Assistant professor Jenny Martínez makes for a Good Neighbor
October 21, 2015
Assistant professor Jenny Martínez reflects on how USC's Good Neighbors campaign impacted her own professional path
By Jenny Martínez
The Good Neighbors-funded STAR program connected me with a USC research laboratory during my senior year in high school. I worked in the Alcohol and Brain Research Laboratory under Dr. Ronald Alkana and Dr. Daryl Davies. I spent several hours each day during and after school in the lab engaging in various research-related activities. I learned to read research articles, operated lab equipment, collected data for my research project, developed research posters and presented my work. I also received a stipend to work in the lab full-time during the summer with graduate students and STAR alumni mentors.
The STAR program gave me early, immersive and unparalleled exposure to the scientific process and academia that would have otherwise been out of my reach. I met people who helped me apply to college, taught me about college and graduate school, shared their experiences with me and supported me as I made decisions about my education. I find that I am continuing to build on the base of networking, research and professional skills that I started developing in STAR even to this day as an occupational therapist and faculty member here at USC.
Programs like these make higher education and professional careers accessible. They are truly worthwhile efforts toward addressing the devastating effects that a decreased availability of social capital, finances, and access to high-quality resources can have. These initiatives teach new knowledge, provide meaningful experiences, increase confidence and socialize students to professional skills and behaviors, all while expanding support networks that will be there even beyond college admission.
USC’s 21st Good Neighbors campaign, with a fundraising goal of $1.6 million, runs through the month of October.