In May, Evelyn Lemus Silva graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University as a Barnard Award recipient, the most prestigious undergraduate award bestowed by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. She was a biology major, has a research job lined up at Stanford University and plans to go to medical school in the future. She is also an undocumented immigrant.
Silva, who entered the United States from Mexico at the age of 7, is one of the first 43 students to graduate from Eastern thanks to a scholarship from TheDream.US, a privately funded program that supports undocumented immigrants and those with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals status, called DACA for short, who live in states where they are disqualified from receiving in-state tuition, financial aid or attending public university.
“I graduated from high school in 2016 and given my background status as a DACA student I didn’t expect to go away to college,” said Silva.
Her original plan was to get a job at a fast food restaurant near her family’s home in North Carolina and work her way through community college.
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s prosperity.