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Alumna Crystal Zamora recently returned to HOLA to join the staff as the College Retention Advisor. Drawing from her own experience at HOLA, Crystal will be helping seniors make the transition into their first year of college saying. Crystal is excited about her new position, stating “[T]heir struggles were my struggles and because I was able to overcome them, I am eager to share my experiences with them and validate their emotions. As an alumna, I hope they will be able to live cathartically through my mistakes and experiences and mold their life to whatever they want it to be.”

After graduating from high school (and HOLA), Crystal attended Glendale Community College. She then transferred to UCLA and went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a minor in Developmental Psychology. While attending UCLA, Crystal was involved with multiple organizations. She worked at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, helping the communications team promote and plan a Young Worker Rising event. During this project, she was able to reconnect with HOLA, involving students and their families. She also assisted a graduate student who was researching Autism and Comorbid Anxiety Disorder in children and teens and was able to get an in-depth look at therapy and the importance of parental involvement. She later helped develop UCLA’s first Undergraduate Psychology Journal, providing a platform for undergraduate students to publish their research. Crystal also worked with the Peer Health Exchange, teaching comprehensive pregnancy prevention at charter schools in South and Central Los Angeles.

Throughout her college career, Crystal remained connected with HOLA. She volunteered with SmartStart, working with students in cooking, film and ceramics classes and in the Alumni department, working with former Alumni Director Andrea Cova. She recently connected with College Success Director Kevin Franco while she was working on the Young Worker Rising event and saw how much HOLA has grown in the last few years. After the transformation, she wanted to become more involved and then a few weeks later, she found herself interviewing for her position!

To Crystal, HOLA is a support network of people who want to see their students succeed. It’s a home base for students and alumni to enrich their education and lives, regardless of socioeconomic status. Most importantly, HOLA motivates students to overcome obstacles they face in their education or in their personal lives. As Crystal says, “HOLA encourages students to dream bigger, fight harder against obstacles and strongly believe in their future.”


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