With his sights primarily set on Rice University or Johns Hopkins University, 19-year-old Gabriel Martinez has plans to make a difference in the medical world.
“In high school my strengths were in math and science, and I’ve always liked helping others,” said Martinez. “Narrowing down my career interests to health care will allow me to help people in a more direct way.”
His interest in entering the medical field began at an even younger age. Just before turning 8 years old, his twin brother passed away from rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of embryonal cells that would normally develop into skeletal muscles. “I didn’t know it then, but that would have an impact on me wanting to study how to treat cancer. I’m also interested in anesthesiology. I’m looking forward to medical school so I can figure out what I’m good at. Ultimately, I want to work in the medical area where I can do my best. If I’m good in an unexpected area, and I know it will help someone, then that’s what I want to do.”
Named a 2014 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar, Martinez is one of 207 PTK students nationwide to receive a $1,000 scholarship to aide in educational expenses while enrolled in an associate degree program.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the PTK Foundation and provides Leaders of Promise Global Scholarships, earmarked for international students.
“PTK definitely prepares you academically for moving on to a four-year university, but the community service projects they do help make you become a more well-rounded student. Being a member gave me that extra motivation to start doing things in the community on my own,” he added.
Martinez also participates in a youth ministry organization as a Master Guide and an Adventurers Club leader. “I have my own class where I teach them how to read Bible verses, memorize the books of the Bible, teach them about the church, and have annual camping trips. We basically help them have fun, positive experiences with the church.”
Martinez says had it not been for the benefits of being a PTK member, he may not have had the educational opportunities he’s had at San Jacinto College. “PTK has allowed me to get my foot in the door and helped me understand the benefits of student organizations. I never really wanted to join anything. I thought all I needed to do was do well in my schoolwork and that would be enough, but that’s not the case. Colleges and universities want to see that you have the social skills and professionalism to be a part of their programs. Organizations like PTK help you build on those skills, but it also lets you be part of a community of great people that you may have never known otherwise. PTK is one of the best investments you can make in your educational and professional future.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.