Where Are They Now Alumni Profile - Meet Jacqueline Martinez
Workplace Partnership Proves that Education Pays Off
Students interested in earning a college degree have many decisions to make, including which college to attend. But for Rio Salado College alum Jacqueline Martinez, she believes the college made the choice.
“Actually, I feel like Rio Salado chose me,” Martinez said. “I grew up in Buckeye, Arizona, and as a graduating senior in 1985, Rio was the only college that offered courses in my community.”
Martinez initially took Rio Salado courses at Buckeye Union High School without completing a degree.
“Later, when I returned to college in 2008, I chose Rio Salado again,” Martinez said. “I used to pass by the Rio building off of the Broadway curve in Tempe on my way home and it felt familiar, much like home.”
At the time, Martinez was employed at Salt River Project (SRP) when she learned about its educational partnership with Rio Salado where employees earn college credits for workplace training.
Martinez earned 16 college credits through the partnership, which she applied toward an associate of arts degree that she completed in 2016.
She credits the convenience and flexibility of online classes at Rio Salado for helping her reach this milestone.
“I loved learning from home,” Martinez said. “I could concentrate and work at my own pace. The platform that was used, especially the MATHLAB, was friendly and effective as a learning tool. The professors were readily accessible for questions and feedback.”
She especially enjoyed her astronomy class at Rio Salado.
“My teacher was amazing,” Martinez said. “Now, astronomy doesn’t seem such a mystery or so far away. It is like a beautiful clock, with a mastermind behind it. Astronomy fills the senses with math, logic, beauty, creation, color, explosions, power, energy, and stardust!”
Today, Martinez is still at SRP, where she was promoted to Budget Analyst Lead. After earning her Rio Salado associates degree, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English with emphasis in professional writing from Grand Canyon University.
“SRP offers tuition reimbursement and college open houses to support employees in their education and development,” Martinez said. “Were it not for my start at Rio, I would not have had the opportunity to advance as an analyst, much less as a leader. Education pays off!”
Martinez aspires to be a life-long learner and contribute to her workplace and community in the future. When advising others on their college choice, Martinez only has one suggestion.
“I would recommend Rio Salado because they have been in the Valley since the 70s,” Martinez said. “They have staying power. They care about the community, and most importantly, they are accessible in price point and platform.”
By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer