First-generation Latina UVU grad encourages others to get an education 01

Krystal Guerra, Marketware VP, August 30, 2017 in Cottonwood Heights. Photo by Kim Raff

When Krystal Guerra came to Utah Valley State College, it was because she had a good scholarship. She planned on later transferring to a different school to continue her education.

“There was still a stigma to UVSC then,” she said. “But I quickly fell in love with the campus, the people and the administration. There was a good feeling in the halls. Now UVU has great programs, with master’s degrees and it is well known. I am glad the alumni continue to make a good name for the school.”

Part of what contributed to her decision to remain at UVU was that she got involved on campus.

“That is what I would recommend the most to anybody — not to just look at college as a one-stop shop, but to leverage every avenue and every aspect of the campus,” she said. “I got involved with the student association. That made a world of difference.”

“I was very involved on campus and was able to work alongside key administration to see UVSC — now UVU — achieve university status,” she said. She was elected vice president of clubs and organizations.

“I oversaw more than 100 clubs and helped with campus-wide programming, allocation of student fee funds, and participated in the interview process of our new college president, Matthew Holland,” she said. “I was involved with the multicultural center and an advocate for the advancement of women in leadership. I also served as a regional representative for the American Student Association of Community Colleges and had a chance to visit D.C. and meet with representative Jason Chaffetz to lobby for pressing issues and policies facing higher education’s undergraduate constituency.”

Guerra is a first-generation student, and so far, the only one in her family to graduate from college. She was born and raised in Utah, but her parents originally came from Mexico. Her mother worked in a factory and her dad is a commercial farmer. Both encouraged her to get an education.

“They told me I would want to work somewhere that had air conditioning so that I could dress nicely and not get dirty,” she said. That has come true for her. She works for Marketware in Salt Lake City. She started as the director of demand generation and within five months was promoted. She is now vice president of marketing and has been working for the company two and a half years and in the field seven years. But work isn’t her only focus.

“I’ve always wanted to ensure that I not only had success in my personal life but that I make time to contribute and give back to my community,” she said. “I’m thankful to have had so many people help challenge me and be a role model that I feel an obligation and duty to do the same.”

Her goal is to leave things better than she found them, wherever she is in her life. She has coordinated service projects for Marketware to implement. She has also volunteered with the Boys and Girls Clubs, working specifically with the teen center.

“Additionally, I keep ties to the Hispanic community and have spoken with a group of teens with Centro Hispano in a class dedicated to helping their students avoid teen pregnancy and prepare for adulthood,” she said. “This was something that hits close to home as I can relate to being of first generation descent and navigating the cultural differences. I am a proud Latina.”

“I enjoy helping to further educate myself and others and gain knowledge of our tech industry,” she said. “I appreciate efforts to bring women into the conversation and be an advocate for women in leadership. I plan to continue serving as a resource to others. Winston Churchill said it best — ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’”

Women like Guerra are encouraged to take advantage of the Women's Success Center. The center offers women the support and resources they need to complete their degree and gain the confidence, opportunity and knowledge that come with a diploma. UVU is dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to all who seek them, especially to women. Those who wish information may visit uvu.edu/wsc.