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Luz Martinez

Hometown: Port Hueneme, CA

Major: Biology

Graduation Date: May 2021

Career Plans: Evolution Biologist

I was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and came to live in California at the age of five. I grew up in the city of Port Hueneme, attending Oxnard High School. I began as a first-time freshman at CSU Channel Islands. CSUCI’s investment in supporting minorities, reasonable student to teacher ratio, strong sense of community, and proximity to home made it the perfect fit for me.

My academic career had a rough start. Spanish is my first language and as a result I was placed in bilingual classes up to the fourth grade. This contributed to me not being fluent in English until the sixth grade. It was difficult for me to understand the material, making me feel like school was too hard for me. I grew up in a low-income, single-parent household. It was challenging to keep the focus on my education while trying to stay away from bad influences. My mom only received a middle school education, and I am the only one of two older siblings to attend a four-year university straight out of high school. Despite these obstacles I always knew that college was going to be my future. Seeing my family live paycheck to paycheck, I want to have a career I am passionate about, be financially stable and provide a better future for my family.

I decided to major in biology because I love to learn about the importance of conservation and the immense impact nature has on our daily lives. It helps me see things in a macroscopic lense, making me feel significant to be part of something bigger.

I am currently entering my third year as a biology major and my second year as a peer mentor. I love to have this position that allows me to give back to my community. My goal as a University Culture mentor is to motivate my students to reach their academic goals, offer resources and emotional support. We believe in you!