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ISU Student Wins ACLU Award For Work Supporting Undocumented Students

Courtesy of David Paco Peña Medina
David Paco Peña Medina at a LULAC event in Washington D.C. in February, 2020.

Growing up in Iowa, David Paco Peña Medina knew he had a different lived experience from many of his classmates.

His family moved to the U.S. from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico when he was three years old and he often found himself struggling with the stigma of being undocumented.

It was these experiences that lead him to create Los Busca Metas, or The Goal Seekers, a safe community for other Dreamers, undocumented students and asylum seekers at his Des Moines high school. Peña Medina is now a first year student at Iowa State University where he created and leads ISU Dreamers, a new student organization aimed at supporting and creating space for Dreamers and other undocumented students.

Last month, Peña Medina was named the 2020 winner of the Robert Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award from the ACLU of Iowa, honoring his work in founding both groups. He joins host Charity Nebbe on this episode of Talk of Iowa.


  • David Paco Peña Medina, founder of Los Busca Metas and ISU Dreamers
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
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