Alumna Spotlight: Jazmine Martinez
Meet Jazmine Martinez, a recent graduate of CSULB who has completed three degrees in her academic tenure at the university. Like many students in the College of Health and Human Services, one of her core motivating forces during her time at the beach was the desire to help underserved communities and help facilitate the widespread knowledge on the importance of health in these communities. Read on to learn more about Jazmine's journey to success.
HCC’s mission is to support diverse students in their pursuit of a career related to healthcare. We do this by partnering with healthcare entities to provide summer internships to diverse, top quality undergraduate students and recent graduates. HCC interns also participate in experiential professional development activities during their internship. Currently, HCC has close to three thousand alumni- individuals who have completed our summer internship at our partner sites.
My role is a new position within the organization and is designed to develop and lead strategic initiatives that provide support to our alumni on their professional trajectories. In line with HCC’s mission to develop diverse healthcare leaders, I am responsible for developing and implementing programming focused on graduate school preparation, professional development, and career development for HCC’s alumni. In addition, I am responsible for developing and managing HCC’s alumni communications strategy and on-line resources for alumni. I facilitate and coordinate relationships with HCC’s extensive network of interns, alumni, host sites, mentors, employers, graduate and health professions educational institution partners, pipeline programs and associations. I also provide coaching and mentorship to support the career development of the range of HCC alumni.
Although I am the lead for alumni initiatives, I do not do this alone. I collaborate with amazing team members and stellar leadership to carry out my responsibilities.
I have always been passionate about supporting first-generation, diverse students. And I am also very passionate about improving healthcare access for and the health of underserved communities in the U.S. Having culturally humble, and empathetic healthcare leaders is a huge part of increasing healthcare access and quality care for all. This is because having diverse healthcare leaders who can relate to underserved communities leads to decisions and policies that reflect the interest of those communities. I am fortunate to have a career that allows me to merge my two passions.
The main challenge in my specific role, not necessarily my career, is that our team is all remotely located. We are located in different parts of the nation and communicate virtually. But because of this dynamic, we all understand that communication is vital and actually communicate more frequently and effectively than some companies.
My team without a doubt makes my job enjoyable. I work with very intelligent individuals who also have a huge heart. I love that we challenge one another to think critically and to find solutions to problems. We also push one another, and support each other to deliver quality work because we all want to see our interns and alumni succeed. I also truly enjoy interacting with HCC alumni. I am astounded by how driven each alumnus is. Each one has a unique story and is pursuing a unique path, yet they all share a similar drive to excel and to help underserved communities.
I have to say that the biggest influence on my success thus far has been my experience with The Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, & Leadership Training. I gained tremendous public health research experience and a valuable support network. But the program that first exposed me to research and influenced my path to graduate school was the Roald E. McNair Scholars program. I also gained great value from participating in the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars program and the Exito Latino Cancer Research Institute.
I am also proud to have been part of La Raza Association and Chicano & Latino Studies Student Association.
General advice to young students: Get as much work experience as you can, even if it is volunteer work or an unpaid internships. Experiencing different jobs/industries/teams is how you truly find your passion. Also try to get management experience even if it is at a retail store of food chain. Experience, particularly management experience, makes you more marketable upon graduation.
Take risks. Don’t be afraid of failing or making the wrong choice. You only fail if you don’t learn from your mishaps and don’t apply something different in your new attempts. Try out different majors, run for office of different organizations, apply for internships or fellowships that you think are out of reach.
If you want to do something- do it. Don’t wait for someone’s approval or permission. For example, if you want to get into med school and you want to get experience, go to your local non-profit and ask if you can volunteer to do blood pressure checks on folks who attend their events. Or if you are interested in learning web design, there are plenty of free or low-cost online tutorials, and plenty of platforms for you to create your own website.
Advice to public health students at CSULB: Volunteer and get acquainted with The Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, & Leadership Training. The team there is a tremendous resource not just for students, but for the community in Long Beach. And they are a tremendous asset to the CSULB research community.
Get experience. Put into practice what you read about and learn in your courses. Apply the behavioral and learning theories you read about in class. There are plenty of public data sets to help you get statistical analysis experience. Build connections and collaborations with individuals in other majors because, as we increasingly learn, true health equity can only be attained by tackling the social determinants of health. And to improve SDOH requires cross-sector endeavors by interdisciplinary teams including clinicians, social workers, policymakers, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, etc.
My biggest advice is to try enjoy the process of earning your degree. Don’t focus only on the end result, try to also focus on what you are learning through the process.