People

Professional Staff
Undocumented and DACA Student Initiative
Student Coordinators - Community Team
Student Coordinators - Connections Team
Student Leadership

Professional Staff

Julio Reyes '12

Program Director, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center

Begins at Brown on June 15, 2017

Yolanda Rome

Acting Director, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center

Associate Dean of the College for First-Year and Sophomore Studies

Open Hours: Tuesdays from 1-4 PM in University Hall

I grew up in eastern Connecticut and went to a high school with a low graduation rate and even lower college rate. I always knew I wanted to go to college, though, and through lots of hard work and some divine intervention, I landed at Yale University. Although it was only 1.5 hours away from home, I didn't visit until I got accepted. I had a very difficult time. I made it work by finding a supportive writing fellow, making connections with the administrators in my residential college, creating a niche that I could handle -- and crying to my mom. My goal in life has always been to help others, and my varied positions have always focused on the power of education and advocacy. I enjoy helping students articulate their paths through Brown and beyond, and am especially excited to assist first-generation college students in building this community.

Maria Ortega

Graduate Coordinator, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center

I was born in Mexico but grew up in California's Central Valley in the city of Fresno. My mom instilled in me the value of an education early on but being a first generation student, the road to college was not an easy one. Through lots of hard work, dedication, and with the help of my family and community, I was able to graduate with a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from CSU, Fresno.

Although my time as an undergraduate was riddled with difficulties, I was able to succeed with the help of amazing mentors both inside and outside of the university. Growing up witnessing the effects that poverty and a lack of resources can have on a person have compelled me to get involved in social justice efforts. My positionality and experiences both in and out of school have cemented my commitment to advocacy work. I’m excited to be working with the FirstGen community not only because I fit the definition of the label but also because I would like to help cultivate a safe and healthy community where we can not only support one another but also build a sustainable movement that will help future generations.

Contrary to popular belief, grad students do have fun (sort of) so when I’m not organizing, reading, or writing, I enjoy traveling, especially to warm parts of the world. And when I don’t get the opportunity to travel, I substitute the urge to explore new territories by filling my home with plants.

Undocumented and DACA Student Initiative

Kevin Escudero

Faculty Fellow, Undocumented and DACA Student Initiative

Born and raised in Southern California, I am the son of a Vietnamese mother and Bolivian father. Currently, I am a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in American Studies and Faculty Fellow for the Undocumented Student Initiative at Brown. In my role as Faculty Fellow, I hold weekly open hours, work with undocumented and DACAmented students to navigate university resources and advise campus administration on issues affecting undocumented students and staff. I am also a member of the Coalition of Advocates for Student Opportunities (CAS), a local organization that assists undocumented students pursuing higher education in Rhode Island. 

The eldest sibling in my family, my parents wanted me to pursue higher education, but to stay close to home. I attended UCLA, an hour from where I grew up, and majored in Chicana/o Studies. College was a learning environment that I greatly enjoyed as it provided an opportunity to learn about the histories of my own communities and their resistance to oppression. With the guidance of faculty mentors, I applied and was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, I developed my interest in comparative racial/ethnic politics, writing my dissertation on Asian and Latina/o coalition building in the undocumented student movement in San Francisco and Chicago. During this time, I also sought to connect my academic research interest with my political commitments, becoming involved in immigrant rights advocacy at the grassroots and community based levels.

While completing my dissertation, a mentor encouraged me to apply to law school. For me, an understanding of the law was critical to my research on undocumented immigrant political activism. I attended Yale Law School and graduated with a M.S.L. degree in 2015. While at Yale, I joined the group, First Generation Professionals where we discussed the unique challenges navigating law school and the legal profession coming from working class backgrounds. I also increased my knowledge of immigrant and refugee issues as a member of the International Refugee Assistance Project, where I worked with a team of students to fight for the resettlement of an Iraqi refugee family in the United States.

