Anaya-Sandoval is originally from San Salvador, El Salvador, and immigrated to the U.S. with her mother at the age of five before settling in Silver Spring, Md. As an undocumented student, she holds a deep passion for immigrant rights.
“Growing up, I did not see many people who looked like me and had similar experiences as me holding a position in a legislative office. I wanted to make a change and be a voice for my community,” Anaya-Sandoval explained. “I knew that to tackle that would be to change the policies and laws in place obstructing the lives of millions of immigrants in the country.”
As a high school junior, Anaya-Sandoval earned a summer internship in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman Jamie Raskin, becoming one of the few high school students to earn a spot in the Maryland Democrat’s congressional office. Her internship extended to a year-long experience working in Rep. Raskin’s office where she tackled various issues affecting Maryland’s 8th District which includes parts of Potomac — including health care, veterans affairs, infrastructure and immigration.
Ultimately, Anaya-Sandoval found her calling in the frontlines of the migrant rights movement as an organizer. Following her internship, she volunteered with the nonprofit United We Dream, the largest youth-led network fighting for equity and immigrant rights. She not only participated in protests and community gatherings on behalf of immigrant rights, but also began to lead these civic engagements in her local community.
In the fall of 2020, as she began her first year at Marymount, Anaya-Sandoval balanced her studies in Politics and Sociology alongside her volunteerism. She pitched in on a phone and text banking campaign encouraging millions of Latinx voters with mixed-status families around the country to exercise their right to vote. The organization collectively contacted more than two million voters in the span of four to six months.
“I cannot vote, but by encouraging millions of others, we were able to elect candidates amongst different levels of government who would deliver on comprehensive reform to provide migrants with rights,” Anaya-Sandoval said.
This past summer, Anaya-Sandoval was selected as a Dream Summer Fellow, an annual national fellowship of the UCLA Labor Center’s Dream Resource Center. As part of the fellowship, she worked with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a nonprofit focused on reform by providing resources to a network of university leaders and higher education institutions. Marymount is a proud partner of the organization, represented by University President Irma Becerra.
“Andrea’s experience as an undocumented student has inspired her to uplift and educate undocumented students who still have not found their voice,” Dr. Becerra said. “She believes that social change is a multi-generational movement. By educating youth and encouraging others to stand for what they believe in, we expand a more extensive network of people ready to bring solutions that we want to see in our communities.”
Through the Newman Civic Fellowship, Campus Compact provides these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Each year, Fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities that provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The Fellowship also provides Fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
Anaya-Sandoval's ultimate goal is to create a program in high schools to educate counselors and career service centers on how to best guide undocumented students to higher education.
"I want to see more kids like me strive and expand the small percentage of undocumented students that reach a four-year education."