Being prepared and self-sufficient is Luna Martinez’s strong suit. She’s graduating with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health this weekend, has job offers coming in, and is already thinking about graduate school in 2019.
Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Martinez was born a Rams fan. Four of her family members attended Colorado State University, and after visiting the campus, CSU became her dream school.
Before enrolling at CSU in 2015, she spent two years at Front Range Community College, studying business administration with a concentration in hospitality and tourism.
“My three biggest passion areas in life revolve around helping people, eating food, and seeing the world,” says Martinez. “So that’s kind of where hospitality and tourism made sense for me.”
But her electives were all science courses like microbiology and physiology. After a job in food service, Martinez realized that she’d like to combine her passions in a job that includes both: a health inspector.
After emancipating herself from her parents and demonstrating she was completely self-sufficient, Martinez was granted in-state tuition; she’s been paying for her own education expenses her entire college career. When she enrolled at CSU, Martinez discovered environmental health and quickly declared it as her major.
She interned with the City of Fort Collins’ Healthy Homes Program for two years and has participated in Alternative Spring Breaks each year, where she learned about issues surrounding homelessness, education, and integration for involuntarily displaced refugees.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have such incredible mentors,” says Martinez. “I would not be able to do any of these things, see any of these things, get these experiences, without the people that have influenced me and believed in me.”
As president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, being a woman of color studying science is something Martinez doesn’t take lightly. She’s is proud to represent the field, especially as a child raised in a family full of strong and independent women.
Martinez already has a job offer waiting for her, but she’s waiting to hear back from one more before she makes her big decision.
“I don’t have a dream job,” she says. “I want to keep checking in with myself, keep growing, seeing and doing a lot of different and exciting things.”