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The Team

Who We Are


Yadi Ortiz

Yadira Ortiz

Executive Director

For over a decade, Yadira has collaborated with students, families, staff and faculty in the educational system to advocate for procedural and institutional change. She has continuously been an advocate for students and works to ensure that students are empowered, engaged and encouraged. Yadira has also mentored students, student organizations and their allies in becoming agents of change for themselves and others.


Witnessing the lack of assistance for undocumented students in higher education has pushed Yadira to research, create and establish resources, programming, emergency grants and trainings in the CSU and other educational systems. She has created workshops and presentations regarding the following topics: higher education, the needs of undocumented students, ally trainings, how to establish resource centers, the importance of networking and more. Yadira was fundamental in founding the Dream Success Center at California State University, San Bernardino and was recently the Assistant Director for Long Beach State’s Dream Success Center.


Yadira has years of experience in community outreach, advising, and presenting at local and national conferences. She has also been a vocal representative during round table conversations with local consulates, immigration lawyers and counselors to discuss the needs of the community.

Maria Navarro

PEEP Project Manager

Maria Navarro Nuñez holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Disease Biology and Public Health from the University of California, Davis. Maria grew up in California's San Joaquin Central Valley and is passionate about promoting equity and inclusion in healthcare and education, particularly for immigrant communities. Her professional experience includes work in both academic and clinical areas. She began her career as a Marketing and Outreach Specialist at San Joaquin Delta College, where she established programs to support undocumented students and played a key role in establishing the Dreamers Success Center.


Maria later shifted her focus to clinical research and worked on several clinical studies funded by federal organizations such as the NIH and various academic grants. Additionally, she served as a clinical research coordinator at UCSF Mission Bay's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she worked with the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Before joining PRHE, she also worked in Maternal-Fetal clinical research at Stanford University. Maria aspires to pursue a doctorate in public health with a focus on epidemiology and health policy, where she aims to raise awareness of the lived experiences of immigrant communities and promote equity in healthcare and education. She is enthusiastic about continuing her work towards improving population health in immigrant communities, focusing on advancing maternal and reproductive health and health policy.


Rocio Muñante Navarro

Program Coordinator

Rocio Muñante Navarro recently joined Pre-Health Dreamers to pursue her passion for immigration justice and advocating for access to medical services to historically underserved communities. She has worked with various organizations centered around equity and diversity-focused in bringing resources to low-income, POC, and underserved communities. She immigrated from Perú at the age of four and was raised in the South Bay of Southern California. She began her undergraduate education at El Camino Community College and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of California, Riverside.

She has researched COVID-19’s impact on migrant farming communities, which has been utilized to advise municipalities on public health education and decreasing vaccine hesitancy within Latinx communities. During the height of the pandemic, she contributed to bringing several testing sites, vaccination clinics, free clinics, and food distributions to some of the most vulnerable communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley. 

Her passion for pursuing medicine comes from the inequalities she faced growing up undocumented and uninsured. She aspires to become a Physician to provide culturally competent healthcare and advocate for equitable access to healthcare. She hopes to use her background and lived experiences as an undocumented individual to be a mentor for the next generations of undocumented aspiring healthcare professionals. 


Flavia Negrete, MS

PEEP Coordinator

Flavia Negrete just finished her graduate program and received her Master's of Science in Bioinformatics from the University of Maryland. Previously she graduated with a double B.S. degree in (1) Biochemistry and (2) Cell Physiology & Neurobiology. Throughout her work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Flavia focused on engineering the first multi-faceted comparative genomic tool for high sequencing analysis for Cronbacter spp, a gram-negative bacteria affiliated with meningitis cases in neonates and the elderly.

Flavia is very passionate about medical research and hopes that her background can help develop and propel projects where students from all immigration backgrounds can share their research.

As Flavia continues to progress in her educational journey, she will be using her background in community outreach to lead the PEEP Cohort for this upcoming year. She plans to use various platforms to strengthen the PHD community through connection and fruitful networking.


Research Fellow

Nashelit Ochoa

Research Fellow

Nashelit Ochoa is an Ecuadorian immigrant and first generation student that grew up in Pennsylvania. She is currently completing her Biology major and Psychology and Health Humanities minors at Chestnut Hill College.

She aims to become a dentist that serves and advocates for the undocumented communtiy, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ community, and other disadvantaged groups. Her interest in health stemmed from her family’s limited access to care and the commonality of this narrative among the undocumented, Latinx, and overall immigrant communities. In the future, she hopes to advocate for practices that increase healthcare access as well as to employ her dental clinical skills to provide care as a traveling dentist. 

She is excited to take on her role as PHD’s first research fellow and aims to study health disparities among 1.5 generation DACA and non-DACA undocumented immigrants as well as first generation undocumented immigrants. Her study will also attempt to identify preventative care programs that could alleviate these present disparities. 

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