Spotlight Series: Priscilla Lopez
January 30, 2020
For nearly a decade, the Palo Alto College Alumni & Friends Association has engaged with former students and friends of the college, promoting a sense of community that extends beyond graduation.
This year, as Palo Alto College celebrates its 35th anniversary, the association is expanding its footprint and engaging even more alumni and community members. Palo Alto College alumna, Priscilla Lopez, recently moved into a new role as Coordinator of Student Success – Community Programs, where she will oversee the alumni association.
Lopez has served in different roles while working at the College, so she understands the importance of an alumni program – especially for students whose only higher education experience is at Palo Alto College. This holds particularly true for graduates from the College’s Professional and Technical Education (PTE) programs, which provide a pathway for students to enter the workforce after graduating from Palo Alto College.
“I always think about those who do the PTE programs,” said Lopez. “This is really their only alma mater, and they should have just as much engagement and opportunity with their institution as they would at a university; we’re just trying to provide that to them, making sure that they have the resources [and] that we’re telling their stories.”
Lopez started her career at Palo Alto College 10 years ago as a student worker. She has developed deep-rooted connection with the campus and the South Side community during her time working, but that connection began before she ever enrolled at Palo Alto College.
“When I was graduating [high school], I started to embrace Palo Alto College already because my mom was a student here,” said Lopez. “By the time I was graduating [from high school], I knew this was where I wanted to come. I couldn’t wait to start.”
As South Side natives, attending Palo Alto College became a family affair. After her mom returned to school, Lopez and her siblings followed suit.
“She came back and she just started a trend,” said Lopez. “The way it ended up working out was that she [my sister] graduated with her associate’s, then my mom did, then I did. Every other year.”
From being a student to being employed, Lopez credits her professional development and career trajectory to her time at Palo Alto College. Her story is her source of inspiration to continue giving back to the community.
“I’ve grown up here in all aspects,” said Lopez. "They’ve seen me evolve professionally and in my life, so it’s been great to be able to keep those roots here and give back to the community that I came from.”
Although she is new in her role with the alumni association, Lopez is happy as she takes the existing group and finds new ways for continued engagment with members of the Palo Alto College family.
“So far, we’re off to a great start, but we have a lot more to do and there’s a lot more to come,” said Lopez. “As an alumna myself, as a staff member, and as a community member, I look forward to what we’re doing.”