Jose Lara Lopez (he/him/el) was born and raised in Firebaugh, California. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in Gender Studies and a Minor in Chicana/o Studies. After graduating, he worked in the non-profit sector as a College and Career Success Program Manager and later as a Team Lead and Scholarship Program Manager. His recent role involved supporting university students as a Clinic Support Specialist for UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) department. He is inspired daily by his life experiences and his partner and son. Jose has made an unwavering commitment to supporting others in finding their passions and reaching their desired goals. While working at Merit America, he hopes to empower and support learners in pursuit of obtaining a career change by guiding them through the interview and job placement process. In his free time, Jose enjoys exercising, exploring local coffee shops, spending quality time with his loved ones, and learning about dinosaurs and sea animals with his son.