UNM Alumna and Education Advocate Called to Washington, D.C. for Presidential Post: UNM Newsroom


Cindy Nava is the first former DACA recipient to receive a presidential nomination at the White House

Cindy Nava is heading to Washington, DC, where she will become the first former DACA recipient in the United States to receive a presidential nomination for the White House. Nava, a University of New Mexico alumnus, will serve as senior policy adviser to US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve my country in this capacity, Nava said. “HUD is an agency responsible for creating and implementing policies that directly impact the communities I represent and have been fundamental to my success.”

“Representation matters. As a low-income, first-generation immigrant student, I deeply understand the concept of access and sharing of information can be the key to success. Cindy Nava, UNM graduate

Nava is currently the Executive Director of Transform Education New Mexico (TENM) and will leave this position in July. TENM is a community coalition created to help align New Mexico’s education system with the landmark court ruling in the Martinez-Yazzie Consolidated Trial. The decision was aimed at ensuring the sufficiency of education for four groups of students – English language learners, Native American students, low-income students and students with disabilities.

“This nomination is bittersweet because of the progress Transform Education NM has made in achieving equity for all New Mexico public school students. As an English learner myself and a former undocumented immigrant, I was able to deeply identify and see myself in the students we served,” Nava said.

Nava is a former DACA recipient and naturalized as a U.S. citizen on February 6, 2021.

During her undergraduate studies, the Lobo alum served as a fellow at El Centro de La Raza and the Community Engagement Center. She said her time at UNM helped shape her professional career.

“UNM laid a solid foundation that allowed me to grow, while challenging systems that had yet to have an undocumented student like me playing the roles in which I had the opportunity to serve. “, Nava said.

Nava has long been a champion of immigrant rights, from her student days to serving on boards and serving organizations such as El Centro de La Raza, Youth Development Incorporated, ENLACE NM, the National American Mexican Association. Her professional passion has been advocating for public policies that expand access and opportunity to serve marginalized communities. She said she wanted all Lobos, current and future, to remember one thing.

“Representation matters. Their unique experiences matter, and UNM is a place where they can create and foster their goals and dreams. I would say get involved, get involved, do as many internships and scholarships as you can, develop relationships with your teachers and with school centers and programs,” she said. “Help others along the way. As a low-income, first-generation immigrant student, I deeply understand the concept of access and sharing of information can be the key to success.


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