De La Torre studying for a career in law

Jose De La Torre ’17 did his best to try everything Cornell College had to offer. His drive helped him earn degrees in both international relations and political science, hold leadership roles in a variety of student groups, hold two work-study positions, and study abroad. The ability to try things on the Block Plan helped him on his path to law school.

The Chicago native is especially grateful for the support of his family, and his mentors, Pam Gerard and Sheri Hotz from the Alumni Office (one of his work-study positions) and Professor Marcela Ochoa-Shivapour.

“Everyone there is always rooting for me, my education, academic, and future goals,” De La Torre said.

That support helped him find a position at a law firm, where he is currently working and will continue to work as he pursues his juris doctor degree.

De La Torre also embraced the opportunity to travel abroad to both India and Eastern Europe, which he said was an eye-opening experience that helped prepare him for his future.

Jose De La Torre '17
Jose De La Torre ’17

His hardworking parents served as an inspiration for De La Torre. “They have inspired me from the very beginning to work hard because their daily sweat has brought me to where I am today. I am beyond grateful to have them and I work hard so they can be proud of me. They are my heroes! Gracias por todo, mamá y papá, los amo! (Thank you for everything, mom and dad, I love you.)”

De La Torre is the first in his family to graduate with a college degree and hopes his academic success will help to inspire his two nephews and niece to pursue their academic goals. “I hope they can see that they too can graduate from a four-year institution in the future and have this beautiful sense of accomplishment.”


Q: What activities, clubs, organizations, or work study positions were you involved in at Cornell and how did they add to your education and enjoyment of Cornell?
A: During my time at Cornell, I was involved in numerous of clubs and organizations. My freshman year, I literally signed up to more than 20 different clubs. I thought I could do it all, but then I also had tons of assignments, projects, and reading to get done, so I cut it down to organizations that really mattered to me and connected with my major.


Q: What is your biggest academic accomplishment?
A: My biggest academic accomplishment would honestly be the satisfaction of simply graduating. I am the very first in my entire family to go off to college and I am beyond thrilled to have broken that cycle and have actually graduated with a college degree. I graduated a semester early, which also felt perfect with my academic and life plans.

Q: What are your post-Cornell plans?
A: I will be attending law school this fall. I am really excited about this next step I am about to take and I am really grateful for all the support I received from my family and the staff at Cornell. I have also received a great opportunity to work with a law firm and will continue to be part of this firm as I pursue my Juris Doctorate. I would have not done this without the the great letters of recommendation I received from Vice President of Alumni and Advancement, Pam Gerard, and Spanish professor Marcela Ochoa-Shiavapour. As well as all the support I received from my professors, and the staff from the alumni office, especially Sheri Hotz, executive assistant to Pam Gerard.

Q: What would you tell a prospective about Cornell?
A: I would tell a prospective student to take full advantage of the resources, experiences, and opportunities offered on campus. Even though Cornell is a small, tight-knit community, everything and anything is possible on this beautiful campus. In addition to resources offered on campus, if there is a program, activity, or speaker you are interested in, Cornell helps it happen.

Q: Is there someone who has inspired you?
A: My parents inspire me. I am so blessed to have both my parents and their 100% support on anything and everything I do. They inspire me every day to be a better person, to work hard for what I have and even harder for what I don’t, to be humble and give back, to have faith and to be thankful for everything. They motivate me to follow my dreams, to stay true to myself and be who I want to be. They have inspired me from the very beginning to work hard because their daily sweat has brought me to where I am today. I am beyond grateful to have them and I work hard so they can be proud of me. They are my heroes! Gracias por todo, mamá y papá, los amo! (Thank you for everything, mom and dad, I love you.)

Q: What surprised you most about your time at Cornell?
A: What surprised me the most about my time at Cornell has to be how much I got used to the tranquility of living in a small town. Since I am originally from Chicago, I am used to loud city noises and things being open late. However, living in Mount Vernon and going to Cornell definitely made me enjoy my peace and quiet. I honestly miss the relaxing, quiet nights on campus.