Maria Martinez “I’m so happy to give back what was so willingly given to me. It’s because of SMC that I’m the person I am today.”

Several years ago in one of these ‘student profiles,’ a young Latina was talking about her dreams for the future and how she hoped she could some day return to SMC. Well, that dream has come true. With a BA in psychology and an LMU master’s degree in counseling, Maria Martinez is back on the campus where it all began for her.

“I just got hired full time as an academic counselor and, as a former student here, it feels wonderful to be at SMC again,” says Maria. “It’s been a lot of tough work, but succeeding in my education has been completely positive for me.”

Naturally, Maria sees one component of the entire SMC program as being critical to any student’s success. “Good counseling can help anyone succeed here,” she says. “When I was here, someone was always making sure that I could balance working with my class schedule. And I truly believe it was the great people here who helped me to become the first member of my family to go beyond 6th grade.” In her current assignments at SMC Outreach, Maria is ensuring that others like herself will also have the opportunity to shine.

“I’m helping to coordinate our dual enrollment program, where SMC instructors go into the high schools to teach and the students get dual credit. This makes for a ‘fast track’ into the academic life,” she adds, “so that when students arrive here from high school, they’re already part of SMC.” Maria states that “when I was a member of CLUE here, I found an all-important support system among my peers. We were all first-generation college students who were struggling, working, and helping each other to get ready for the ‘Big White Void’ out there,” she says. “Nobody needs to feel alone at SMC.”

SMC Academic Counselor Maria Martinez began full-time at SMC in Fall ’99. Welcome!

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.