As Americas Program Officer for the IDC, Vanessa is responsible for strengthening the coalition and network management among members and partners in the region, and facilitating inter-organizational collaboration on the development, coordination and implementation of national strategies to promote alternatives to immigration detention.
Vanessa has spent the last six years working with migrant communities in her native Nebraska, U.S.A. and also in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
Much of her experience has focused on promoting and facilitating mutual respect and collaboration among multi-stakeholder groups that include both immigrant and native-born community members, and government and civil society actors.
She has worked on initiatives to increase civic engagement among immigrants, has contributed to development strategies for immigrant communities with scarce resources, and has conducted research on restrictive immigration laws and cooperation between local police and immigration officials.
Vanessa specialized in international migration and community development while obtaining Master’s degrees in Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning from The University of Texas at Austin.