Senior Spotlight: Liza Vasquez ’24 shines as a role model

April 5, 2024

Liza Vasquez knows a thing or two about endurance.

Liza Vasquez ’24A military veteran and single mother, the first-generation college grad from Anaheim is earning her degree with a major in social work and a minor in French. When she is not in class, Vasquez serves as a nontraditional student senator, East Whittier City School District school counselor intern, Project Sister Family Services volunteer, and PTA member at Scott Avenue Elementary School. 

During her time at Whittier, she has participated in a host of activities, specifically Poet Warriors Club, KPOET Radio, Student Relations Committee, Admin Committee, Budget Committee, Phi Alpha Honor Society, Poly-Sci Club, and French Tabling with fellow French speakers. Her hobbies include hiking, volunteering, playing video games with fellow veterans in her Call of Duty group, and taking her 7-year-old daughter, Stella Luna, to the park and on picnics. 

“A lot of the students and staff know my daughter because she attended every open mic with me that I would work as an audio tech manager while at KPOET, and she attends every senate meeting with me,” Vasquez said. “She also has attended several classes with me with open arms from all my professors who understand child care can be difficult as a single mom. The support has been phenomenal, and I wouldn’t be able to complete my degree with the amount of success that I have without the support from fellow classmates and staff.”

We asked her a few questions about her life as a Poet and plans for the future. 

What's next for you after graduation?

Master’s of Social Work program at Seton Hall University with a focus on forensic social work. I would love to work with the FBI in the future.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years as a diesel mechanic and machinist mate and was honorably discharged in 2019 as MM1 (SW) Vasquez.

What’s your favorite Whittier memory? 

Having my parents and daughter watch me being inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society.

What was your favorite class at Whittier?

All of my French classes, especially Franco-African Cinema and Literature with Professor Marie-Magdeleine Chirol Hill.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

The Veterans Resource Center, where we all get together daily to check in on one another. 

If you could give your first-year self some advice, what would it be?

Taking this plunge to shift careers from a mechanic to a social worker is worth it. The dream of doing something you love is attainable and your daughter will flourish watching you work hard. 

As we count down toward Commencement, Whittier College is highlighting seniors with something to say. Interested in participating or want to nominate a member of the Class of 2024? Get in touch.