Jose Antonio Vargas

Tuesday, March 12, 9:20–11:20 a.m.
Ferrara Theatre, America Center
Core Competencies: Intercultural Proficiency, Leadership, Communication, Student Learning

Jose Antonio Vargas, a multimedia storyteller, is the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration.

An award-winning journalist, he was a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. Prior to that, Vargas covered tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS in the nation's capital, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Virginia Tech massacre. In 2007, Politico named Vargas one of 50 Politicos to Watch. His 2006 series on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., inspired a feature-length documentary—The Other City—which he co-produced and wrote. It premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime. In 2010, Vargas wrote an exclusive profile of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A few months later, he wrote a groundbreaking essay that chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant.

In a June 2011 essay in The New York Times Magazine, Vargas wrote he is an "undocumented immigrant." He states he revealed his status to promote dialogue about what he feels is a broken immigration system in the United States and to advocate for the DREAM Act, which would help children in similar circumstances have a path to citizenship available to them. A year later, Vargas wrote a cover story for TIME about his continued uncertainty regarding his status since this revelation. Shortly afterward, the Obama administration announced its halt to the deportation of young undocumented immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act, which, although he would not qualify due to his age, Vargas hailed as "a victory for DREAMers."

Vargas's story is personal and relatable, as well as very current in today’s society. More and more students are finding their passion and their voice through social justice, and by hearing this story, members can relate to the students on our campuses and discover new perspectives.

Updated Jan. 9, 2013