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Karyme Lara Chagoya was born in Martínez De La Torre, Veracruz, Mexico and was brought to the United States when she was 6 months old. She grew up in Basalt, Colorado and her mom brought her here. Ever since she was little, her mom encouraged her to do well in school, she always helped her with homework and studying. All of that changed when her dad was deported in 2013 and her mother passed away. Karyme moved in with her aunt and says it was weird because it was during the transition from middle school to high school. The passing of her mom pushed her to work harder in school; Karyme came to college because of her mother. She didn’t want to stay in Colorado because there was a lot of going on and she lost both parents in that state. Therefore, she decided she wanted to come to California and fell in love with CLU because of its inclusiveness.

Some fun facts about Karyme:

  • She’s an only child.
  • She’s a first-generation college student.
  • Her favorite color is green.
  • She likes music, everything except country, except for like three country songs she has on her playlist; and she really likes Banda MS.
  • She enjoys Math even though she’s not majoring in it.
  • Her favorite movie is Coco because representation matters. Karyme cried when they won two Oscar’s.

Read on to learn more about this amazing first-year student!Her Campus Cal Lutheran: Why did you decide to come to CLU?

Karyme Lara Chagoya: It was out of state. Not a lot of universities have criminal justice programs and I saw Cal Lu when I was looking them up. I came during InCLUsive and my host, Andrea, informed me about the opportunities that Dreamers get and what the school does for them.

HCCLU: What is your major and how did you decide on it?

KLC: Criminal justice and psychology and a minor in Spanish. Criminal justice because when I was little I would watch Criminal Minds with my mom so I became really interested; I thought they were so cool. I became interested in forensics and being part of the FBI. Once I came to CLU, I realized that I want to be a criminal defendant. One of my classes helped me a lot in realizing what I want to do with my life. Psychology because after I lost my mom, I found out that she suffered from depression, and I wanted to be able to help other people who suffer from depression. I want to be able to help and show them that everything will be okay in the end. I was depressed when my mom passed away. I know it’s really rough and I want to help people in order to not be in that place. The Spanish minor because I’m already bilingual, so why not?

HCCLU: Are you involved in any clubs or sports?

KLC: I’m a freshman senator for student government, a photographer for Her Campus, I’ll be secretary next year for the Latin American Student Organization, I’m in Young Life, I’m a Pres Host, I’m going to be giving tours in Spanish and English, and I’m currently training to be a Peer Advisor.

HCCLU: Since you’re almost done with your first year, how would you describe it?

KLC: It was rough but I made it. I was so used to going to bed early and waking up early and that didn’t happen here. One day for my religion final, I got one hour of sleep. I learned to survive on coffee and three hours of sleep. Overall it has been great; I’ve made a lot of memories with friends, talking about school and what we’re doing with our lives.

HCCLU: You’re a first generation student, what does that mean to you?

KLC: It means a lot to me. To me, it means that my parents brought me here to give me the opportunity for education they didn’t have. I know that a lot of students think that just because their parents didn’t go to college, it means they won’t either, but there’re a lot of resources. It’s a good opportunity because you learn a lot and you’re able to appreciate it all so much more. You’re able to make your parents proud because they gave you this opportunity.HCCLU: What do you want to be in the future and why?

KLC: I want to be a criminal defendant because in my Crim 276 class, the professor brought in a student who graduated from CLU and now has that job; she talked about everything she has done and how she got there. What stood out to me was when she said she does it because she wants to help the people who are innocent and who are being wrongly convicted. I realized that there’re people who are innocent and are being convicted of crimes they didn’t do. I want to help them. Once I’m older, I want to be a high school counselor or therapist because I know during those times a lot of students are stressed and I want them to know that it’ll get better and they shouldn’t give up.HCCLU: Who inspires you the most in life?

KLC: I have two. One is my mom because when she was younger she had the chance of going to college but she ended up dropping out because she missed her family and she didn’t want to be away from them. She always put family first and that meant a lot to me; she was a hard working person. She would bring the money to the house, took care of us, fed us, and stuff like that. I really looked up to her, she was the strongest person ever. She always cared about people. The second person is my aunt who’s a single mother of two kids, she took care of one of my cousins for a bit, and has been taking care of me for the past four years. My aunt has done a lot and wants to open her own event decorating business. No matter what, nothing holds her back. She’s a really strong woman in my life. At first, she didn’t understand how much school meant to me but when she realized how much it meant to me, she supported me along the way.HCCLU: What is your favorite thing about yourself?

KLC: I’m really honest with people. If someone does something to me that I don’t like it, I tell them. I really think communication is important. When people are doing something that I don’t appreciate, I can be honest with them. Like “Yo, you need to stop.” I think it’s an important aspect of people, to be honest all the time.

HCCLU: What song would you say describes you?

KLC: “Amor Eterno” by Juan Gabriel because it talks about losing his mom and I think it’s a really pretty song. Every single time I listen to it, it reminds me of my mom and why I’m doing everything I’m doing. And “Second&Sebring” by Of Mice and Men; the singer is singing to his mom and saying that when she looks down on him he hopes that she’s proud of everything that he is doing and everything he’s doing is for her. I hope that if my mom is looking down on me from heaven, she’s really proud of me and everything that I’m doing.

HCCLU: What is your ideal meal?

KLC: Mole, but only my grandma’s. My mom used to be able to make it, she would put Chocolate Abuelita, animal crackers, and peanuts and it would taste so good. That’s the only mole I really like; I’ll eat other ones but that’s my favorite.HCCLU: What are your hobbies?

KLC: Writing poetry, reading, drawing, and photography.

HCCLU: Do you have a quote or a motto that you live by?

KLC: I guess one is definitely “everything is going to be okay.” My therapist told me that one day, and I realized she was right. When times are hard or stressful for me, I always try to remember that. It may be a rough day but everything will be okay.

Leslie Madrigal

Cal Lutheran '20

Hello, my name is Leslie Madrigal. I am a senior at Cal Lutheran double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Spanish with a minor in Ethnic Studies! Besides being a part of Her Campus, I am also the Co-President for the Latin American Student Organization, Vice President of My Generation My Fight, and Secretary for the Criminal Justice Student Association. I work on campus at the Office of the President as well as having an off campus job in retail. And I volunteer for the Safe Passage Program through the Criminal Justice Department.
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