California native reflects on experiences, personal growth gained at ASU


December 6, 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. Holly Latorre Holly Latorre will graduate with her bachelor's degree from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics this month. Download Full Image

“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.

Kirsten Kraklio

Content Strategist and Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

480-965-8986

History graduate desires to pursue a career in museums


December 6, 2019

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

As someone who grew up in Arizona, for Mary Zoll-Montoya, making the choice to go to Arizona State University was a no-brainer. Not only was her father a professor at ASU, but her mother was a school teacher as well, which made a path to education inevitable for her.  Mary Zoll-Montoya Photo courtesy of Mary Zoll-Montoya Download Full Image

She has always had a love for art, but one thing she wasn’t expecting to take over while she was at ASU was her love for history as well. She chose to major in history and minor in art history to combine her two passions to create a career path for herself. 

We caught up with Zoll-Montoya to ask her about her time at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? (Might be while you were at ASU or earlier.)

Answer: I have a thirst for knowledge and had a hard time initially settling on one subject. It wasn’t until my junior year at ASU that I really knew history would take precedence over art history. Majoring in history allowed for a wider range of study and a better understanding of the world and the works of art created in it. 

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

A: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed mathematics. I was very intimidated to start, but it turns out that I love to solve equations. That was a real surprise and I wish I had known it sooner.

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: I chose ASU because I have always had such respect for the school. My father had been a professor at ASU and I knew from a young age of the high quality of education available at ASU. ASU has many brilliant professors on staff as well as numerous and innovative learning opportunities. It was an easy choice.   

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

A: While I had many wonderful professors, I have to say that Dr. Karin Enloe had the biggest impact for me. I was lucky enough to have several classes with Dr. Enloe, including my capstone history class. She taught me a very important aspect of historical writing, and that is to cite, cite, cite. Alongside giving brilliant lectures, Dr. Enloe taught me how to produce a well-researched and properly cited paper worthy of academic consideration. I will always be grateful.

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

A: Don’t just take classes that look good on a resumé. Sprinkle courses into your schedule when possible that may not necessarily be part of your career path, but you simply are interested in and want to learn more about. It can really help get you through a tough semester.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: My favorite spot is always the library. So many books, so little time.

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I am hoping to go on for my master’s degree in museum studies next year. One of my favorite places to haunt in my free time is a museum. I enjoy museums with grand halls of art and antiquities as well as small neighborhood museums with local objects of interest. I would very much like to work in the conservation and archival field of museum collections.

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

A: I would absolutely work to clean the world’s oceans of garbage, especially plastics. This is a global crisis we are only beginning to understand the full consequences of.  

Rachel Bunning

Communications program coordinator, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies