Marcos Martinez Accepted into Prestigious Social Work Doctoral Program
New Mexico Highlands University social work graduate student Marcos Martinez was accepted into the prestigious social work doctoral program at Arizona State University. He begins his Ph.D. studies this fall with a generous research assistant position covering his expenses.
Martinez, a 24-year-old Las Vegas native, is also an award-winning classical pianist, and an individual state wrestling champion from the 2003 Robertson High School state wrestling championship team.
Marcos Martinez has stellar academic credentials, including making the dean’s list at both Highlands University and Dana College in Blair, Neb., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work.
Martinez is a graduate assistant in Highlands University social work professor Rey Martinez’ undergraduate research classes. Martinez is not related to his professor.
“As a student, Marcos is extremely disciplined and focused,” Dr. Martinez said. “He’s very intelligent but the thing that sets him apart as a student is that he really loves to learn, and is willing to challenge and push himself. He also has a good mind for research.
“Marcos is a multidimensional individual with many interests that he pursues with passion. He excels at whatever he puts his mind to and yet is so humble. He also has an open mind and a good heart,” Dr. Martinez said.
While pursuing his MSW at Highlands, Martinez held several positions that he said gave him opportunities to give back to his community.
“One job that stands out for me was my practicum with the New Mexico Department of Health where I taught seventh grade boys at Memorial Middle School an evidence-based curriculum called â€˜Wise Guys’ aimed at teen pregnancy prevention,” Martinez said.
Martinez’ master’s thesis research focused on substance abuse treatment for veterans. He expects to continue researching substance abuse treatment during his doctoral studies at A.S.U.
Outside the classroom, Martinez’ accomplishments read like a who’s who among college students.
While at Dana College, he won student leadership awards, was named outstanding social work senior, took advanced piano classes to continue building his repertoire, culminating with a music award, and wrestled on the Dana wrestling team that won the N.A.I.A. national championship in 2006.
Wrestling has played a major role in Martinez’ life.
“Wrestling is very demanding both physically and mentally, I like that about the sport,” Martinez said. “As a junior varsity coach at Robertson these last two seasons I really enjoyed passing along my knowledge of the sport to young wrestlers.”
“Marcos is a very hard worker who never gives up,” said Robertson High wrestling coach Richard Martinez. “His senior year he broke his left hand and came back to win the individual state championship for his weight class with his hand still wrapped.
“I really respect Marcos and he’s an outstanding individual in every way, including coaching. He’s done a great job coaching the junior varsity team and the junior wrestling K-5 program. We’re really going to miss him,” Coach Martinez said.
For 17 years Martinez has pursued music with the same kind of discipline and passion he has for academics and wrestling.
“I love sitting at the piano and letting my fingers go,” Martinez said.”It’s awesome to play Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven.”
After completing his Ph.D., Martinez has set his sights on working with youth, and is interested in helping develop policies that support more youth prevention and intervention programs.
“I want to give youth a vision, some fire for their future because that’s what helped me,” Martinez said. “My mom, Darlene, was the first one to help me that way, and I give her a lot of credit. She’s a single mom and instilled a strong work ethic in me. She also always encouraged me to follow my dreams.
“Dr. Martinez also gave me a lot of encouragement, along with good professional insight and pointers,” Martinez said.
“I know Marcos is going to excel in the Ph.D. program at A.S.U. and I envision him making a significant contribution to the social work profession,” Dr. Martinez said. “He exemplifies the talent that’s here in northern New Mexico.”