March 24: Immigrant Mountaineers Movement Conference

Immigrant Mountaineers Movement Conference
Friday, March 24, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences
This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required by March 21.

BOONE, N.C. — The first Immigrant Mountaineers Movement Conference will be held on Friday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the first and second floors of Appalachian State University's Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. The event is free and open to the public. To register, submit the IMM Spring Conference Registration Form by March 21.

The conference is sponsored by a Chancellor's Innovation Grant and organized by the Immigrant Mountaineers Movement (IMM), an advocacy and activist group formed by App State faculty, staff and students. The group was founded by members of App Unidos, App State's Hispanic/Latinx faculty and staff association.

IMM's mission is to champion the introduction and expansion of knowledge of immigration-related issues at App State through a three-pronged approach: developing awareness, skillbuilding and action planning. According to IMM, as the university continues to experience growth in diverse populations, immigration policies reveal themselves as current or potential barriers for prospective Mountaineers, enrolled students and colleagues.

Conference attendees are invited to discuss immigration issues, hear from immigrant-affected people, and envision a more equitable environment for immigrants in the High Country and across North Carolina.

The conference is organized by current IMM team members:

  • Dr. Felicia Arriaga, assistant professor in the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College

  • Dr. Aniseh Bro, assistant professor in the Department of Sustainable Development

  • Sarah Donovan, senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work

  • Dr. María Conchita Hernández '22, president of VECINA Appalachia, Inc. 

  • Dr. Juhee Woo, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology

Additionally, IMM student representatives and College of Arts and Sciences Corps members Malikia Cherubala, a senior community and regional planning major from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Meredith Sánchez-Sánchez, a senior global studies major from Clayton, helped organize the event.

To kick off the event, Dr. Greg McClure, professor in App State's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Francisco Alcaraz Figueroa, a senior psychology major, will lead a workshop titled "Roots & Routes: Immigrant and Refugee Voices in North Carolina." Arriaga along with Dr. Cameron Lippard, professor and chair of App State's Department of Sociology, and recent graduate Nataly Jimenez '22 will also present their respective research on the criminalization and deportation of immigrants.

Closing out the morning session, organizer, strategist and immigrant Stefania Arteaga will provide the keynote address, titled "Immigrant Rights," on her efforts to push back the tide of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement collaboration. Stefania is the co-founder of the Carolina Migrant Network, a non-profit dedicated to forming an alliance between the legal profession and those who work in the areas of strategizing and organizing against ICE actions in our state. She is consulted nationwide for her immigrant organizing expertise and is featured in a Netflix docuseries Immigration Nation, which documents her and other immigrant resistance efforts throughout the country.

Following a lunch catered by local Mexican restaurant Taqueria La Monarca, researchers from the Camino Research Institute and employees from the Hunger and Health Coalition and High Country Community Health will present their research on the strengths and needs of Western North Carolina's Latino community. At the same time, a team of researchers will lead a discussion on refugee and non-immigrant status designations. Additionally, K-12, community college and university educators will come together to discuss the education-related challenges encountered by immigrant families.

The late afternoon session will open with a presentation about opportunities to support immigrants by the IMM team, App State staff members and representatives from regional and state organizations, including Cristina España, the deputy director for diversity, equity and inclusion for the office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. In addition, Dr. Juan Prandoni, training director at the Triangle-based Latinx mental health nonprofit El Futuro, will lead a workshop titled "Dialectical Behavior Therapy With Latine Families." The final session of the day - "Immigration-Affected Student Perspectives" - will feature App State students affected by immigration sharing their personal experiences navigating the educational system.

The conference will close with a networking happy hour in the Leon Levine Hall Atrium. The full preliminary program and conference schedule are available here.

For attendees without a university parking permit, a conference representative will be stationed at the State Farm Road entrance of the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences between 9:30-10:30 a.m. to provide temporary parking permits for either the Lein Levine parking lot or the State Farm overflow lot. Attendees arriving to the conference before or after this period should notify the conference organizers at to have a permit mailed to them.

Additionally, the Pink, Express, Red and Wellness District AppalCART routes stop at Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. To view the AppalCART route maps and schedules, visit

Questions about the event can be directed to


About the Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars Program
The Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars Program supports innovative research and practice by Appalachian State University faculty and staff throughout all disciplines and program areas on campus. These internal grants are awarded to Appalachian thought leaders who work creatively and entrepreneurially to address challenges; create lasting institutional change; provide community and societal benefits; establish opportunities that increase student engagement with research, creativity, innovation, design thinking and entrepreneurship; and promote broad-based sustainability in the areas of economics, equity and the environment. The program is intended to complement other innovation initiatives at the university. Learn more at

About the Department of Curriculum and Instruction
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers a broad range of comprehensive degree programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels. The department seeks to provide quality programs that emphasize the integration of academics and field experiences. Learn more at

About the Department of Social Work
The Department of Social Work in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The undergraduate social work program prepares students for generalist social work practice, and graduates can be found in social service agencies, hospitals, schools, hospices, criminal justice systems and mental health facilities. The graduate program teaches students advanced clinical skills for their work as social service managers and leaders, or clinicians who provide services to individuals, families and communities. Learn more at

About the Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology offers a Bachelor of Arts and seven Bachelor of Science concentrations (applied research methods; criminology; families and intimate relationships; health and aging; power and social change; social inequalities; and individually designed, which requires departmental approval). The department also offers minors in sociology and health and aging, plus two online graduate certificates: aging, health and society, and sociology. Learn more at

About the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University prepares students to thoughtfully analyze human development while focusing on the applied practice of pursuing transformative, community-driven development and social change. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable development with concentrations in agroecology and sustainable agriculture; community, regional and global development; and environmental studies; as well as a Bachelor of Arts and minor in sustainable development. Learn more at

By Lauren Andersen
March 15, 2023

Immigrant Mountaineers Movement Conference
Published: Mar 15, 2023 2:35pm