Staff

Louis Caldera

Louis Caldera is a co-founder of the Presidents’ Alliance and currently serves as co-chair of its Steering Committee. A former Secretary of the Army and president of The University of New Mexico from 2003 to 2006, Louis also served in the Obama Administration as an assistant to the president and the Director of the White House Military Office. In addition to serving in senior higher education leadership roles, Louis has served in education policy and philanthropy roles and taught Constitutional law and other courses at American University, George Washington University, and elsewhere.

Miriam Feldblum

Dr. Miriam Feldblum is the co-founder and executive director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance. A national expert on the intersection of immigration and higher education, Miriam has written extensively and delivered presentations on undocumented, international, and refugee students, immigration policy and higher education, and highly skilled labor in the United States.  She is a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and author of Reconstructing Citizenship: The Politics of Nationality Reform and Immigration in Contemporary France. Miriam previously served as vice president for student affairs, dean of students, and professor of politics at Pomona College, as special assistant to the president, faculty research associate, and senior director at the California Institute of Technology, and as an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco. She received a BA in political science from Barnard College, and MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in political science from Yale University.

Email: miriam@presidentsalliance.org

Monica Andrade

Monica Andrade is the Manager of State Policy for the Presidents’ Alliance, where she coordinates its state policy agenda related to undocumented students and other immigrant populations in higher education. Prior to joining the Presidents’ Alliance, Monica was the Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Michigan where she litigated high-impact civil rights cases focused on immigrants’ rights in state and federal courts and advocated for policies to protect such rights. In that role, Monica was involved in many of the ACLU’s legal challenges on these issues, including Hamama v Adducci (national class action challenging deportation and detention of Iraqi nationals), Malam v. Adduci (class action challenging detention of vulnerable immigrants detained by ICE during the COVID-19 crisis), Michigan Immigrant Rights Center v. Department of Homeland Security (FOIA case seeking documents on the 100-mile zone), and multiple lawsuits on behalf a U.S. citizen and Marine Corps veteran who was unlawfully detained by ICE and placed in deportation proceedings based on his ethnic background. Monica is the co-author of The Border’s Long Shadow: How Border Patrol Uses Racial Profiling and Local and State Police to Instill Fear in Michigan’s Immigrant Communities. The report was the first of its kind investigation of Border Patrol’s Michigan operations and resulted in statewide policy changes and safeguards identified in the report. Prior to law school, Monica was a case worker at an in-custody substance abuse treatment and education program in Flagstaff, Arizona where she worked with individuals to develop transition and treatment plans post-release.

Monica earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University where she majored in Social Work and a law degree from Michigan State University of Law. Monica was selected as a Skadden Fellow in 2017. Monica’s passion for immigration advocacy stems from her own journey navigating higher education as an undocumented student. 

Email: Monica@presidentsalliance.org

Luz Bertadillo Rodriguez

Luz Bertadillo Rodriguez serves as the Director of Campus Engagement. She has over 8 years of experience working in the k-12 educational system, college access non-profit sector, and higher education immigrant student affairs. She started her career working with students in Undocumented Student Programs in California and New York. More recently, her professional and personal work has revolved around merging mental wellness and immigration through the founding of the UndocuChats Collective. Luz holds an AA and BA in Psychology from Mt. San Antonio College and UC Berkeley and a MSW from Columbia University.

Email: luz@presidentsalliance.org

Rajika Bhandari

Rajika Bhandari serves as a consultant and as Senior Advisor, International Student Research. Dr. Bhandari is an international higher education expert and a scholar-practitioner with over 25 years of experience in student mobility research and data-driven insights; monitoring, evaluation, and impact studies of international education programs; and shaping thought leadership strategy in the nonprofit, private and higher education sectors. Dr. Bhandari served as the President & CEO of the IC3 Institute and previously held senior roles at the Institute of International Education (IIE) for over a decade where she led IIE’s research, evaluation and thought leadership portfolio. A frequent speaker on international student issues and a widely published author, her recently published book is America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility.

Email: rajika@presidentsalliance.org

Dulce Guerrero

Dulce Guerrero serves as a Project Associate on State Policy with the Presidents’ Alliance. She has over 9 years of experience working in the immigration field as a community organizer, campaign strategist, and policy analyst. Dulce was born in Mexico and grew up as an undocumented student in Georgia. Her passion for helping the immigrant community originates from her personal difficulties in accessing higher education as an undocumented student. Dulce is a TheDream.US alumna and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Delaware State University.

