Jennifer Martinez, who goes by "Jenny," is a student at the Eastern New Mexico University working towards a bachelor's degree in political science with minors in business administration and Spanish.
She hopes to pursue a career in law working as an attorney in either family law or business law.
"Because I seek a career full of intellectual stimulation, I hope to continuously challenge myself to become a better, more intelligent individual every day that I live and work," she said of her career goals. "I hope to use all of my God-given talents to the best of my ability, to help improve the lives of others and to work towards a purpose that is greater than myself. Ultimately, I hope to enjoy every day that I work so that it does not feel as though as I am working, but as though I am fulfilling my purpose."
Jenny shared that it took her "a little while to decide what I was going to major in. I started out in criminal justice, then contemplated switching to forensic science, and then ultimately decided on political science at the beginning of my sophomore year.
"The best advice I got in regards to choice of a degree was from Dr. Frederick Greene [associate professor of business law and management at ENMU]. He told me 'choose whatever you're most interested in because that is the work you will enjoy doing' and that is when I decided to stick with political science. I plan on going to law school upon graduating, and political science aligns with my interests and the field of study I plan to go into," she shared.
Although she is from Seattle, Washington, Jenny has many family members in Clovis, New Mexico, since her father who was raised there. She chose to attend ENMU to be close to family. "I felt as though I could make up for all the lost time I didn't get to see them during my childhood," she said. Being able to play volleyball and the small community of ENMU sealed her decision to attend the University.
"I am used to a city lifestyle and, coming to Portales, I was so surprised at the homey-feeling that is synonymous to the whole town. Everyone just feels connected in a way, and I love seeing how much the local business support ENMU and its students and faculty," she explained.
She recognized the impact that ENMU professors have had on her academic success, including Dr. Greene, Dr. Steven Brust, Gloria Jurado and Marisa Garduno-DaSilva.
"Dr. Greene has been my advisor on law school-related matters (he also serves as our Pre-Law Club advisor) and has always been there to answer any questions I have whether they were law school-related or not. He helped me choose a major in my first years at Eastern," she explained. "Dr. Brust is my academic advisor and has always encouraged me to put in my best work. Marisa Garduno-DaSilva who was my PACT boss has always provided me with advice and support in all that I do."
The senior appreciates Gloria Jurado as her professor and also her friend. "Gloria was the professor on our study-abroad trip to Spain and has always been extremely patient and helpful when I chose to minor in Spanish. Gloria has even attended my volleyball games to support me," said Jenny.
The Greyhound was named the Offensive Player of the Week for Lone Star Conference Volleyball in September 2018. Between 2015 through 2018, she garnered a list of honors such as the first place winner at the ENMU Student Research and Creativity Conference, Scholastic Honor Roll, Dean's List, Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the "ENMU Helping Hand Award" from Student Affairs.
In addition, she was a recipient of several Greyhound Volleyball Scholarships from 2016 to 2018, including the Greyhound Club Alumni Scholarship, Greyhound Club Volleyball Scholarship, Greyhound Club Alexis Maguire Volleyball Scholarship and Greyhound Club Navin Sinha Memorial Scholarship.Jenny made the Lone Star Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
She is also a published author as of November 2018, with her short story "Home" being published in the fall 2018 edition of the "El Portal."
The Greyhound shared that one of her favorite experiences at ENMU was the 2018 Summer Study Abroad Program in Malaga, Spain, with Gloria Jurado and a group of students studying Spanish and English. "I would not trade that experience for anything, and I am extremely grateful that Eastern allowed me to participate in such a trip. I stayed with a host family and now have friends and family in Spain, and I cannot wait to return and visit one day," she said.
Her favorite class was "Business Law and Ethics," taught by Dr. Greene. "Business law is the field I want to venture into, so I enjoyed being able to ask questions and become more learned in the subject. Another fact is that the class was taken in the fall of 2016 during the presidential election which, to me, made everything more relevant. I enjoyed being able to exchange thoughts with Dr. Greene."
The Golden Student Success Center and Greyhound Arena are Jenny's go-to spots on campus. "I absolutely love the new library, and because I live very close to campus, it is easy for me to just walk there whenever I have homework, or I want a bagel," she explained, adding that the arena was important to her because "being a senior and part of the volleyball program for four years now, I have spent many hours during practice, games, weights, conditioning, and etcetera there. It's one of my favorite places simply because of the amount of time I have spent there and the person I've become over the years in there. I have truly put in blood, sweat and tears there. I feel attached to it."
Jenny has been a member of the ENMU volleyball team since 2015, a PACT peer mentor since 2017 and was one of the founding members of the Pre-Law Club, where she held the posts of treasurer (2015), vice president (2016) and president (2017).
Jenny was a member of the ENMU Student Fees Board in 2016 and its director in 2017. She represented Eastern as a student panelist at Domenici Public Policy Conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and at the Daniel's Fund Ethics Case Competition at the University of New Mexico, both in 2017. She was also a student senator from 201718.
Jenny encourages students interested in her field of study to "ask questions. Learning is an option, and there is a difference between going to school and getting educated. I applaud anyone that chooses my field of study because I know political science isn't something everyone jumps at to discuss. But opportunity is everywhere, and to anyone entering a PSCI degree, know that in Portales there are so many people with experience in this field that are able and willing to help and offer clarifications where necessary.
"Make sure you truly get an education and ask questions until you understand. Your education is the one thing in life that no one can take away from you, so don't feign the process—truly earn it and use it for the rest of your life. It will take you farther than anything else."
Jenny was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but her family moved to Seattle when she was five years old. She lost her mom to ovarian cancer when she was seven years old. Her father is a retired chemical engineer who writes and plays music, sings at coffee shops and writes software apps. She has a sister named Abigail, who is two years older and is studying nursing at Utah Valley University.
The volleyball player loves hiking, swimming, volleyball, learning, reading, traveling, sleeping, laughing, painting, writing, asking questions and "pretty much everything."