David Liendo Uriona, MPH '18

Graduate Coordinator, Undocumented and DACA Student Initiative

I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Both of my parents worked hard to give my sister and I a good education, since neither of my parents had the opportunity to graduate from college because of the limited resources and opportunities that my native country offers. They always instilled in my sister and I the values of working hard and studying because education is one of the most powerful weapons. Since I was seven years old I have had the dream of attending college in the United States because I always heard of the American Dream and that the US has limitless opportunities. When I got the opportunity to move to the States I took it. I left my family in Bolivia and came to the United States to accomplish the American Dream. However, it was difficult to negotiate a new country, culture, and language on my own. Through the ups and downs of my journey I understood that I was undocumented and felt discouraged to reach my dreams. I was very fortunate to receive different scholarships that helped me to attend college and receive my bachelor's from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biology and Society. After graduation, I joined Teach For America and taught high school in Denver, Colorado. I have first-hand experience of being undocumented and I know how difficult was to find opportunities and committed myself to serve and advocate for social change. While I was teaching I worked with families to empower and engage members of my community to increase awareness of the issues affecting undocumented students. I am excited to be working with undocumented and DACAmented students because I know how difficult and stressful our situation is and would like to help and empower more students because we are the future of our generation. Currently working towards my Master of Public Health degree. 

Community Team -- Student Coordinators

  • Community-building events and activities
  • Center services, including the FLIP Lending Library
  • Communications and outreach (weekly listserv, etc.)

Haley De La Rosa '17

Student Coordinator, Community Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD

Concentration: International Relations, Society and Security - Latin America
Hometown: Edinburg, Texas
Fun Fact: I have played instruments in symphony orchestras, marching bands, symphonic bands, and was a cellist for six years.

Embracing the beauty in being first-gen has been a journey heavily influenced by support systems, resources, and mentors in the first-gen community. I'm excited to continue supporting students through gauging our community's needs and developing accessible resources in collaborative efforts with my co-staff members. 

Andy Pham '19

Student Coordinator, Community Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD

 Concentration: Ethnic Studies on Pre-Med Track
Hometown: Weymouth, MA (but born in Portland, OR)
Fun Fact: I'm pretty sure that I know every line in Shrek by heart.

First-Gens @ Brown has been instrumental in my transition from high school to college. The consistent support and love that I felt from this group helped me finish my first year here at this institution. I could not imagine struggling through these past two semesters without this amazing group and its wonderful people in my life. I am now excited to feel like I am paying it forward as one of the new First-Gen Student Coordinators! I am pumped to be working along side fellow first-gens to continue maintaining this supportive community! 

Auriana Woods '19

Student Coordinator, Community Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD

Concentration: Africana Studies and Public Policy
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Fun Fact:

The first-gen and low income community at Brown has been a pivotal part of my support system the last year and a half. Having a community of people who share similar experiences and identities has made my college experience incredibly more comfortable. I’m so excited and grateful to be able to work in the center and give back to a community that has done so much for me!

Connections Team -- Student Coordinators

  • Peer mentoring program, including outreach and connection to incoming students
  • Engagement with faculty, alumni, and graduate students, including the First-Gen CareerCon and FaculTEAs
  • Connecting with campus resources and opportunities (i.e. Academic Support, CAPS)

Isaiah Frisbie '18

Student Coordinator, Connections Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD
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Trevor Lyford '18

Student Coordinator, Connections Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD

Concentration: Public Health on Pre-Med track
Hometown: LaGrange, ME
Fun Fact: I graduated from Penquis Valley High School with 30 kids in my class.

I currently find myself in an incredible position here at Brown.  I am a Meiklejohn Leader as well as a First-Gen Student Coordinator.  Being apart of these groups allows me to learn from others and relate to the common struggles that many first-year students, especially First-Gen and low-income students, encounter.  I am beyond excited to be apart of this First-Gen revolution that is currently taking place here at Brown and I cannot wait to start talking to, learning from, and working with fellow first-generation college students

TBD

Student Coordinator, Connections Team

Open Hours (SciLi Room 518/519): TBD
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Student Leadership

Ashley Diaz '20

Co-President, First-Gens@Brown

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Jenna Knueppel

Liaison, QuestBridge Scholars

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Amy Miao '19

Co-President, First-Gens@Brown

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TBD

Coordinator, Sidney Frank Scholars

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TBD

Coordinator, Brown Immigrant Rights Coalition

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TBD

Coordinator, Bonner Community Fellows Program of the Swearer Center for Public Service

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