George Fox host workshop for undocumented students

George Fox University hosts event designed to equip those who advise students who often face barriers when pursuing a college education
By George Fox University

Individuals who work at private universities or in community organizations or schools (K-12) are invited to a February workshop designed to educate and equip individuals who work with undocumented students prior to and after they enroll in higher education.

The “Working with Undocumented Students” workshop, hosted at George Fox University’s Portland Center near Tigard, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, at the center, located at 12753 S.W. 68th Ave., in Portland. The cost is $20 per person, which covers a lunch and event expenses.

“Our goal is to provide those in higher education and in the community with resources to better support undocumented students as they pursue a college education,” said event organizer Joel Perez, dean of transitions and inclusion at George Fox. “It will also appeal to high school counselors who want to learn more about financial resources for these students.”

Space is limited, so early registration is required. Contact Perez at 503-554-2305 to register or get more information.

Undocumented students are those students who were born abroad who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. The Urban Institute estimates that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year. They are guaranteed an education through grade 12, but many face legal and financial barriers to higher education.

The workshop is ideal for anyone who works in college admissions, financial aid, student life or other student-related administrative positions. Speakers will include Perez; Gerardo Ochoa, associate director of financial aid at Linfield College’s Portland campus; and Sherilyn Holcombe Waxler, an immigration attorney at Waxler Immigration Law LLC in Portland, Ore.

At George Fox, Perez oversees new student orientation, the first-year seminar program, the sophomore year experience program, the Act Six leadership scholarship program, and the presidential leadership scholarship program. He provides strategic direction for the institution’s diversity efforts, which includes serving as the chief diversity officer and overseeing the office of multicultural student programs and international student services.

In addition, he is a recognized leader in higher education, having received an award for his work in bringing awareness to the issue of the DREAM Act and supporting undocumented students presented to him by Region V of the National Association of Student Personal Administrators. He is a first-generation college student and first in his family to complete a doctorate.

Ochoa, originally from Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico, has extensive experience working with underrepresented youth in higher education, primarily Latinos at the middle school, high school, and undergraduate levels. His most recent endeavors involve working with students to provide them the tools, resources, and motivation to successfully apply and compete for scholarship funding, an essential element to completing a college education.

Ochoa is coauthor of Path to Scholarships-College Edition and works directly with Oregon high schools, nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities to implement the “Path to Scholarships” curriculum in their programs.

Waxler practices in the areas of family and business immigration, deportation/removal litigation, and citizenship. She frequently counsels students and immigrant youth regarding their options, rights and responsibilities, as well as representing them in applications for legal status and in removal proceedings. She earned a law degree at Washington School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree from Reed College.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier regional university and a “Best Value” school. More than 3,500 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master’s and doctoral degrees.

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