-- 2007 Graduate is Youngest Fellow of the
2017 Award Recipients to Receive this $625,000 Prize --
October 11, 2017 (Queens, NY) – Queens College alumna Cristina Jiménez Moreta, ’07, B.A. Political Science, is a 2017 MacArthur Fellow for her work to change public perceptions of immigrant youth and for playing a critical role in shaping the debate around immigration policy, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today. The honor comes with an award of $625,000 that will be distributed over five years. Moreta, 33, is the youngest of this year’s 24 award recipients. Coincidentally, the award was announced on the 80th Anniversary of the first day of classes at Queens College in 1937.
“This is a wonderful day for Cristina, and everyone at Queens College is beaming with pride,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We are not surprised that she has received this honor, she has been a game changer since her days on campus when she cofounded the New York State Youth Leadership Council. Cristina is an inspiration to all students at Queens College, that no matter where you come from or what your upbringing, if you work hard and invest in your education, you can change the world.”
Moreta was recognized for her work at United We Dream (UWD), an immigrant youth-led organization she co-founded. UWD is a nonpartisan network comprised of more than 100,000 immigrant youth and allies who organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. Under Cristina’s leadership as Executive Director, United We Dream has supported and trained tens of thousands of immigrant youth leaders to find and express their voice and has inspired millions. The organization provides scholarships to highly qualified Dreamers so that they are able to continue their higher education, a cause near to Moreta who arrived in New York from Ecuador at age 13, and completed her education at Queens College, cum laude, as an undocumented student.
While receiving the Queens College political science department’s Distinguished Service Award on campus this spring, Moreta remarked, “I would have never thought that the knowledge, encouragement, and mentorship I received from the faculty and the experiences that I had here at Queens College were shaping me to have an impact on immigration policy that will go down in history books. It is here that I really found my voice and grew as a student, as a thinker, as an organizer, and as a community leader.”
After graduating from Queens College, Moreta received an M.P.A from Baruch College of the City University of New York. She served as an immigration policy analyst at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and was a cofounder and member of the founding board of directors of UWD in 2008. She served as chair of the board from 2009-2011 when she was named UWD’s first executive director.
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