Taylor Kay '15 graduated magna cum laude with a major in Urban Studies. While she was at LMU, Taylor served as the tour guide coordinator for the Office of Admissions, supervising more than 30 student guides who worked with Taylor to introduce the campus to future students and their parents, visiting dignitaries and officials, and friends of the University.
Committed to improving the lives of the diverse population of metropolitan Los Angeles, Taylor found the Urban Studies major, with its integral internship program, ideally suited to her educational and career goals. Combining her Urban Studies classes with directly relevant work in the community, Taylor completed two internships, first as a legislative intern in the office of L.A. City Councilmember Bernard Parks and then as an economic development intern in the Community Development Department of the City of Inglewood. On-campus, Taylor was awarded a Rains Undergraduate Research Fellowship and worked with Dr. Pete Hoffman, Director of the Urban Studies Program, on a project examining the granting of zoning variances.
With a solid academic preparation in urban issues, a proven record of undergraduate research, and an impressive resume of internship experiences, Taylor was a Fulbright scholarship finalist as a senior. Upon graduation, Taylor was offered a full-time position as a planning technician by the City of Inglewood and is currently working there. In fall of 2016, she began her Master's of Planning and Master's of Public Administration at USC.
For Citlaly Orozco '15, just getting to class was an education. A commuter student who lived at home with her family, she took the city bus from East LA to LMU’s Westchester campus each day, observing the spectrum of LA neighborhoods as she crossed town.
As a commuter and a first-generation college student, Citlaly struggled to adjust. “I was late to my very first class of college because the bus ran late,” she remembers. “I cried on the bus, thinking, ‘Is my professor going to be mad at me?’” But as a member of the First-to-Go community, Citlaly had two first-year courses with other “first-gen” students, and her professors, mentors, and peers helped her start to feel like she belonged.
Citlaly didn’t let her initial challenges – or her cross-city commute – stop her from becoming an active scholar on campus. She ambitiously pursued two majors, Chicana/o Studies and Urban Studies, the latter inspired by the changing urban landscapes she witnessed out the bus window each day. She held multiple off-campus internships while at LMU, including a position at Leadership for Urban Renewal (LURN), a community development organization in Boyle Heights. There, she planned a program to help local corner stores sell healthier food, and studied gentrification and development in the neighborhood.
As she got more comfortable on campus, Citlaly made it her mission to help other newcomers at LMU feel at home. She worked in Campus Ministry, coordinating Latino Overnight retreats for fellow Latina/o students. She mentored first-years in the First-to-Go community. She also joined Sigma Lambda Gamma, a multicultural sorority in which she grew personally while also helping create a space of welcome and support for the other women in the group.
Now that she’s graduated, Citlaly’s commitment to empowering others continues. In her first job out of college, she taught college test prep courses at a Highland Park public charter school with a high Latina/o population. Now, she is working to help students become future leaders and ensure justice in educational policies as an educational coach for Upward Bound at CSULB. She plans to pursue a teaching credential and a master’s in education policy, because she says, “I got an amazing education, and I want as many people as possible to have access to that opportunity, too.”