PO Box 3023
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Gabriela Quintanilla was born in El Salvador, and migrated to the U.S. when she was 13 years old. When she arrived to this country she was faced with the harsh reality of being undocumented. Gabriela experienced many challenges during high school and early college years, luckily she had a great support system that helped her achieve her dreams. She is now a permanent U.S. resident and holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology with a Minor in Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook. Throughout her time at Stony Brook, she became involved as a social justice activist and community organizer. During her last year at Stony Brook she realized that she had to do more to help the undocumented student population and that is when ADELANTE was born. Her hope is that Adelante can help undocumented students in rural areas of NY navigate the government systems in order to achieve their goals and build a network of ongoing support amongst the students, allies and staff. Gabriela has helped mobilize rallies in her community, and designed workshops to amplify the voices of undocumented students and farmworkers. She has been featured in two award-winning documentaries: Paper State: Undocumented Unafraid Undeterred, which won best student documentary at Cannes Festival 2013 and Dreamers Among Us. Most recently, she has joined Rural & Migrant Ministry staff as the Coordinator for Western NY. She feels privileged to work alongside with passionate students and youth across the state. She enjoys traveling, exercising, eating healthy and sleeping! She values honesty, transparency, and positivity.
Raised in the Hudson Valley, Susie grew up watching her parents navigate a new language in order to provide a better life for their family. She earned her MFA in Fine Art at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, and eventually moved back to New York to raise her daughter. Susie worked in retail for 10 years before feeling the urgent call to found Latinx in 2017, her organization to strengthen the Latinx community through art and community. Susie hopes to combat the stigma behind being undocumented while bridging the gap between the Latinx community and the places they live.
Alicia emigrated with her family from Trinidad to the United States when she was 7 years-old. Since then she’s lived in New York City and is a proud Bronxite. She graduated from Vassar College in 2018, having majored in Biology and minored in Victorian Studies. Throughout her four years at Vassar, Alicia was involved in the Transitions program for students identifying as first-generation, low-income, and/or undocumented. She has also been the head mentor of Vassar’s Questbridge Chapter and a member of the Caribbean Students Alliance. Alicia began working with Adelante during her senior year of college. She is very passionate about working with students from immigrant backgrounds and creating more opportunities for them to succeed. Her primary role on the planning committee involves allocating resources to support undocumented students as they navigate higher education and personal development.
Vanessa Phillps was born in the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. She then migrated to the U.S from Jamaica at age of 12. She was also faced with the reality of being undocumented and then became a part of the Adelante Student Voices Program which aided her with the necessary resources and networking with others that have made her more established in her new home territory. Over the years, she has committed herself to share the knowledge that she has gained to impart in the lives of others so they too can impact their communities in a positive way.
Mayer Torres. is a senior at Ossining High School. When she was 10 years old, she emigrated from Ecuador to the US for better opportunities and to reunite with her mother in the United States. She joined Adelante Student Voices in 2019. During her time in Adelante Student Voices learned many things about the college process. She has felt a deeper push to help other students that are in the same situation as her. Since a young age she has faced many difficult situations and as an undocumented woman that gives her the courage to advocate for women and fellow immigrants. After high school, Mayer plans on studying Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
Katia is an Admissions and Financial Aid Counselor at Finger Lakes Community College. Prior, she worked as the Education Coordinator at Rural & Migrant Ministry where she counseled members of the three youth empowerment programs on career and college planning. Katia helps on the planning committee of Adelante by helping contact potential funders, and by offering college prep assistance during the sessions and as a network mentor. She also works with partner colleges and institutional systems to assess best practices to ensure equity and inclusion for all applicants and students.