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I Stand with Immigrants Workshops

December 2022
  • Coordinator of Future Focus Gilmarie Vongphakdy
    Coordinator of Future Focus Gilmarie Vongphakdy
  • QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja
    QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja
  • Housing Specialist & Human Rights Officer Ashley Woodland
    Housing Specialist & Human Rights Officer Ashley Woodland

On November 2, 2022, QCC recognized “I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action” alongside many other colleges and universities. This annual day of action, which is part of the I Am An Immigrant campaign (, celebrates immigrants' heritage and contributions to the nation. In recognition of “I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action,” the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Office of Student Life and Leadership collaborated with other departments to provide a workshop series that took place on November 14 & 15, in areas that tend to be barriers for immigrants.

QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja shared his own experience of being an immigrant.

"It can be a difficult journey feeling like you don't belong or like you live in two worlds. But if you show up and continue to strive you will succeed. There are people willing to help. Everybody, regardless of status, deserves to be here and receive an education," he said.

"I wish I had resources like this when I was growing up. My mom was from Haiti and I remember in fifth grade wanting to help her by trying to interpret housing forms or file taxes," said Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kevin Lovaincy.

Coordinator of Future Focus Program Gilmarie Vongphakdy and Assistant Director of Operations for External Affairs Shirley Dempsey presented on all sources of funding and scholarships, such as opportunities through the QCC Foundation and the Student Emergency Aid Fund, as well as external sources like Scholly. They also share tips on the always important scholarship essay and resources on campus that can assist students. 

Other workshops included:

DESE Instructor & Curriculum Developer for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Deborah Martin covered the process for becoming a U.S. citizen including the application timeline, what the interview process is like, the language proficiency needed and what to expect on the test. Martin also mentioned that Ascentria Care Alliance and Catholic Charities offer courses and assistance throughout this process.

Housing Specialist & Human Rights Officer Ashley Woodland gave a presentation on finding housing. While there are numerous resources available to help with housing, they can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Woodland provided insider knowledge onto which places to go to for the various specific situations people find themselves in. She also told the crowd what they can do to prepare for applying these resources, noting what documents to prepare ahead of time to speed up the process.

Assistant Professor of Accounting, Enrollment Counselor and Designated School Official (DSO) Eduardo Rivas gave the ins and outs of filing taxes and how to access a free tax program in the community. In addition to his multiple roles at QCC, he has been helping people prepare their income taxes for over 10 years. 

"I do so many things at QCC because I love this school. I'm an immigrant and I was a student here too. This topic is very important and I love helping people," he said.

For recordings and resources from the workshop, contact President's Assistant for Engagement and Initiatives Jess Ahrens at //jahrens [at]">jahrens [at]