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Rosario Martinez, L&T'11: Community and Social Change

Rosario MartinezTexas native Rosario Martinez discovered at HGSE that she was not alone in her education mission. “I have met some amazing people,” she says of her time here.

Equally, Martinez has affected her fellow students in the Learning and Teaching (L&T) Program.

“Rosario not only talks about community and social change, she lives it. She is kind and truthful, and brings to light the hidden privileges that many try to ignore. Her commitment and willingness to engage others about a wide range of topics and ideas is amazing,” says Senior Lecturer Katherine Boles, director of L&T. “Rosario is always eager to discuss and explore intellectual ideas. She works tirelessly and contributes fully to conversation both inside and outside of class. She will be a wonderful teacher -- her goal after graduation. She is passionate about helping children rise above expectations. She is true to her culture, to her community, and to her family. She is there for people when they most need her. She is an inspiration to us all, and greatly deserves this award.”

Martinez will bring her new skills and experience from HGSE to San Antonio, Texas where she will be working in special education as part of Teach For America. Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for L&T, Martinez answered some questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.

What was your goal upon entering the Ed School? I wanted to gain concrete skills to be an effective teacher while also engaging in discussions about broader issues within education.

Is that goal any different now? My goal now is to take what I’ve learned here and return back home to create change. Eventually, I hope to insert community knowledge back into institutions of higher learning.

Is there any professor who significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School? [Adjunct Lecturer] Tina Blythe’s dedication and work has transformed me. She represents, for me, what it means to be an educator who is compassionate and respectful. In addition to gaining pure inspiration, I have also learned practical skills about protocols and creating safe spaces for collaboration. Tina is a powerful woman who shares her life and love for teaching with her students.

How did you stay inspired throughout the year? I stayed inspired by getting involved with campus organizations such as Comunidad Latina, ALANA, FIERCE, and the Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC). In particular, AOCC provided me with an alternative space to have dialogue about diversity, race, equity, and critical pedagogy.

What will you change in education and why? I plan on changing the lives of my students through recognizing their humanity and providing spaces for their own self empowerment. Though I do plan on starting in my own classroom (in one school, in one community), I believe in generational transformation of the school system.