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California native reflects on experiences, personal growth gained at ASU


Holly Latorre

Holly Latorre will graduate with her bachelor's degree from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics this month.

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December 06, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

Just weeks from graduation, human and family development major Holly Latorre is still enamored by all things Arizona State University.

“Every day I pinch myself because I can't believe I’m at this school,” said Latorre, who will graduate from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in December. 

As a California native, Latorre grew up near the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University without much exposure to out-of-state schools. But as high school came to a close, she said she began exploring what options existed outside the Bay Area and decided to pay a visit to ASU.

“I toured ASU during spring break of my senior year and I instantly fell in love with the campus. I felt in that moment that this was the school I needed to go to,” she said.

That feeling has held true for the last four years. From bonding with friends at football games to learning communication skills that helped her overcome her shyness, Latorre said she gained experiences from The College and ASU that will benefit her for life. 

“I feel like I wouldn’t have become the person I am now if I didn't come to ASU,” she said. “If I had stayed in California, I wouldn't have had the experiences I had or grown as a person.”

Latorre shared more about her experience at ASU and her plans for the future. 

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? 

Answer: Originally, I was a biological sciences major and I wanted to pursue nursing. Then after my sophomore year, I just lost the drive for it and I met with my advisor and she said, “Well, I know you still want to work with children, have you considered family, family, and human development?” I looked more into it and I talked to my roommate who is actually that major and I fell in love with the classes that they offered, so I decided to switch. Within my first semester, I knew it was the right fit for me. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I learned that the university is there for you, no matter what. There are tons of resources to help you no matter what — it could be tutoring, it could be if you need counseling services, it could be helping you find a job. I was surprised at how many resources there were for students, and that really stood out for me. Instead of just being one student of thousands at the university, they really make it a point to go one-on-one and help you as a person. 

Q: What has been your best memory at ASU?

A: Probably going to the football games with some of my best friends. We saw times of upsets and losses, but the football games were probably some of my favorite memories that I made at ASU. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: My family ethnic and cultural diversity professor, Professor Jose Causadias. He kind of took the class direction a different route than what it was intended and each class period he related cultural diversity to current events that were happening in the world, so we had a more modern approach to it. He showed that the world is what it is and taught us to love everybody, and how to be accepting of all cultures no matter the differences. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Meet new people, sit next to new people, try new things, really put yourself out there because the four years are going to go by before you know it and you don't want to have any regrets about what you should have done. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am going to start looking for jobs; I want to take a gap year from school. I'm looking into a child life specialist or a preschool teacher position, or other jobs where I can use my child development degree and not lose experience. And then in a year or so, I want to apply back to ASU for my master's in speech therapy. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Climate change. So many people assume it's not real, but I took a class from ASU called Global Change and it showed all the evidence about how it's real, why it’s real and what we can do to fix it. I just want to bring awareness to the fact that there are small things we can do individually to help it. And not just by refusing straws, there other ways you can do it.

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