Adams State student lands prestigious internship

(06-29-2015)

Article by Pauline Victoria Martinez

Pauline Victoria Martinez

Adams State University honor student Pauline Victoria Martinez was chosen for an internship in Washington D.C. at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The internship is collaboration between the NSF Summer Scholars Program and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program. It is a ten-week, very competitive, paid internship. HACU received 2,500 applications from students around the country for the summer session and chose 250 of those applicants for government internships. A majority of these internships are located at various government agencies in D.C., and a few others are scattered around the country.

During her internship Martinez will work within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the NSF. Martinez' passion lies in conducting research that improves the lives of women and ethnic minorities. While at the NSF, Martinez will have the opportunity to conduct research affecting NSF policies and participate in the President's Broadening Participation Initiative. "I am excited to learn more about how research affects policy, especially in regards to women and minorities," Martinez said. She left for the internship June 8 and will return August 8, 2015. Having applied for the internship in November of 2014, she was interviewed over the phone on May 18 and officially offered the position on May 19.

Martinez became aware of the internship during a trip with other ASU students when they traveled to the HACU annual conference as part of their Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement (CASA) Center programing. A generous grant from ASU paid for the student's travel and registration for the conference. It was there that Martinez was able to speak with several government officials who encouraged her to apply for a summer internship.

The Adams State CASA Center was established to enrich and honor the local Latino/a community, identity and heritage. The programing at the CASA Center fosters an environment that promotes learning, celebrates all cultures, and develops leadership and student success with a global perspective.

Martinez said: "CASA is my home away from home. I go there to cook my lunch, to see friends, study, learn about other cultures, express my own culture, and sometimes take a much needed nap between classes." The CASA Center has become a haven for many local commuter students and other ethnic minorities at ASU. "I know that I would have never heard of this internship, much less applied for it, if it hadn't been for CASA and Oneyda."

Oneyda Maestas, CASA Center director, said: "The HACU Conference changes student's lives by giving them the opportunity to expand their learning to a greater leadership capacity by providing experiences where the students can advocate for themselves, network with global organizations, and make connections that lead to possible career paths."

Upon return from the annual HACU Leadership Conference, the students have to pay it forward by creatively designing, executing and completing a leadership project or endeavor that demonstrates the transfer of knowledge and leadership skills gained by attending the HACU Conference. To date, fifty CASA students have attended the leadership conference and three have been selected and awarded internship placements with HACU with lucrative job placements. "It is truly inspiring to witness students reaching beyond what they thought was their potential," Maestas said.

Martinez believes in paying it forward. "I would really like to help other students get this same opportunity. ASU has had a few students get this internship in the past with other agencies, but I would like to see this internship become a trend at ASU. It would be amazing to have at least one student each semester involved in the HACU internship."