Stories of Excellence–Marlen Martinez
Marlen Martinez is a trailblazer. While her educational journey has not always been easy, she has preserved and has achieved goals she once thought out of her reach. She now encourages other to do the same.
As a first-generation citizen and the first in her family to attend college, Martinez did not have a network of knowledge to draw upon. A high school tour of Mitchell’s Statesville Campus exposed her to her local college. After graduating, she decided to attend Mitchell based on location and cost.
Martinez began her classes in Mitchell with an interest in law. After exploring several classes and careers, she decided to pursue a degree in business and accounting focusing on careers in the health care sector. Like many Mitchell students, Martinez juggled her studies and work life as a full-time student with two part time jobs. She endeavored to support her studies and to contribute to the bills at home. Martinez found a supportive network of faculty and staff at Mitchell, helping her to establish a balance in her roles.
Her instructors were one of the best parts of her college experience. “I had outstanding teachers,” she shared. “They pushed me to achieve my goals.” From instructor Emily Goins who made chemistry enjoyable to Rita Taggert who calmed her fears about public speaking, Martinez was challenged but supported as she learned and grew.
Martinez graduated in 2004 with two associate degrees, one in business and one in accounting. She then began coursework at Forsyth Technical Community College to earn a degree in radiography/x-ray technology. She continued on to obtain her bachelor’s degree in allied healthcare management and master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Franklin University. Martinez noted how all of her degrees were built upon her foundation at Mitchell. “Starting my education at Mitchell helped build my pathway,” she said, “and enabled me to pursue advancement in my studies.”
Martinez began working at Brookdale Peachtree assisted living in 2007 and has advanced her career as she has achieved her various degrees. She currently holds the position of Resident Care Coordinator with Brookdale. In this position, she oversees the care of residents, manages staffing, makes purchasing and budget decisions, and coordinates operations of the facility. Martinez enjoys her position and values her ability to help and encourage others. In the future, Martinez would like to continue her role in the medical field while traveling.
Martinez advises current and future Mitchell students to continue their studies. “Do what makes you happy in the long run, because only you can make that change,” she shared. “Take all the classes you can.” She encourages first-generation students to be a trailblazer and further their education. “It will shine the spotlight on you,” she noted. “It will give you so many opportunities in life to grow as a person and professionally.”
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