Sergio Rodriguez Camarena, MPA ’24

#PolicyProfile: Sergio Rodriguez Camarena, MPA ’24

Oct 16 2023
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

“I grew up undocumented in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, which informed how I navigated the world and the spaces I could occupy. When I was growing up, higher education was inaccessible for many undocumented students like me. Public universities in California categorized undocumented students as international students and denied them in-state tuition rates, making higher education financially impossible. Through @QuestBridge, I was awarded a full four-year scholarship to @PomonaCollege, eliminating the financial obstacle and making it possible for me to pursue higher education.

There, I came into my identity and power as an undocumented student, which led me to advocacy work and championing opportunities for the next generation of undocumented people."
Sergio Rodriguez Camarena, MPA ’24

Upon graduation, I received a two-year Community Fellowship with the Immigrants Justice Corps (@ijcorps), where I provided legal representation and services to the immigrant communities of Staten Island, New York. I transitioned to Program Analyst for the Unaccompanied Children Program at the Vera Institute of Justice (@verainstitute) and eventually transferred to the Vera California team, which focused on decarceration and advocating for community-based care systems. In addition to decreasing the number of incarcerated people in the Golden State, we sought to strengthen our advocacy network by coupling our reform agenda for the justice system with the immigrant detention system. That important work ultimately led me to @PrincetonSPIA, focusing on the intersection of migration, higher education, and the criminal legal system. I'm a Student Representative for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team. I’ve leveraged the racial equity expertise I developed at Vera into impactful student programming. Learning to navigate the institutional side at @Princeton has been informative and transformative, inspiring me to pursue a career in public service that centers DEI and intersectionality in policymaking.”

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