Immigrant Student Success Center

Immigrant Student Success Center

Illustration  of colorful butterfly on a globe

Supporting the Advancement of  Undocumented and Immigrant Students and Families

The Immigrant Student Success Center is a welcoming and safe space that helps our students develop emotional wellbeing, a sense of community and belonging, and empowerment.

We value and understand the experiences undocumented students bring to the John Jay community and work to help students develop their unique gifts and talents.

A group of diverse John Jay students in front of windowMISSION Empower undocumented, DACA, TPS, and immigrant students at John Jay to succeed, graduate, and thrive.

VISION Create spaces for activism, support, and public discourse surrounding immigrant right issues.

CHALLENGE Develop innovative and holistic ways to support our undocumented student body through economic, social, and academic resources.


  • The immigrant experience is intersectional and multifaceted; impacting students’ academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • We support all students, families, and communities impacted by our immigration system—this include mixed-status families and students shifting their status.
  • We are informed by student feedback, change can and will be measured in varied and creative ways.
  • We take action through resources, programming and in response to student experience.
  • We work in solidarity with other centers and student groups.
  • We center directly impacted, marginalized students and decenter power and privilege among staff and students.


The Center offers a range of services to empower students to succeed  inside and outside of the classroom:

  • Information: We share and provide information through our newsletter, social media, and training sessions for staff, students and faculty.
  • Mentoring: We work to connect students with each other to create community, support, and trust.
  • Resources: We refer students to educational, financial, and legal services on and off campus.
    • Legal screenings
    • Academic workshops
    • Financial support
    • Housing information
    • Mental Health services
  • Advocacy: We increase awareness of immigrant student issues on campus by mediating conversations and advocating for student resources on campus.


We are committed to partnering up with community organizations, high schools, and universities to create access and increase retention for undocumented students in higher education.

Illustration of butterflies around the words "No Human Being is Illegal"

Cynthia CarvajelCynthia Nayeli Carvajal serves as the Immigrant Student Success manager at John Jay College. She is dedicated to supporting student growth and success for undocumented and immigrant students. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, she immigrated to the East Los Angeles, CA when she was 5 years old. For the next 14 years of her life she remained in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. Upon receiving permanent residency she went on to attend UCLA and continued her education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently overseeing educational services, programs, and logistics for the inaugural center and working towards her PhD from the University of Arizona. Cynthia hopes to create educational services, networks of support, and action oriented steps to advocate for undocumented and immigrant students in John Jay College and the greater New York City area.