The Cultural Leadership Fellowship is a unique program focused on empowering undocumented leaders through culturally sustaining education, expanding knowledge of community initiatives in the United States and globally, and fostering collaboration among fellows from various professions and backgrounds. We are dedicated to providing experiential learning opportunities through Advance Parole and domestic travel, enabling participants to gain first-hand experiences. Our goal is to support undocumented leaders by equipping them with culturally responsive skills needed to thrive in their respective fields, while cultivating a strong sense of community.
The cohort will participate in a travel program during the winter, spring, or summer. During the travel program, the cohort will participate in project-based learning classes on Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and how it shifts through space and visit various archeological sites and education-based institutions or organizations to learn how culture has sustained across centuries in these spaces. Each fellow will have the opportunity to conduct their own ethnography research, for a 2-3 week period, at countries of their choice, to expand on their learning from the fellowship after the group travel program.
Upon return from the travel program, the fellows will create a cultural product of their choice (blog post, video, journal entry, etc.) focused on each of their learnings, connected to culture, space, and the current political, educational, and economic climate in the locations they visited. Scholar Fund will share the fellows’ cultural products through their website, social media, blogs, and newsletters.
Everyday we get the opportunity to come together and make something great. Our team is reflective of the communities we serve and in each moment we strive towards greatness.
David, originally from Seattle's Central District, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Washington to break the chains of poverty. He worked at the National Science Foundation, Boeing, and Tesla, contributing to the creation of Hyperloop for SpaceX. David's dream jobs inspired him to found Scholarship Junkies, a non-profit that helps students pay for college. He now aims to expand Scholar Fund's vision in three areas: education access, relief funds, and community development.
Yuriana, a first-generation Latina from Michoacan, Mexico, earned a degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington. She worked in higher education to increase access and success for immigrant and first-generation students, founded the Beyond HB 1079 conference, and served as Diversity Outreach and Engagement Administrator at the City of Bellevue. Yuriana's goal was to engage diverse communities and advance equity initiatives.
Alejandra, originally from Guatemala, advocates for educational equity for students and families in Washington State. She co-directed the Beyond HB 1079 Conference and was a community organizer with the Washington Dream Coalition. Alejandra coached and facilitated educator teams to shift adult mindsets and transform education systems. She holds her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from the University of Washington Bothell, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Culturally Sustaining Education.
Daniela, an undocumented educator, advocates for education equity, liberation, and community joy. She has experience in community organizing, education advocacy, and professional development. Daniela co-led Undocumented Ally Trainings and served as Director for the Rising Monarchs King County Fellowship. Born and raised in Mexico, Daniela earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington Bothell and is currently pursuing a Master of Education.
Cindy’s commitments stem from the love, care, and support she has experienced. She graduated from Western Washington University as a Presidential Scholar in Human Services and participated in student-led advocacy efforts to support undocumented students on campus. At Scholar Fund, she has supported countless underserved communities with funding assistance and developing equitable and accessible cash assistance programs. Cindy uses her personal experiences and community organizing skills to center vulnerable communities.
Victoria Matey Mendoza (she/her) is a queer, undocumented digital creator based in Washington. She has been speaking for nine years across the nation on immigration topics including two TEDx talks. She is also the Host and Co-Producer of Shot of Truth Podcast, created to celebrate, share stories, knowledge and heal through dialogue with other undocumented people. She graduated with a business degree at Western Washington University and was a part of various local and state efforts to support her community.
Jose administered the largest grassroots COVID-19 relief funds, including Washington Immigrant Relief Fund, giving access to millions of dollars to thousands of people. As part of Scholar Fund, Jose guides process engineering to make programs more accessible and efficient. Born in Guatemala, Jose grew up in South Seattle and experienced firsthand struggles as an immigrant youth. His goal is to continue providing direct support and solutions to immigrant communities and communities of color to ensure access to a better quality of life.
Renata joined Scholar Fund by customer service for COVID-19 Relief Fund in English and Spanish. In addition, she has supported the review of thousands of applications across multiple Scholar Fund programs. Renata is a country-based lead in the Cultural Leadership Fellowship, hosting the 2023 cohort in Guatemala, and leading more programs across Latin America in 2024. Renata holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Universidad Rafael Landivar, Guatemala.
Rossio supported Scholar Fund's COVID-19 Relief Fund with bilingual customer service and application review. She recently joined the Cultural Leadership Fellowship program by hosting a cohort in Guatemala, expanding the fellow’s knowledge of Maya culture. In 2024, she will host the program in Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia, providing opportunities for people to learn about different cultures and traditions across Latin America. Rossio holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala
America's professional career has been dedicated to the education system, from tutoring to internships in school social work and diversity, equity, and outreach. She's passionate about working with youth and families and has served as a College and Career Readiness Assistant for the Dream Project and co-led the Rising Monarchs Fellowship for undocumented students. With Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Social Work from the University of Washington, America seeks systemic change for her community through education.
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