Aside from the two candidates running for president, the Sonoma State community has another candidate to watch on November 8. Sonoma State University Professor Mariana G. Martinez is running for a seat on the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees.
Martinez is running to represent the 3-4-5 district, which covers Rohnert Park, Cotati, most of Santa Rosa and several areas of unincorporated Sonoma County. In a recent podcast with bilingual newspaper La Prensa Sonoma, Martinez talks about her life growing up, coming to the United States from Mexico at age 8 and the process of applying for college. She also talks about the factors that led her, the first in her entire family to attend college, to pursue a doctorate.
“I’ve always been raised to be able to survive on my own, to work, to do what you need to do to get to the next level,” Martinez says in the interview.
She is aware that she’s part of the 0.02 percent of Latina high school graduates to attain a doctorate degree, but shrugs off the statistical improbability of her achievement. “Just because I don’t fall into the ideas of what you think a Latina or Mexicana should be like, that’s not my problem,” says Martinez.
Her own education started locally at Lawrence Cook Junior High, followed by Elsie Allen High School and then successive degrees from Sonoma State (B.A., Chicano and Latino Studies; Spanish), University of the Pacific (M.A., Education, Curriculum and Instruction), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Ph.D., Education Policy, Organization and Leadership).
Martinez, who also works at Sonoma State as a research coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program, has several people who believe in her in this election. The lengthy list of endorsements includes Dolores Huerta, County Supervisor Susan Gorin, Santa Rosa councilmembers Julie Combs and Gary Wysocky, Rohnert Park vice-mayor Jake MacKenzie, the SRJC Student Government Assembly, the Sonoma County Democratic Party and several other community leaders and organizations.
That belief is not only meaningful to her, but a key component to her success. “I got to this level because I had people who genuinely believed in me,” says Martinez.
Listen to the entire interview online.