This project examines the ways in which immigrant-origin youth are contributing to their communities. Utilizing a Participatory Action Research framework, we are gathering data regarding how institutional, local, state and national government can become more responsive to the needs of immigrant-origin students in Illinois. To get involved please contact us!


Magda Collazo is an advanced junior in the undergraduate Applied Psychology Program with a minor in Sociology. She is involved in many organizations on campus including the Union for Puerto Rican Students, LARES Leaders, the LAS Dean’s Student Advisory Board, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and the student board for this research project. One topic she hopes to research in the future is the Latin@ community and the underutilization of mental health services due to machismo, gender roles, and underrepresentation in the field of psychology.

Karen Celeste Cruz, is a Mexican American undergraduate student double majoring in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies and minoring in Spanish. She is an aspiring poet who engages civically through student ethnic and religious organizations on campus, research collaborations, and her parish. She is devoted to being an advocate for the immigrant community.

Nour  Ghalyoun is an English major and a pre-med student. In a past life, Nour could've been an anthropologist, but in this life she hopes to be a part of Doctors Without Borders. She loves going to protests and could spend the rest of her life reading books.

My name is Jose Muratalla. I am a recent graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. I am currently majoring in Biochemistry on the Pre-Med track. I have a special interest in social equity and hope to one day be able to serve my underrepresented community as a culturally competent physician. During my free time, I enjoy listening to indie music and thoroughly enjoy watching TV Shows with my recent favorite being Stranger Things.

My name is Rachel Ongbueco, I am an Undergraduate Student at the College of Education. I am a senior in the Human Development and Learning Program. My passion is working with youth. My current goal is to serve in the Peace Corps and become a primary teacher or youth development worker in the Philippines.

Clemencia Garnica Palao is currently a third year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago pursuing a Integrated Health Studies major with a concentration in health and science as well as a minor in Public Policy.

Garnica Palao, post-graduation hopes to be heavily involved in Health Policy on Capitol Hill and with her involvement in the DIYA Lab she aims to learn how research can be used to create policies at local (university) level to better support students.

My name is Eduardo S. Ruiz and I am majoring in economics. A long term goal I have is to obtain a masters degree in my major and to give back to my community. I enjoy photography and film making.