Arce to Discuss Life as Undocumented Immigrant

Published on September 14, 2017

Political commentator, author and former Goldman Sachs Vice President Julissa Arce garnered international media attention last year when she revealed that she had achieved her status and wealth as an undocumented immigrant.

Arce will share her story in a lecture titled “An American DREAMer: From Undocumented to Wall Street to Immigration Advocacy” on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Eastern Kentucky University.

Free and open to the public, the lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. Arce’s talk, part of the 2017-18 Chautauqua Lecture Series, serves as the keynote address for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Arce’s story became well known after the publication of her best-selling book “My (Underground) American Dream.” In it, she relates the story of her humble beginnings as an illegal immigrant who had traveled to the United States on a travel visa at the age of 11, and opted to stay in hopes of achieving a better life.

In 2005, Arce defied odds by landing a highly coveted position as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. In the following years, she climbed the corporate ladder, eventually becoming vice president and earning a six-figure salary.

Arce has used to her success to challenge American perceptions of illegal immigrants and the American dream. She has spoken at TEDx and the Forbes Reinventing America Summit, and has been featured on several major news outlets. In 2013, she co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship program for immigrant students in New York City. She became an American citizen in 2014.

The Arce lecture is sponsored by EKU Honors; the Office of Diversity; the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work; and the Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities.

For more information about the Chautauqua lecture series, visit www.chautauqua.eku.eduor contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Erik Liddell at