Meet the Team

Meet the Team


Denise I Vivar, Immigrant Student Success Center Specialist

Denise I Vivar has devoted her career to serving the immigrant community in New York. She strongly believes in building supportive networks and advocating for immigrant rights that will establish a life of dignity and respect. Throughout her career, Denise has fought to ensure vulnerable populations of the community are protected and have access to the resources they need. During her undergraduate career, she was an active member and later President of the Lehman Dream Team, a student group that supported and advocated for undocumented students. Through her work at the Lehman Dream Team, she collaborated and was a Core Member of the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first undocumented youth-led organization in New York State with the mission to empower and provide professional development for immigrant youth. Denise has made it her mission to create spaces that support the immigrant community. As an immigrant herself, she empathizes with and understands the needs of this population. Denise migrated to New York when she was seven years old and remained undocumented until qualifying for a U-Visa, and then becoming a permanent resident five years later. She was the Special Assistant to the New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, liaising between internal communications and community affairs. She is pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Policy Analysis and Evaluation from Baruch College Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from Lehman College.

Ingrid Siguencia, Immigrant Student Success Center, Social Media Fellow

Ingrid Siguencia  is a senior at John Jay College, currently in the pre-law track, hoping to become an immigration lawyer. During her academic career, she has been involved in programs such as Adelante Latinx Leadership and was a first-year student showcase presenter. Ingrid interned at the Immigrant Student Success Center in the summer of 2020 as part of CUNY's Recovery Corps and was offered the Social Media Fellowship at the Immigrant Student Success Center at the end of her internship.  

Ingrid is a strong advocate of the immigrant community and hopes to help others throughout her career.  She comes from a mixed-status family and wants to help others whose families have experienced similar circumstances, and build a community of powerful legal advocates.

Maimouna Diop, Peer Advocate Program Coordinator

Maimouna Diop is a first generation college graduate. She recently recieved her Bachelors of Arts Degree from CUNY Brooklyn College, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. She plans on enrolling in grad school to persue a Doctorate Degree in Sociology. She also plans on creating short films that capture the struggles of intersectionality.  Maimouna knows the importance of peer advocacy and mentorship because, accoding to her own words, "wihout the mentors I had growing up I would not have recieved my Bachelor's Degree today." She is excited to be working with John Jay's Immigrant Student Success Center and provide support to High School student around NYC


Lia Guzma, Fellowship Coordinator

Lia Guzman is a senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice majoring in Law & Society with a minor in Political Science. Lia was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and moved to the US at the age of 13. During her academic journey, she has been involved in policy and advocacy by working with organizations centering the voices of marginalized communities. Through this work, she has worked on issues like student hunger, civic engagement, mental health, and higher education. Lia believes that mobilizing is the best way to create change, as well as uplift and empower communities.

Elda M. Chavarria, Administrative Program Assistant

Elda Chavarria is a first-generation college student. She is currently a sophomore at John Jay College majoring in Forensic Science with a minor in Art. She is involved with the Adelante! Latinx Leadership Program and part of John Jay Women’s Cross-Country Team. Before working for the ImSSC, Elda started by attending several events held by the ImSSC and meeting with Denise Vivar who later on offered her the position of administrative assistant. 

Elda hopes to one day work in the forensic science and STEM fields while representing her community and culture. She moved to the U.S. when she was 14 from Honduras. She understands the challenges and struggles that come with being a newly arrived immigrant student, which motivates her to serve and help other immigrant students.