KIPP SoCal Alumna, Veronica Martinez Awarded Fulbright to Study in Spain

KIPP SoCal Alumna, Veronica Martinez Awarded Fulbright to Study in Spain

By: NHI Magazine 

Veronica Martinez, [alumna of KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free, college preparatory charter public 5-8 middle school in San Diego], has had an incredible educational journey [...] and though it’s been punctuated by successes, she sometimes thinks back on her fourth-grade year, when a teacher told her she didn’t see college or even graduating high school in her future. That set her on a course to transfer to a charter [public] school, to learn the power of mentoring, to discover the National Hispanic Institute, and finally, to earn a Fulbright award to study in Spain. 

Martinez, [who recently] graduated from Pitzer College, tweeted about her acceptance, noting: “In 4th grade, my teacher told my immigrant parents she didn’t see college in my future, nor did she even see me graduating from high school. Little did she know I had it in me.

She then added, “If you ever enter the education field, you better not doubt a single child.” 

[Martinez] is no stranger to studying abroad. While at Pitzer, working on her degree in Organizational Studies — with an emphasis in International Politics and Spanish and Cultures — she went to both Vietnam and Spain. There, she fostered her interest in what she described in her [scholarship] application as “the power of how bilingualism can increase social and cultural knowledge in a community while providing upliftment amidst a globalizing world.” 

Martinez found a school in Spain, La Comunidad de Madrid, where she can do independent research to learn more about mentoring and teaching English — two integral elements of her own education. While that’s a perfect place for her to utilize a Fulbright award, she inadvertently selected one of the most competitive countries for the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board’s prestigious awards. 

She noted, “I need to not think about that acceptance rate” while preparing her application, and thinks that there’s a lesson there for other [students] aspiring to make their marks in the world. [...]

“A lot of students are able to pitch their own research and pitch their own ideas on why they want to go to a certain school,” she added, noting that she’s hopeful her success will inspire other [students] toward their own successful applications. [...]

In her application, she wrote, “The transformational effect of caring mentorship motivated me to become a compassionate mentor or coach that could give students, like my younger self, the support needed for succeeding academically.” [...]

[Starting this Fall], Martinez [has been in] Spain [and will be there] for at least a year, but may also look to extend her Fulbright-funded studies into a second year. She’s looking for her research to eventually lead to policy changes, and in part drawing from her [Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, NHI's flagship leadership development experience], she’s thinking about how to make that a reality. 

“I honestly have no idea how my life would have been if I would have stayed in the [traditional] school system,” she reflected. 

This story was originally published in the NHI Magazine. For the full story visit, NHI Magazine.  

About the Author: The National Hispanic Institute's mission is to create experiences that engage achieving high school and college age youth in community leadership roles that advance the quality of life.