Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
Senior Mike Martinez has been able to find a community within the close-knit environment at Gustavus.
“I’m originally from Worthington, Minnesota. I actually didn’t know about Gustavus up until my junior year of high school. I had two teachers that came to Gustavus, a math teacher and an English teacher, and they both recommended me to the school because they thought I would be a good fit for it. I was really unsure about where I wanted to go to college. I was originally going to go to the U of M Twin Cities, but Gustavus had a better offer when it came to financial aid. I visited [and] stayed the night here my senior year – I was in Sohre. I liked the environment, I liked that it was a small school and you could actually be in touch with your professors,” Martinez said.
Martinez notes that while Gustavus is a small school, it is not difficult to get involved or form connections with other students, such as Senior Jenesis Tompkins.
“[Martinez] is a genuine friend, roommate, and student. He is always willing to go the extra mile, even if that means tagging along to drive to the Twin Cities. He thinks of others and acts on that as well. I have seen [Martienz] as a member of OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students) and a member of PASO (Pan Afrikan Student Organization) and he is always participating in some capacity. Mike Martinez does shine in every setting,” Tompkins said.
Martinez has been involved with OLAS for the past two years and finds his experiences with the organization to be some of the most memorable from his time at Gustavus.
“I am the PR [public representative] of OLAS. I’ve been in OLAS for two years now and we actually have our big event coming up on April 14th: Latinx Night, which will be held in Alumni Hall. Last year, attending Latinx Night was really fun. It was very unfortunate that my freshman year it couldn’t happen because of the COVID pandemic and then my sophomore year it also didn’t happen because the regulations were still very much strict. So last year was the very first time I could actually experience Latinx Night for myself, especially as a Latino student, I feel really proud of my heritage. That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. There were so many performances, foods that I always have loved that I got to eat, I tried foods from different places in Latin America, so I’d say that’s a really favorite memory of mine,” Martinez said.
As a Psychology major with a Communications Studies minor, Martinez was set on his academic path in a perfect melding of behavioral sciences and media.
“My mom and I, we would watch crime shows and sometimes a psychologist would show up on the show and explain why this criminal was acting this way, or there was a behaviorist and they would explain stuff like that, and I just really thought that was super interesting,” Martinez said.
In the future, Martinez hopes to work with children in a clinical psychology setting.
“For my future plans, I hope to work with kids that have mental disabilities and just learn more about it and go out in the field and help as much as I can. I want to go right into the workforce and I know that there’s just so many entry-level programs too for people who want to work hands-on with children, which is really what I want to do. With my degree, I want to work more hands-on with patients and children. I’m not much of a researcher, I’d rather be the one to apply the research,” Martinez said.
When he’s not doing homework or working at the local Starbucks, Martinez is busy singing with the Gustavus Choir in the Bass section. He traveled with the group during J-term and was able to visit Italy and Spain for the first time.
“I was in Chapel Choir last year and my friend encouraged me to try out for G Choir because I was really unsure whether to even join in the first place. I tried out, like ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ you just get rejected. But thankfully I got accepted,” Martinez said.
Taking advantage of the opportunities and resources available to students is Martinez’s advice for any student who might feel like they are unsure or haven’t found their place on campus yet.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you’re new here, like a transfer student or just a first-year, or even if you’re like a senior as well. If you have questions about careers, there are so many resources here on campus that I feel like lots of people don’t take advantage of. Talk to your professors, talk to your advisors, they’re here to help you. Just don’t be afraid to ask, because people are more than willing to help out,” Martinez said.