As if only yesterday, I remember seeing Stephanie Martinez for the first time. Martinez and I both had college algebra together and the atmosphere of the class was brightened with her unique persona. She seemed the kind of person you would want to sit next to since she would probably help you without a “price tag.”
There are people in this world that help others without a cost. Then there are people that volunteer because they know they will gain something from their act of commitment. Five years ago, I do not think Martinez had the idea of becoming the first ever Student Regent for Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).
She is not only the first for TAMIU, but also the first Hispanic and the second female to obtain a position as a Student Regent in the entire Texas A&M University System. One of her mentors advised her to apply for the position because of her strong qualifications. After reviewing an estimated 110 applicants, Martinez was named a finalist amongst two others.
With Martinez being the first regent, the other A&M schools are being introduced to TAMIU. Martinez stated the following on such:
“I think they like it. To be honest, without having a prior regent, we do have that rarity. They do know about our university. They like that is growing. They like our diversity. They like how we are unique in the international and Hispanic numbers on our campus. They are intrigued about that, and I think that is a good thing. They do have questions, so it is could that we now have our representation. Now there is a chance for TAMIU to be represented, I want to encourage student to apply, and to make sure we get those ten applications in.
Martinez graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications this past May. She is continuing her Master’s in the same field.
Martinez began her term as a Student Regent. Martinez serves as a voice for all eleven universities in identifying concerns and relaying them to the Board of Regents. Martinez has advocated concerns revolving around dining services, campus carry, university parking, and the quality of education. She is the direct student who the board relies on for the improvement of education and development of solutions.
“I get the pleasure of hosting a board where the representatives of other A&M schools and I talk, mostly about the quality of education, and assuring that no matter where you are in the A&M system, the students are getting the same quality. Whether it is here or College Station, the professors and students should be diverse. Campus Carry was obviously discussed to make sure all the system’s schools were aware and informed of the law that came in, and have something in place to ensure safety for all the students and faculty in all the universities. Parking, food, and classes: those are always there for discussion. All universities are growing, and that is a good issue to have, but mostly we are focused on the quality of education.”
Martinez has the opportunity to travel and experience life on a whole other level. Being Student Regent is going to help her move forward and gain knowledge, as well as skills she might need. Martinez is determined to be the President at TAMIU one day. This is all part of her journey and each moment is helping her get where she wants to be soon.
Martinez serves as an example of what kind of opportunities students can encounter as a student in TAMIU. There’s plenty out there, but those who sit and wait won’t get anywhere. Even when Martinez took on eighteen hours per semester as an undergraduate, she still had time for extracurricular activities and joined organizations where she had to plan, attend, and volunteer. It might be hard for a freshman to figure out time management compared to senior, but it’s all possible if you really put your all in to it. If she can do it, you, the reader can do it too.
To my surprise, she informed me that the student regency was not a paid position. Martinez and the other regents are performing their duties all on a volunteer basis. Aside from an excellent résumé bullet, TAMIU representation is been done out of total initiative.
“We do not get paid. Everything that we do is volunteer based. I do work here at the university part-time, but it has nothing to do with my position. I don’t think it is unfair. I think it proves that there are students that want to do more for the university.”
One question I asked towards the end of our interview is what advice she would give to students that are debating to continue on their master’s degree.
“I feel that if you continue from undergrad, it is a lot easier. It is a lot less hectic. I started right away at Summer Session I. It is one or two classes. You’re not taking so much. I never took less than fifteen hours during my undergrad, so it is a lot less of a work load, however, the time invested is still the same because one class in undergrad is about half a class for graduate classes. It’s a lot more reading. In my perspective, it’s a lot more of what you love and study. You’re not dealing with classes that you are not a hundred percent into. My best advice to give is for students to do it. With our generation of students going to college, the bachelor’s degree is becoming equivalent to a high school degree. If you have a master’s, it is a lot more in your power. Many of the jobs I’ve applied to asked for a master’s degree. Even part-time jobs have at least asked for a bachelor’s. I strongly believe that in the next five years, bachelor degrees will become the minimum requirement.”
Martinez’s has been very experienced in both employment and academics. She’s been a member of the Student Government Association for all her undergrad years and continues as a graduate student. Her deep involvement in campus activates built up this moment where she presides as the student regent. Martinez love and admiration for her campus exemplifies that opportunities are there for the taking. Her position has student regent is well deserved.