By Jessica Nager
Linda Martinez has been appointed Mentor Alumni Program Coordinator for TRIO Outreach Programs at UCSD. TRIO, a unit of UCSD’s Student Educational Advancement Department under Student Affairs, offers academic support to college-bound students through its Upward Bound Classic, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Educational Talent Search initiatives.
TRIO’s Mentoring Alumni Program is important in that it strengthens the bonds of TRIO alumni to the UCSD community and creates new relationships through outreach initiatives.
As a newly-created position, the Mentor Alumni Program Coordinator post takes graduates from TRIO programs and creates an environment for them to become mentors to new participants.
That’s where Martinez, a long-time mentor who has worked with students in Arizona and Utah as well, comes in. “Consolidating the work makes for a more focused mentoring effort,” she said. “The alumni connection to the program becomes more solid, too, because of an ongoing communication with them.”
TRIO’s Upward Bound Classic focuses on selected San Diego Unified and Sweetwater Union high school students who will be the first in their family to attend college. Upward Bound Math and Science targets students who have an interest in pursuing math and science related majors and careers from San Diego Unified, Sweetwater Union, and Imperial Valley areas. Educational Talent Search reaches out to middle and high school students in the Grossmont Union, La Mesa/Spring Valley and Lemon Grove school districts.
One of Martinez’s first endeavors in her new position will begin at Grossmont College this spring when she will contact former TRIO Educational Talent Search students in hopes of encouraging them to continue their studies at UCSD and to begin mentoring younger students. After establishing this pilot program which is directed at 60 seniors from Educational Talent Search Martinez says the program will be expanded to include Southwest College, Mesa College, and San Diego Community College, which has the largest population of TRIO alumni.
Martinez is excited about advising students again. In her spare time, Martinez still acts as a mentor to five students from a previous counseling position years ago and she is eager to make new connections at UCSD in her TRIO position. “Three of the five students are graduating this year and won’t need me anymore. When that happens, that’s when you know you’ve done your job,” she remarked. “I’m excited about mentoring new students.”
In her new position, she hopes to help in the future growth of TRIO Outreach. We want to involve the parents,” says Martinez, who formerly worked at TRIO for three years, assisting with the recruitment of college student counselors and training them in the procedures of the TRIO program. “We want them to help recruit more students, to support the participants, to help with fundraisers, and to get their opinions on how to make the programs even better.”
Martinez received her bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Smith College in Massachusetts.