

Jesus Cisneros and Diana Valdivia
This project evaluated Dreamer Resource Centers within institutions of higher education. The purpose is to elevate the leadership and educational contributions of such efforts for responding to the presence and needs of undocumented students. By investigating their development and contributions, this project seeks to highlight Dreamer Resource Centers as viable structures for supporting undocumented students in higher education. Our goal is to expose academic and administrative leadership at other institutions to the possibility of Dreamer Resource Centers and the impact of such efforts on campus and in the community. We would like to map Dreamer Resource Centers across the country to help institutions of higher education connect with each other, improve their efficiency, and optimize their resources for working with undocumented students. It is our hope that such data mapping would contribute to the generation of practice-related professional development resources and opportunities for providing enhanced services for undocumented students.


The CSU UndocuServices Project (CUSP)

Tracy Lachica Buenavista, Dario Fernandez, and Blanca Villagomez
The CSU UndocuServices Project (CUSP) seeks to understand the various forms of institutional support available for undocumented students throughout the California State University (CSU) system. The primary objective is to determine the factors that shape the development of institutionalized support programs and services for undocumented students in the CSU system. CUSP also seeks to understand the challenges and accomplishments of institutionalized support so that other CSU campuses interested in establishing undocumented student resources will have access to research-based best practices and recommendations to refine and/or establish new undocumented student programs and services.

Understanding the Needs, Strengths, and Challenges Facing Undocumented Students in the San Diego Region

Joanna Perez, Espiritu de Nuestro Futuro (ENF), California State University Dominguez Hills Immigrant Student Alliance Organization
The goal of their project is to contextualize how immigration policies impact undocumented students and how undocumented students mobilize to cope and contest illegality. Through this collaborative research project, we hope to be able to showcase how undocumented students contest illegality through educational attainment and demonstrate resiliency through activism. Currently, the students are working closely with the Toro Dreamers Success Center as well as the Undocumented Student Ally Committee on campus. Our proposed project consists of four parts. Part one consists of conducting interviews with undocumented students as well as faculty, staff, and administrators who are invested in findings ways to provide academic, mental, and institutional support to undocumented students. Part two consists of conducting participant observations during ENF meetings, events, and collaborations with other campus organizations. Part three consists of using social media, video, and photography to promote awareness on and off campus about the lived experiences of undocumented students. Lastly, part four consists of making our research findings accessible by publishing a book written by engaged critical scholars and undocumented students, which includes relevant interdisciplinary background literature and immigration law information as well as narratives, poems, photos, and resources.

Dreamers Ally Training (DAT) Evaluation

Mike Manalo-Pedro
This scope of work is spearheaded by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP) Bronco Dreamers Resource Center in collaboration with the campus-wide Undocumented Student Support & Advocacy committee (USSAC) and the Division of Student Affairs. Our aim is to develop organizational capacity for research, sustainable practices, and a culture of inquiry within our everyday work. The proposed project entitled Dreamers Ally Training (DAT) Evaluation is a longitudinal and ongoing collaborative study between CPP faculty and staff to evaluate the impact of the DAT on participants’ attitudes, intentions, and behavior towards serving undocumented students. We plan to bring on a research assistant to develop foundational protocols and practices for future projects. This will be the very first empirical study that this collaborative will develop and is critical in setting the tone of using empirical data to inform student affairs practice.

Cultivating Educational Aspirations in Low-Income Families of Color Through Education, Engagement, and Empowerment

Matt Matera and Susana Muñoz
ScholarshipsA-Z (SA-Z), in collaboration with Dr. Susana Muñoz, Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, launch the SA-Z climate assessment, a comprehensive analysis of the impact of SA-Z’s educator training on school climate for undocumented and DACA students. The project will help SA-Z further its mission of providing resources and scholarships to students, families, and educators in order to make higher education accessible to all regardless of immigration status. The primary goal of the SA-Z Climate Assessment is to offer deeper insight into the effectiveness of SA-Z’s training on creating a school climate that welcomes, serves, and protects undocumented and DACA students.