Jessica Martinez graduated Cum Laude as a counseling program student in December, 2015. She will soon be on her way to Los Angeles, Calif., to study at the University of Southern California, where she has been accepted to the Master of Social Work Program.
Martinez lives the Newman mission by working diligently in the community with a Wichita area treatment center, logging more than 400 hours serving and helping adolescents. She has also served as Vice President of the Counseling Club at Newman University, was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, is an active member of Sunflower Community Action, and she provides daily service to the Hispanic/Diverse community as an employee of the Urban League of Wichita.
Jessica's parents overcame hardship in order to come to America, and to escape political unrest and civil war in El Savador. She credits her parents for the sacrifices they made so that she and her sisters could gain access to higher education and other opportunities that her parents did not have. Along with her mother and sisters, Jessica traveled to Washington D.C. in 2012 and 2013 in support of reforms addressing issues of social justice that affect documented and undocumented Hispanic immigrants.
While at Newman, Jessica focused her senior project on investigating the sentencing disparities of Hispanics in America and the impact these disparities have on the community, family, and the children left behind. Her work highlighted the greatest vulnerabilities facing the Hispanic community and the injustice of American immigration policies that disproportionately affect Hispanic American families.
Her passion and research on immigration and naturalization policies has reached across the United States and has gained the attention of many others. In the fall, Jessica will continue her education and research at the University of Southern California.