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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Deisy Del Real, 2011

PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Deisy Del Real is an immigrant from Mexico

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Sociology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Deisy came with her family from Mexico to the Los Angeles when she was six. Awaiting action on green card applications, she and her family were undocumented for 16 years. She was admitted with a full scholarship to Grinnell College, where she organized events promoting the DREAM Act and highlighted problems facing undocumented students. She learned that she would age out of the family's green card application when she turned 21, be deported, and banned from returning to the United States for 10 years. She appealed her case to the media, prompting a New Mexico priest to start a Saving Miss Deisy campaign and a lawyer to present her case  successfully to immigration authorities.

Deisy graduated as a sociology major from Grinnell. Finally able to travel abroad, she promoted educational opportunities for students in Cambodia. In the US, she created two organizations to support both documented and undocumented immigrants.

Deisy is currently a doctoral student at UCLA. Her research focuses on the well-being and healthcare access of undocumented and temporarily documented young adults in the US. She is also looking at the role of regional trade agreements and regional collaboration in the expansion of immigrant rights and benefits in South America. During her free time she is writing a book about her experiences as an undocumented teen.

  • PhD Sociology | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • MA | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
  • A Community of Contrasts Asian Americans in the United States: 2011
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