Edna Martinez at the California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRUCE FEAGLE
Edna Martinez supports the empowerment of people and the community through education. “It is about social mobility,” says the associate vice president of the California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus. “A four-year degree transforms the lives of our students, their families, and ultimately the community. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked us No. 4 for promoting social mobility. To me, that’s the most important ranking that we can have as an institution.”
For that reason, the campus has set an enrollment goal of 8,000 students, emphasizing recruitment in the East Valley. “Access breaks down barriers,” Martinez says, noting more than 80 percent of the campus’s students are the first in their family to pursue a college degree. “Fostering a sense of belonging is extremely important to that goal and I am committed to enhancing the student experience.”
To that end, the school will add a Student Services Building, the first new building in the campus’s master plan set to come to fruition. “It will allow us to offer equitable services and amenities to our students,” Martinez says, explaining the center will be a hub for an advising/tutoring center, career center, expanded campus library, group study space, campus bookstore, food services, a student health center and a recreation and wellness center.
The campus tunes many of its academic programs to the needs of the local economy, including nursing and hospitality management. Martinez, who previously was a professor of educational leadership at the University of Texas at El Paso, also wants to develop the pipeline of educational leaders in local school districts.
A hiker and kickboxer in her leisure time, Martinez comes to work every day to make the campus a more welcoming and comfortable place for students to achieve their educational goals.