About Rooted

Who we are

We are a collective led by immigrant students and alumni from The University of Texas at Austin. Having been a part of the UT Austin community, we have all seen first-hand the challenges that undocumented students face under systemic barriers and a lack of institutional support. We bring our unique experiences and knowledge together to mobilize toward building a foundation of support for future undocumeneted students.

Our History

  • Fall 2019
    A group of UT students, alumni, and staff of mixed status came together in an effort to better understand and address the inequities in both opportunity and resources for undocumented students at The University of Texas at Austin.

  • Spring 2020
    As our group continued to meet and evolve our understanding of the unique needs of this student population, it became increasingly clear that there were many contributing factors towards these needs being largely unmet – one of the main factors being a lack of awareness and understanding of the undocumented student experience.

  • Summer 2020
    We began connecting with undocumented student support centers throughout the country to better understand what makes a successful center. Representatives from our team met with Dr. Moore, the former UT Austin Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, to begin discussions regarding the hiring of staff to support immigrant students on campus.

  • Fall 2020
    We continued to build strong relationships with student organizations, university departments, university-sponsored programs, and other student support centers, who have joined our effort to better understand and advocate for undocumented student voices.

  • Spring 2021
    We utilized seed funding from the Vice Provost for Diversity to create a survey to document the need of immigrant students and alumni at UT, as well as begin to form the concept for this website. We were able to present the need for this initiative to Dr. Smith, the UT Austin Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement.

  • Summer 2021
    We finalized the concept of Rooted as we worked to build this website to serve as outreach for the initiative to create a center. We have also re-initiated a staff and faculty taskforce to support undocumented students and launched our survey to better understand the needs of students.

  • Moving forward
    In the next year…we will create a report that includes the survey data we have collected as well as personal testimonies to advocate for the creation of a student support center. We plan to present our work to top leadership at UT Austin and push for a physical location and funding for staff in the 2022-2024 school years.

Rooted members

Jamie Turcios-Villalta

UT Austin 2020
Health and Society, Government

What makes you feel rooted?

Being in a space where I can learn and grow with others to create meaningful change makes me feel rooted.

Katya Guzman

UT Austin 2022
Latino Studies, Human Dimensions of Organizations

What makes you feel rooted?

Being around community that I love and feel loved by makes me feel rooted.

Jocie Sobieraj

Oberlin College 2015
Comparative American Studies
UT Austin 2022
Higher Educational Leadership

What makes you feel rooted?

Being around people who accept me as my full, authentic self makes me feel rooted.

Francisco Cid

UT Austin 2021
Physics, Certificate in Elements of Computing

What makes you feel rooted?

Working to resolve issues I feel passionate about makes me feel rooted.

Cathy Preciado (she/her)

UT Austin 2021

What makes you feel rooted?

I feel rooted when I am sharing a meal with family and friends.

Alicia A. Moreno

University of North Texas 2017
Visual Art Studies
UT Austin 2019

What makes you feel rooted?

Being around my family makes me feel rooted.

Ana V. Hernández

UT Austin 2015
Latin American Studies, History
UT Austin 2018
MSSW, MA Latin American Studies

What makes you feel rooted?

Creativity, connection with caring people, and being authentically myself makes me feel rooted.

We appreciate our partner organizations

Rooted membership includes representatives from Girasol Texas, Monarch Student Program, Texas Orange Jackets (OJ’s), and University Leadership Initiative (ULI).

Founded in 2019 by a group of students and staff at The University of Texas Austin.

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