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Vasthy Lamadrid, a student majoring in political science at Arizona State University, was recently awarded the Roberto L. Pastor Student Award. This honor is meant to recognize a student who engages in “outreach to Chicano/Latino youth.”
Lamadrid kindly took some time to answer questions regarding her work and the award:
Question: What has been your involvement with ASU and the surrounding community?
Answer: I am an undocumented student here at ASU. As such, I have felt tremendously lucky to have an opportunity to attend a four-year institution knowing that many undocumented students across the state are unable to do so due to financial restraints and limited resources.
For the past three years, I have been a student worker at DREAMzone, which is a resource at Arizona State University for our undocumented, DACA and students with families of mixed immigration status. One of those resources includes a training for ASU students, faculty and staff with a goal to increase institutional awareness and support.
However, I felt that I needed to do more. Thankfully, I was able to meet other students on campus who shared my passion for helping students and together we co-founded Undocumented Students for Education Equity (USEE) at ASU. This organization has really been at the forefront of the tuition fight for DACA recipients here in the state. We have been able to not only bring undocumented students and allies together, but we have also served as a resource providing important legal updates and provide resources for students.
Last semester, I was also awarded the Wells Fargo Transborder Latina Studies Research Scholarship. I have spent this semester going into my community and documenting stories of undocumented families in hopes to humanize, bring to light the injustices that they face and misconceptions, and the many ways that the immigration system in the U.S is broken. This project will culminate in a documentary that will be presented in the community at the end of the semester.
While I have a personal investment in this project as both my parents are undocumented, I think that it is already critical to preserve history.
Q: What has been your involvement in terms of outreach to Hispanic youth?
A: As a Latina, undocumented and first-generation college student, I have aimed to involve myself in opportunities that will give back to my community. While my focus has definitely been in the immigrant community, I care about justice for all. For this reason, I became passionate about education. Throughout my time here at ASU, I have had the pleasure of interning twice at local public high schools, and worked as a researcher for CompuGirls, which was a program designed for Hispanic young girls in underserved districts to learn latest technology while empowering them as change agents. USEE also works doing outreach to Hispanic youth to ensure that they are aware of the resources, (and to) invite them to join our advocacy efforts with the aim to ensure that they too could pursue their dreams.
Q: What was your reaction to winning this award?
A: I was thankful and happy.
Q: What are your plans postgraduation?
A: I am passionate about social justice for my community and any other marginalized group of people that do not have equitable access to opportunities and resources. There are many ways to contribute to this fight. I, however, have felt a deep calling for education. I just accepted a job as a sixth-grade teacher at Sheely Farms Elementary School in the Valley.
While I am committed to be the best teacher I can be in the classroom every day, I know the importance of being civically engaged and the importance of advocacy to create profound changes in society through legislation.
On a more personal and less professional level, I hope to continue learning Italian and advocate for an immigration reform so that I can go back to Italy and also Mexico to visit my family.