Student Stories: Jessica Faith Martinez

Student Stories: Jessica Faith Martinez
Posted on 11/20/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Student Stories: Jessica Faith MartinezName: Jessica Faith Martinez
School: Grand Canyon University
Degree: Master’s in Education in School Counseling

Content warning: Jessica’s story is inspiring and uplifting. It also includes discussions of child abuse and other traumas that help the reader connect with Jessica’s academic and personal journey. Jessica has overcome many adversities, and we are so proud of her achievements.

I am currently continuing my education at Grand Canyon University. I chose GCU, because it was the only school that offered an online option for my degree: A Master’s in Education in school counseling. I also love that Grand Canyon University is a faith-based Christian school. I earned my bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice in 2022 from Arizona State University and my associate’s degree in criminal Justice in 2019 from Scottsdale Community College.

I graduated from Red Mountain High School in December 2014, a semester earlier than my graduating class. I started college in August 2015. My first year of college wasn’t too bad. I remember being super-excited to start. To make my first day as smooth as possible, I marked all my classes on a map. I was inspired to study school counseling by my foster mom, who is a school psychologist. I also want to make a positive impact in someone's life. By becoming a school counselor I am able to do just that.

I have faced many challenges to get where I am today. At the age of 9, my siblings and I were taken away from my mom due to an unstable environment, including drug and alcohol abuse. While in foster care, I was sexually abused by a foster brother, and then went from home to home, a treatment facility, and group homes. In high school, I lost a close friend in a car accident; she was a passenger and the person driving was under the influence. After high school, I faced unstable living environments and sometimes would sleep inside my car outside my nana’s house, because so many others lived with her. In May 2019, I lost my aunt in a horrible car accident that brought up unresolved feelings about my high school friend who passed away. I struggled in school but kept pushing myself to be the first in my family to receive a postsecondary education. In February 2021, I lost my great aunt and great grandma within days of each other. Later that same year, my nana passed away. Again, I struggled in school and my grades slipped. I reeled from the pain of so much death, but I was able to pick myself back up, not just for them, but for my own family, especially my kids.

Looking back, there is nothing I would do differently. Everything that has happened in my life was all in God’s plan for me, and I am just going with it. Once I graduate from GCU, I plan to apply for a job with Mesa Public Schools, where my kids attend, or Salt River Schools.

The Salt River Higher Education program has helped me tremendously. Obviously, they have helped me financially, but my advisor Joyla has been a great support system, especially when I was working towards my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

Jessica Martinez
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