Gloria Itzel Montiel is an instructor in the Allies of Dreamers Certificate program in the School of Educational Studies. An alumna of Claremont Graduate University, she was among the first DACA recipients to obtain a PhD in the United States. Combining her lived experience as an undocumented student who successfully navigated the higher education system with her research and professional experience in working with immigrant families in the community setting, she structures her courses to scaffold opportunities for students to develop and implement concrete strategies to support undocumented students and mixed status families in the PK-20 pipeline.
As an experienced health equity and educational program design leader, Montiel has acquired more than $18 million in grants and contracts to implement high-impact programming and community based participatory research in the areas of education, health, and community engagement. Montiel is the founding director of community engaged research at the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity, where she is responsible for designing innovative programs and research to address the social determinants of health through community-led policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. She also serves as the consulting director of strategy & sustainability at Latino Health Access (LHA), a community-based organization focused on building health equity for working-class Latinx communities in Orange County, California. Most notably in her work with LHA, she led the development of the scope of work for Orange County’s initial $3 million investment for the COVID-19 health equity response at the zip code level in 2020.
Montiel has presented her academic and community work at annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals, and the American Public Health Association. Her journey as an undocumented student was captured in the 2011 documentary Almost American, an official selection of the Newport Film Festival. She has since shared her story on English- and Spanish-speaking local and national news networks and continues to be an advocate for undocumented youth.
Co-authored with E. L. Bedolla and A. C. R. Chen. “Undocumented Pre-Health Students: Community Initiatives Toward Addressing Pipeline Gaps for Postgraduate and Professional Advancement.” Handbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education, (2020): 2185-201.
“Navigating the Ivy League: Funds of knowledge and social capital of undocumented Ivy League students.” Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy 28, (2016): 64.
“‘Hacerle la Lucha’: Examining the Value of Hard Work as a Source of Funds of Knowledge of Undocumented, Mexican Ivy League Students.” In Funds of Knowledge in Higher Education, 125-42. Routledge, 2017.
“Contexts that facilitate academic success and college pathways for undocumented students: lessons from early academic experiences of high-achieving, undocumented Latino students attending highly-selective private colleges.” In High-Achieving Latino Students: Successful Pathways Toward College and Beyond, 141-57. Information Age Publishing, Inc, 2020.
Co-authored with J. I. Valenzuela, et al. “Undocumented students at the community college: Creating institutional capacity.” New Directions for Community Colleges 172, (2015): 87-96.