Featuring FWD.us Colorado State Immigration Director Marissa Molina in conversation with Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Executive Director Domenika Lynch. As a child, Molina migrated from Mexico and settled with her family in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. She made a path for herself through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, allowing her to graduate from college summa cum laude and join Teach for America. In 2015, Molina was named a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama’s administration, and she was later appointed to Metropolitan State University of Denver’s board of trustees by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, becoming the first DACA recipient to serve on a state board. Molina will explain how her culture and upbringing shaped her character and career path, and how she’s using her experience to improve conditions for her community and support women like her.
Marissa Molina is the Colorado State Immigration Director with FWD.us, where she leads FWD’s legislative advocacy efforts on immigration policy at the state and federal level. Marissa has been a leader in protecting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and has worked to recruit, train, and empower other directly impacted individuals to advocate for immigration reform before Congress. Prior to joining FWD.us, Marissa worked as an educator where she worked to increase access to educational opportunities for immigrant youth and their families. In July of 2015, Marissa was one of nine educators with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to be honored by the White House as a Champion of Change. She was appointed to the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Board of Trustees in 2019, becoming the first Dreamer to serve on a state board.
Domenika Lynch is the Executive Director of Aspen Institute the Latinos and Society (AILAS). The Program focuses on shared learning across communities of influencers on the critical barriers preventing greater Latino achievement, and a space to identify, promote, and catalyze ideas and solutions that increase opportunities for American Latinos. From July 2016 to May 2019, Lynch served as president and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the preeminent Latino leadership institute founded by Hispanic members of Congress in Washington, DC. Building on CHCI’s 40-year legacy, she led an organizational and financial turn-around, raising more than $20 million to ensure that CHCI will remain a premier national convener for thought leadership. She previously spent more than a decade as executive director of the Latino Alumni Association (LAA) at the University of Southern California. During her tenure, LAA doubled its membership and tripled its endowment. Her professional breadth extends into the corporate sector, with previous leadership positions at Bank of America and Univision. Lynch currently serves on the Board of Directors of Casa 0101 Theater and the Congressional Management Foundation. A graduate of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Lynch holds a master’s degree from the USC Rossier School of Education.