2018 Define American Chapters Summit

Do you have a Define American Chapter at your school?

Join or start your own!

Define American Chapters Summit

October 26 – 28, 2018 in Durham, NC

Register for the Define American Chapters Summit!

Summit Agenda

Friday, October 26
Registration: 7:30pm ET
Welcome Comedy Night: 8pm ET
Featuring performances by: Cristela Alonzo, Maeve Higgins, Tamer Kattan, and Johan Miranda
Nasher Museum
Duke University,
Durham, NC

Saturday, October 27
Registration Re-opens: 8am ET
Chapters Summit Day One: 9am – 4:45pm ET
Local Durham Excursions: 4:45pm – 7:00pm ET
Entertainment Media Presentation & Dinner: 7:00pm – 9:00pm ET
Lunch Featured speaker: Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-founder and Director of the UndocuBlack Network
Freeman Center
Duke University,
Durham, NC

Sunday, October 28
Chapters Summit Day Two: 8:45am – 3:00pm ET
Keynote speaker: Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder and CEO of Define American
Penn Pavilion
Duke University,
Durham, NC

Light breakfast will be provided Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Saturday and Sunday and Dinner on Saturday night.


About the Summit

The Define American Chapters Summit is an annual national convening of Define American Chapters.

Get ready for a weekend of inspiring ideas, strategizing around issues you care about, and learning to reshape the immigration narrative in your community. You’ll be hearing from local and national leaders in culture and media change and meeting fellow chapter leaders from around the country.

Join us for our seminal gathering of Chapters!

Lodging & Travel:

Stay at the Hilton Durham for $100/night, request a room here.

Stay with a Duke University student for free, request here.

Finances keeping you from attending? Apply for a Summit Travel Scholarship!

Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist and filmmaker, and serves as the CEO of Define American. Jose was part of The Washington Post team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. Vargas revealed his undocumented immigration status in an article in The New York Times Magazine.

Jonathan Jayes-Green

Jonathan Jayes-Green is one of the co-founders and the Director of the UndocuBlack Network, a multigenerational Network of Black undocumented immigrants organizing their own communities and building power. Jonathan believes racial, social and economic justice is possible by organizing and centering the voices and leadership of those directly impacted. He is a queer undocumented Afro-Panamanian who loves salsa, merengue and heartfelt hugs.

Jerin Arifa

Jerin Arifa is a formerly undocumented activist who is changing millions of lives. Jerin spearheaded the sexual harassment, assault, domestic violence and anti-stalking policy for the third largest university in the U.S. — while undocumented!

Now, as an American citizen, Jerin trains activists across the U.S. as the Founder of the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) inaugural virtual chapter, Young Feminists and Allies. She engineers safe spaces for marginalized groups, such as sold-out events for LGBTQAI+ Muslims.

Cristela Alonzo

Cristela Alonzo is a comedian, actor, and producer who made history when she became the first Latina to create, write, and star in her own network TV sitcom, ‘Cristela’. She’s made numerous appearances on late-night TV, and was the breakout out star of Disney Pixar’s film ‘Cars 3’. Cristela can also be seen in her hour-long Netflix special, ‘Lower Classy’. Cristela also serves as a member of the advisory board for Define American.

Maeve Higgins

A comedy star in her native Ireland, Maeve has performed all over the world, including in Edinburgh, Melbourne and, most recently, Erbil. Now based in New York, she’s made a name for herself there too. In a good way! She co-hosts Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk on National Geographic and has appeared in Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. Maeve hosts Butterboy, a live weekly show with Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone. Her podcast ‘Maeve in America’ launched in 2016 and quickly became a critical and commercial success. She writes regularly for The New York Times. Her new book of essays, Maeve in America, was published in August 2018 through Penguin.

Tamer Kattan

Tamer began his comedy career in Los Angeles and New York, but very quickly began to tour internationally. His overseas experiences include tours for the troops in Afghanistan, performing at the American University in Cairo (during the Egyptian revolution) and the Edinburgh fringe in Scotland, where he received three 4 star reviews from international press. Tamer was most recently featured on Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity event with Todd Glass and Hannibal Buress, won the 2015 World Series of Comedy, in 2017 won his episode of Comedy Knockout on truTV and has TV & Radio credits on BBC and SkyTV in the UK as well as in the U.S. on Fox, HULU, HGTV & truTV.

Johan Miranda

Named by San Francisco Magazine as a comedian you should know you about, Johan Miranda is a stand up comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. He’s been featured as a Comic to Watch by Riot L.A., has appeared on NPR, Cracked Podcast, KQED Arts, and has been profiled by the L.A. Weekly.

Define American Staff Speakers

Rev. Ryan M. Eller

Executive Director, Louisville, KY

Responsible for partnerships, innovation and organizational growth. Eller holds a B.S. in Political Science from Appalachian State University, a Masters Degree in Divinity from Wake Forest University, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University. Prior to joining Define American, he was the U.S. Campaigns Director at Change.org. For four years prior to that, he was the Executive Director of CHANGE in North Carolina—the largest broad-based community organizing group in the southern United States (a 501c3). He has extensive experience in the campaign arena as well, having managed political campaigns at both the local and federal level.

Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees

Managing Director, Creative Initiatives, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for expanding Define American’s impact in television, film and entertainment. Elizabeth comes to Define American from a fifteen-year career in media. As a showrunner and executive producer, she oversaw non-scripted projects for networks such as VH1, OWN, Lifetime Television and Syfy. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Communications from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters Degree in Social Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University. She is a storyteller at heart and passionate about harnessing the power of media to create positive global and domestic social change.

Kristian Ramos

Communications Director, Washington, D.C.

Kristian Ramos is the Communications Director for Define American who proudly hails from the Southwest.  Kristian has work experience in both the House and Senate working most recently for Media Matters For America. Prior to that he worked for the Mayor of Washington DC, he was the communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and began his communications career in the United States Senate for then Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Democratic Communications Center. Kristian began his career working for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy groups in the country. He has a Masters Degree in Governmental Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. He wishes the District of Columbia had better Mexican food.

Sarah E. Lowe

Digital Strategist, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for digital communications and audience engagement strategies for Define American. Sarah has over fifteen years of experience crafting cross-platform media campaigns for The Walt Disney Company, Nintendo, Cigna, PBS, and Discovery Channel. She has also been at the forefront of launching large-scale netroots movements in conjunction with arts-based nonprofits including American Promise, Question Bridge: Black Males, and Land of Opportunity. Sarah holds a B.A. in English from Wittenberg University, a master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on Global Migration and Community Building in the Digital Age.

Shauna Siggelkow

Executive Video Producer, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for oversight of Define American’s video content production. In her previous work, she was an Assistant Editor at MeetingHouse Productions and Tommie Copper Productions, a Senior Production Assistant at Zero Point Zero Productions, a Coordinating Producer at Hot Air Productions and a Senior Associate Producer & Casting lead for the Emmy-Nominated MTV special “White People.” Shauna has been leading production at #EmergingUS, the production arm of Define American, for the past two years. She holds of Bachelors of Arts from Oberlin College. As a storyteller, she’s dedicated to exploring the complexity of our American identity.

Monica Medellin

Video Producer, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for creating video content at Define American. In her previous work, she was Associate Producer at #EmergingUS, the production arm of Define American and a production assistant at the Los Angeles Times. In addition to video production, she has worked in entertainment media and music at SpinMedia, VIBE and REVOLT TV. Monica is passionate about telling stories that reflect the true diversity of our country. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon.

William Johnston-Carter

Video & Graphics Editor, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for editing videos by the production team. Born in Connecticut but raised on the Central Coast of California, William Johnston-Carter graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Film Production and a BS in Physics. While at Chapman he was a member of the selective Filmmaker-in-Residence mentor program with Academy Award winning producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist). After college, William interned for the documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner (Food Inc., War Letters, Two Days in October) before spending two years with AmeriCorps where he served as Media Production Coordinator for the nonprofit organization Impact America. In 2017, he southbound through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, 2,189 miles from Maine to Georgia, and took way too many photos to prove it.

Noelle Lindsay Stewart

Entertainment Media Manager, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for media outreach and communications strategy for Define American. In addition to working in the U.S. House of Representatives, Noelle has held positions at top lifestyle & entertainment companies like BET Networks, Inc. and Baltz & Company. She now couples her political experience with her knowledge of the media landscape to provide energized and engaging media strategies and inspire people to ask thoughtful questions. Noelle is also the co-founder of Women II Watch, a quarterly event series and social platform that unities rising female leaders across various industries.

Jacky Goh

Development Director, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for leading Define American’s capital growth strategy. Prior to Define American, Jacky served as the Director of Individual Giving at the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco. She was formerly the Director of Development for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation where she raised funds to support comprehensive community development and anti-displacement efforts in South Los Angeles. As Grants Manager at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, she helped to lift working conditions for the nation’s 5 million restaurant workers. Jacky holds a firm commitment to upholding a social justice framework in all of her endeavors.

Julián Gustavo Gómez

Campus Engagement Manager, Boston, MA

Responsible for the management of Define American Chapters. Gómez holds a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from American University and comes to Define American from Fission Strategy, where he was a Digital Strategy Fellow and managed the organization’s email strategy. His previous experience includes working on political ads during the 2014 midterm election at MeanGreen Media in Washington, D.C. and curating social media for The Harry Potter Alliance, an innovative fan-activist nonprofit. He has also worked as a freelance videographer and editor on many projects including the Student Emmy-winning film “Chesapeake Villages.”  Having moved to Miami, FL from Argentina at a young age, Julián is a proud advocate for immigrant and minority rights and a former DACA recipient.

Valeria Rodriguez

National Campus Coordinator, Lincoln, Nebraska

Responsible for coordinating Define American Chapters. Valeria holds a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was the founder of the Define American Chapter @ UNL, which was named 2016 Chapter of the Year. During her time at UNL, Valeria established the Dr. Juan Franco Legacy Scholarship to help undocumented and DACAmented students. She interned with Nebraska Appleseed for four years, serving as the Women Empowered to Lead program coordinator and field organizer for the Immigrants and Communities program.

Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Define American Chapters Summit

Special thank you to our additional sponsors