Anita Gupta

Anita Gupta is the Managing Attorney of Legal Programs and Initiatives at the Presidents’ Alliance. She leads the new Legal Pathways that Work Initiative which seeks to increase non-citizen students’ access to employment-based immigration pathways through educational resources, legal services, and a fellowship program. Anita has practiced immigration law for over ten years and has dedicated her career to immigrant rights. She is also an adjunct professor with Villanova University’s Immigration Studies program. 

Prior to joining the Presidents’ Alliance, Anita was a senior staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, where she led the organization’s deportation defense team, and she regularly conducted trainings on immigration law, provided legal technical assistance, and authored practice manuals and advisories for immigration and criminal defense practitioners across the country. She also partnered with community advocates and local government officials to strategize, pass, and implement local policies that reduce the arrest-to-deportation pipeline, such as the first cite and release ordinance in Texas. Anita previously worked in private practice, specializing in deportation defense and humanitarian-based immigration relief, and she was a staff attorney at American Gateways and the National Immigrant Justice Center, where she represented low-income immigrants in a wide variety of matters. Anita earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her law degree from DePaul University. 

Cezanne Hayden-Dilbert

Cezanne Hayden-Dilbert is the Manager of Operations and People at the Presidents’ Alliance. She has an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources, both from Miami Dade College. Cezanne is also a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). She played a key role in the development of the Higher Ed Portal. Cezanne is a Dream.US alumna and is dedicated to serving her immigrant community. She plans to pursue an M.B.A to further her commitment.

Corinne Kentor

Dr. Corinne Kentor is the 2023 ACLS Leading Edge Fellow and our Policy and Communications Associate. Corinne is an social scientist with interdisciplinary expertise in migration, family, and higher education. Corinne’s teaching and scholarship is highly collaborative, using ethnographic methods to investigate how policy shapes access to postsecondary opportunities. Her dissertation, For Me, Us, and Them: Immigrant Families Pursuing Higher Education in Southern California, was recognized with awards from the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others. Before joining the Presidents’ Alliance, Corinne served as a Research Fellow at the City University of New York Office of Applied Research, Evaluation & Data Analytics, where she studied students’ transitions from high school to college and from college to the workforce. In addition to her research and service, Corinne has received accolades for her teaching at Columbia University, Barnard College, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Boston College Lynch School of Education & Human Development. Corinne earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology & Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and her B.A. in English from Yale University, where she graduated with honors as a member of the second cohort of Education Studies Scholars. 

Email: corinne@presidentsalliance.org

Jason Koh

Young Chun (Jason) Koh serves as the Senior Manager for Communications for the Presidents’ Alliance. He was the Digital Content Strategist at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he has developed and managed numerous digital and multi-media campaigns. Prior to joining the Vera Institute, Koh worked for immigrant rights organizations in New York City.  He holds a BA in political science from the State University of New York at Albany, and authored an op-ed of his experience as a DACA recipient and first-generation immigrant:  “Losing My Legal Status In This Country Feels Like A Cruel Joke,” Buzzfeed, October 2017.

Ivana Lopez Espinosa

Ivana Lopez Espinosa joins the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration as the Project Manager for Campus Engagement. She’s been a higher education professional for over five years and recently worked as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Manager of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum. She’s been an advocate for immigrant communities for over ten years and continues to fight for equitable spaces.

She previously served as a consultant for the Presidents’ Alliance for Higher Education and Immigration. Her contributions include expanding state classifications and updating state policies for the Higher Ed Immigration Portal as well as being a former member of the Presidents’ Alliance Student Strategy Table. She holds an M.A. in Higher Education with a concentration on diversity and social justice from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in Sociology from Gettysburg College where she received TheDream.US scholarship to pursue her studies.

Ivana@presidentsalliance.org

Masa Group – Policy and Communications Support

Led by Principal and Founder, Jose Magaña-Salgado, Masa Group is an immigrant and minority-led immigration consulting firm.  Masa Group and its staff provide federal policy and communications support to the Presidents’ Alliance.

