UPDATED OCTOBER 27, 2023 10:07 AM
Maria Gabriela Pacheco knows firsthand what it’s like to be an ambitious teenager who’s told she can’t go to college because of her immigration status. The Ecuadorian-born, Miami-raised immigration rights activist was once an undocumented high schooler in South Florida trying to figure out her next moves.
Two decades later — after rising to national prominence as a result of years of advocacy for new legal pathways and educational opportunities for the nation’s immigrants — Pacheco will lead the largest college scholarship and career development program for undocumented youth.
TheDream.Us, a national organization that has doled out over 10,000 scholarships during its nearly decade-old existence, announced this month that Pacheco would be its next president and CEO.
“This role is not just a responsibility; it’s a privilege, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to open doors, break down barriers, and empower Dreamers to reach their full potential, adding their unique voices and talents to the diverse chorus that is our nation,” said Pacheco, who currently serves as the group’s Director of Advocacy, Development, and Communications.