Convocation tells the story of how an undocumented immigrant from Mexico became a star at Goldman Sachs

September 30, 2016

Acclaimed author, immigrant rights advocate, and former Wall Street executive Julissa Arce will present the Carleton convocation on Friday, Oct. 7 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. A Mexican immigrant who went from selling funnel cakes in Texas to derivatives at Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm, Arce will provide her first-hand perspective on immigration in America from an educational and business perspective. 

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing at

Julissa Arce is an emerging and leading voice in the fight for immigrant rights and education equality. She is the chairman and co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF), a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students in New York City, regardless of their ethnicity, national original or immigration status.  

Arce made national and international headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the “American Dream” of wealth and status at Goldman Sachs while as an undocumented immigrant. Her inspirational story is told in her new best-selling book, “My (Underground) American Dream:  My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive (Center Street, 2016). The book explores the polarizing question: for an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American dream?

In the heady days of the most astronomical stock-market rise in Wall Street history, Arce climbed the corporate ladder—a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties. In 2005, against all odds, she landed one of the most coveted jobs as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of the next six years, even while the financial markets crashed, she continued to climb the corporate ladder—riding a series of promotions to become a Vice President, complete with a high six-figure salary and all of the perks that come with living the Goldman Sachs life. What none of her colleagues knew was that she wasn't just a young woman who broke through ceilings in a cutthroat male-dominated field: she was also an undocumented American from Mexico. 

“My (Underground) American Dream” challenges perceptions of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant. Arce now uses her success and platform to help shift the conversation around immigration and other social justice issues. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Al Jazeera America, Telemundo, Bloomberg TV and Univision. Her writing has been published on Huffington Post, Fusion, CNN en Español, The Hill, and Univision.  She serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center and CollegeSpring. 

Arce was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014 and will vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016. More at

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Convocations Committee. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First and College Streets in Northfield.