Axelle Nassirou

Axelle Nassirou is the Project Associate for the Refugee Students Initiative with the Presidents’ Alliance. She is an attorney with global experience advising public institutions and private organizations, notably in public international law. While she has gained expertise in U.S. immigration law doing pro bono work for several nonprofits in D.C., her interest in immigration stems from her experience as an immigrant and her dedication to social justice. She has previously founded a social venture EdTech, which aims at improving African students’ global mobility and access to Higher Education. She holds an LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School and a MA in Gender and Development from the Australian National University.

Email: axelle@presidentsalliance.org

Annie Nguyen

Annie Nguyen (she/her) serves as the Presidents’ Alliance’s Director of Development and Operations. Annie has worked in higher education as a writing professor and in nonprofit program development and administration for more than 20 years. Her past experience includes serving as Director of Development for St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore; development officer for Refugee Women’s Alliance; and most recently, the Executive Director for City Fruit, a food justice organization. In her academic career, she attained the rank of Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, where her focus was on the needs and representation of first generation; low-income; immigrant/refugee; and BIPOC communities. She has taught students abroad and developed globally-focused courses that included a Refugee Narratives course.
Annie is the proud daughter of Vietnam War refugees who resettled in Alabama. She earned her BA In Political Communications/English from the George Washington University, was a Fulbright Scholar to Vietnam, and earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana. She has recently returned to DC, where she is raising her two young children — and perhaps unwisely, adopted a husky rescue.

Felecia Russell

Dr. Felecia Russell serves as Director of the Higher Ed Immigration Portal. Dr. Felecia Russell identifies as a Jamaican-borned, American-raised, Black Woman. She is also DACAmented. Her research agenda explores the experiences of Black undocumented students and the intersections of race and immigration status. Her upcoming book, titled “Amplifying Undocumented Black Voices: Overshadowed college students’ persistence in the intersection of immigration and race in America,” is focused on understanding the experiences of undocuBlack students on college campuses. She is also an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University where she teaches and writes about undocumented students, educational leadership, and undocuBlack methodologies. She has served as a keynote speaker for many undocu graduations, undocu conferences, and other programming events related to the undocumented student population. She is also the founder of the UndocuBlack Research Collective, a research group focused on releasing stories about undocuBlack people.

Email: felecia@presidentsalliance.org 

Diego Sánchez

Diego Sánchez is the Director of Policy and Strategy for the Presidents’ Alliance, leading the development and implementation of the legislative and administrative policy agenda related to undocumented students and other immigrant populations. Prior to joining the Presidents’ Alliance, Diego led the Southern Poverty Law Center’s federal immigration portfolio. He is an immigration lawyer with over 10 years of experience in strategic advocacy for immigrant justice, including experience in state and federal immigration policy, immigration advocacy at the local, state, and national levels, and community organizing. Diego’s passions for immigrant justice and access to education stem from his personal journey as an undocumented college student and former DACA recipient.

Email: diego@presidentsalliance.org

Laura Wagner

Laura Wagner is the Director of Refugee Access. Most recently, Laura was the Senior Program Officer for Integration at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) where she worked with a national network of refugee resettlement agencies to develop innovative and client-centered programs for refugee integration. Laura’s expertise includes refugee resettlement, education, and integration, program development, and project and grants management. Laura graduated from Bucknell University and earned her master’s in International Education Development from Teachers’ College, Columbia University.

Email: laura@presidentsalliance.org

Jill Welch

Jill Welch serves as Senior Policy Advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance on International Student and Refugee Student Policy Issues. As Principal of Out of Many 1 Advocacy, LLC, Jill specializes in mobilizing diverse stakeholder interests to achieve local, state, and federal change. With more than two decades of experience as seasoned public policy advocate, nonprofit leader, and strategic partnership expert, she has served in senior policy leadership positions both inside and outside of government. Before launching her consulting firm, she was Vice President of External Relations at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. A columnist for The PIE with her “Jill on the Hill” series, she is regularly quoted in influential media outlets and is a sought-after source for both advocates and policymakers alike who seek to internationalize U.S. higher education, modernize the U.S. immigration system, and renew our democracy. She holds a masters in public administration from American University and a BA in political science and French from Berry College.

Email: jill@presidentsalliance.org