From Student to Student Mentor: Meet Christina Martinez

January 28, 2014
by Pablo Valdivia

Christina Martinez, the Undergraduate Academic Advisor for the Rady School, is an advocate for many and defeatist for none. As a former UCSD student herself, she knows a thing or two about navigating the academic careers of students in positive directions. Let’s meet the self-proclaimed reading enthusiast and educational proponent who helps make the Rady experience far more maneuverable.

  1. Describe your position at Rady and little bit about what you do? I’m the Undergraduate Advisor at Rady so I handle all the student advising for undergrads. That can be everything from answering questions about “What class should I take next quarter?” to “I got an F in a class, what do I do now?” I just generally try to help students navigate the different university requirements and bureaucracies and get them where they need to be. I’ve been with Rady for 5 ½ years. I started working here as a Faculty Assistant right after I graduated from UCSD in 2008 with a Literature and Writing degree.
  2. What inspired you to work for Rady after your UCSD experience? I took a few teacher education courses as an undergrad and realized that being a teacher was not something that I was ready to do yet.  I was very shy as an undergrad.  I was however very interested in education so I knew I wanted to do something in that arena.  I looked for jobs at UCSD and I just got pretty lucky that a spot opened up here at Rady. It’s nice to be on-campus and still be a part of education; it’s a very dynamic and exciting environment.
  3.  What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in your lifetime so far? I think it’s really important to always be learning and growing even if you’re not in college. There’s still learning to do, still books to read, still interesting things to be trying and doing, so that’s how I try to live my life.
  4. Who or what inspires you to do and be better? I had a lot of really great professors as an undergrad and a lot of them have become friends and really good mentors as well. Also, I met my husband here at UCSD in the writing program and I would say that we keep each other motivated.  He works in education, too so it’s fun to go home at the end of the day and swap stories and tips.
  5. What sort of contribution do you hope to make as an academic advisor? At the end of the day I just want to help students and make getting through college as painless and as possible for them because I think all the rules and requirements can be really overwhelming. Even if the answer to a student’s request is “No” I at least try to give them an understanding of why the answer is “No” and why the rules exist.  It’s all about keeping students happy and helping them focus on learning in the classroom.
  6. What do you enjoy doing in your off time? I read a lot (some favorites are authors like Clarice Lispector and Margarita Karapanou). I also like being outside, so I go to the Farmer’s market or go hiking, jogging, any way to get outdoors.
  7. Do you have any favorite places in San Diego? I’m from San Diego so I’ve had a lot of time to explore the city. I really like my neighborhood, which is University Heights. It’s close to Balboa Park and there’s tons of really fun restaurants. I also like a lot of the hikes around the city, such as Cabrillo Monument and Torrey Pines. I really like going camping out in the desert, too.
  8. Is there anything the students have in turn taught you in working with them? Absolutely. I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate with people. Every student that comes in and sits down at my desk has a completely different communication style, whether it be language barrier or personality type, so my communication skills have greatly developed.
  9. What advice would you give to both the undergrads and MBA students alike? I think a lot of students feel a lot of pressure to succeed, whether that’s pressure that’s placed on them by their parents, professors or their own personal ambitions.  I think that can be a great motivation, but I believe a lot of times it’s really helpful for people to step back and enjoy their lives too.  School is really important and it’s important to do well, but it’s also important to have fun during your undergrad or graduate studies, meet people, join clubs, and have really good experiences that you can take with you for the rest of your life.
  10. Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know. I love to cook!  And I like to eat weird, healthy things like hemp seeds and chia seeds and kale-cucumber juice.

Written by marketing and communications intern Pablo Valdivia.