Define American Chapters

About Our

Define American Chapters are student-led initiatives to bring the conversation on immigrants and identity home to their college communities. Students receive the tools to reach out to people who have different opinions and backgrounds, and create opportunities for mutual understanding.

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National Chapters Leadership

Carimer Andujar

National Co-Chair Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Carimer is a senior studying chemical engineering and is very active in advocacy for undocumented students. Through her time at Rutgers she has assisted the university in developing programs to aid undocumented students who attend the college. Alongside her chapter she has successfully campaigned for the hiring of an undocumented student coordinator, policies that protect undocumented students and a partnership with the which grants scholarships to undocumented students. As national co-chair she aspires to be a mentor to other chapters who also want to further develop resources for their schools.

Carmen Cline

National Co-Chair University of Louisville

Carmen is a Chemistry Major, with a minor in Spanish. With passions for activism and public service, Carmen has always been a community organizer. Being a small-town native, she realizes the need for a deeper conversation about immigration and diversity to be initiated in Rural America. Thus, her goal is to tackle one of the roots of the problem, which is the much overlooked impact that Rural America has on our country. She believes that, by focusing on smaller cities, the connection between Urban and Rural America will begin to strengthen; and ultimately, support for Human Rights will begin to expand.

Laura Corona

National Vice Chair Foothill College

Laura is a first-generation college student, originally from Mexico City, Mexico. Majoring in Sociology with a minor in Political Science, she aspires to become an immigration attorney and continue to give back to her community. With the help of Define American Laura hopes to help shape the immigrant narrative by sharing her story and giving a voice to those who don’t believe they have one.

Adrian Almeida

Regional Vice Chair University of Nebraska-Kearney

Adrian is a first-generation student, originally from Cuba, majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Marketing and a minor in Criminal Justice. Although a freshman, he is exceeding expectations through his first semester by leading the establishment of Define American at UNK and promoting higher education to first generation college students and their Spanish speaking families.

Sydelle O'Brien

Regional Vice Chair Community College of Philadelphia

Sydelle currently majors in early childhood education. Previously she managed campaigns and assisted in the creation of events revolving around undocumented immigrants. She has chosen to join Define American in hopes to continue the conversation regarding immigration from a humanitarian standpoint rather than a political one. She firmly believes that through conversations things will change for the better. Together we can fight the good fight.

Oneida Vargas

Regional Vice Chair Southern Illinois University–Carbondale

Oneida Vargas is a 21-year-old senior majoring in Political Science. In May of 2019, she will graduate with her bachelors. She was born in Michoacan, Mexico in 1997 and in 1998 her and her family immigrated to Chicago where she has lived her whole life. After graduation, she intends to move back to Chicago to be with her family and pursue law school to become an immigration attorney.

Define American Chapters come together at our annual summit!



We Use the Power of Our Intersectional Stories to Create Change

The power of storytelling to create meaningful change is at the core of our movement. Define American was established in 2011, after our founder Jose Antonio Vargas came out as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in The New York Times Magazine. Its publishing has inspired hundreds of people to share their immigrant and ally stories publicly and online. We commit to telling stories that fully represent our communities and our country.

We Elevate The Conversation About American Identity

At Define American we use stories, art and culture to encourage our audience to think critically about American identity, and in the process inspire new ideas and conversations about our nation’s current immigration system.

We Believe in Making The United States A More Welcoming Nation

Our ideals remind us that we are all created equal and that our strength lies in the forging of a nation based on shared values and common purpose. We support a vision in which all people, including immigrants, have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, engage with their community and fully contribute their talents — expanding prosperity and wellbeing for all.

We Bring and Include Everyone in The Conversation

At Define American, we realize that to create meaningful change, we must engage beyond our core base of supporters. This means that we avoid polarizing language and actions, and instead focus on finding common ground and putting forth relatable stories and messages in an effort to create understanding outside our typical audience. It also means, that we are not solely storytellers, we are also listeners.

We Believe in Equity of Education for Everyone Regardless of Status

Together at the first ever Define American Chapters Summit in 2017, 13 of our chapters voted to add this to our chapters principle. We believe that education from kindergarten to university and everything in between should be available to everyone, regardless of immigration status. This means equal access to tuition rates, scholarships, and campus resources. We have the power and commitment to ensure that students don’t have a less fulfilling educational experience just because they weren’t born in this country.

We All Define American

“How do YOU define American?” — this one question opens up infinite possibilities to accomplish innovative systemic change. We believe through being proactive, and not reactive, we can shift conversations about immigrants in the United States. Through provocative and uncomfortable conversations we create teachable moments, and we also use them to learn more about the point of view of others. Using this approach we aim to be trailblazers, and create a one-of-a-kind student movement.