Mesa, AZ – Did you hear the one about the immigration lawyer who plays the violin brilliantly? No, it’s not a joke. This is the story of 20 year old Crystal Perez who has played the violin for much of her life and is pursuing her dream of becoming an immigration lawyer to help people like her parents.
Crystal explains that she is inspired to help others deal with the struggles her parents endured emigrating from Mexico to the U.S., “My motivation comes directly from my family. The thing with me is that I think about where my family came from, which is basically nothing. I don’t take anything I have today for granted.”
Born and raised in Mesa, Crystal graduated from Mountain View High School and went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona. Now a sophomore pursuing a degree in Business Law at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, Crystal expects to graduate in May 2018 and then head to law school.
Beyond the law, Crystal has a passion for playing the violin, “I joined the orchestra in the fourth grade and ever since then I’ve been playing the violin. I played at my high school graduation and I didn’t want to stop playing there so I started practicing afterwards – practicing different Mariachi’s after I graduated. It’s something I really enjoy doing on the side.”
Crystal’s list of performing credits includes the acclaimed group “Mariachi Mexico Nuevo.”
Crystal adds that her family encouraged her to get a college degree:
“My parents taught me what hard work was, and they were always telling me to do good in school because that’s what is going to benefit me in the long run and it’s true.”
Like other students, Crystal credits her college experience with helping to overcome the very common and often overwhelming fear of public speaking, “At the time (I started college) I hated public speaking – I was always nervous, but now public speaking is probably one of my favorite parts of college.”
Crystal also credits her improved public speaking skills to her association with the Hispanic Business Students Association at ASU, which she joined early in her college career, “I fell in love with everything it stands for. We develop students personally, professionally and academically.”
Following two unsuccessful attempts, Crystal was elected to the organization’s Executive Board.
Mentoring can be very helpful for college students as they navigate through academic and personal challenges. Crystal offers high praise for Barbra Scrivner, her success adviser through College Success Arizona, “She’s incredible. She always helps me with my essays and helped me get the job I have right now.”
And for those considering their own college career, Crystal offers the following advice, “I would say to get involved in more than one organization or club. Learn how to step out of your comfort zone – that’s really how you’re going to learn how to succeed in whatever you do. Also, build your network. That’s something that I really value – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income backgrounds, your tax deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.
Your support can help change lives.