Mark originally became interested in the DU Just Wages project while taking a course on Illicit Markets during his second year of his undergraduate program at the Josef Korbel School which touched on issues faced by migrant populations living in the U.S. The director of local Denver non-profit organization, El Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores, came to speak to his class about the injustices that migrant and day laborers face on a regular basis.
To learn that a vast majority of day laborers living in his own community had been victims of wage theft was eye-opening, and influenced Mark to want to use his own privilege to try and help in any way possible.
Through subsequent work at El Centro, and by conducting data analysis and interviews with day laborers, Mark gained new academic and professional skills in research, collaborative teamwork, and community and non-profit work. He also developed relationships with diverse members of Denver’s migrant community ,and had the immense opportunity to listen to their stories. He learned that many of these individuals had been victim to wage theft, workplace injury and abuse, and overall lack of access to food, basic health services, and shelter.
After a year working in Latin America, Mark has continued his work in migration research through an internship at the International Organization for Migration headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he utilizes many of the analytical, and applied research methods he used on the Just Wages project in support of publications at IOM’s Migration Policy Research Division.