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Alumnus Shares DACA Connection through Brown UEP Program

September 15, 2017

In an op-ed piece in the Orange County Register, Gil Cisneros (UEP '15)  describes a personal connection with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program through the experience of a classmate in his Urban Education Policy master's program cohort:

As a graduate student at Brown University, one of my classmates was a DACA student. Mateus was brought to the United States from South America at a very young age and grew up in New Jersey.  That was his home and being the good Jersey boy that he was, he went to Rutgers University. It was only in 2013 that NJ allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students, by that time Mateus had already transferred to Brown University

Fortunately, Mateus had a mentor looking out for him.  He transferred to Brown University and later applied to and was accepted by DACA. That is where we met, in the Urban Education Policy program. He was a brilliant student and a dedicated friend to others in the program. Mateus often spoke of going home to Newark, where he grew up, because that was where he wanted to make a difference.

Mateus graduated, served as a Congressional Hispanic Scholarship Graduate Fellow, and spoke on panels with then-Education Secretary John King. Mateus then returned home to serve on Newark’s LGBTQ Commission and works for an education foundation where he approves grants to invest money so other Newark kids like him can have more opportunities to succeed. His enthusiasm for America and his hometown helped strengthen my own appreciation for our freedom and my Southern California roots.