Edna Martinez – LatPro Scholarship Finalist for August 2012

I grew up in Ciudad Juarez in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Gangs and violence were a frequent topic in the mouths of the concerned neighbors; I was 12 years old when I witnessed a young man, no older than 15, rip the eyebrow piercing off another teenager with a pair of pincers; the sole concept of such an act was a shock to me and one question kept repeating itself in my head: What was he thinking? It’s not a morbid curiosity that sparked this question, but rather a desire to understand thoroughly the theories of crime and to be able to apply them in a crime-ridden environment in order to develop a form of therapy that would aid in successfully socializing the criminal mind.

It was during my second year of middle school when I decided that I wanted to study Psychology. I had volunteered to visit a center in Juarez called CREAMAC; this center specializes in rehabilitating and assisting patients with mental illnesses and, despite my eagerness to assist, learn, and participate, I was not prepared to see what I saw that day. The conditions were inhumane and unsanitary; patients were left to themselves and locked up in prison-like cells when the personnel wasn’t around; there was no information on the mental health providers that attended to the patients, and no mention whatsoever of therapy sessions for them. Crime inside the facility was also high, due to inmates either robbing or engaging in physical violence with one another, not to mention sexual harassment and abuse. It was then that I fully decided that my interest in Psychology would not end once I achieved to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

After I graduated high school, I immediately applied to college in order to start my core curriculum with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. My volunteer work, however, ended once I learned of the curriculum that a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology provided; having thought of Psychology all my life as a first-hand experience with patients, I was not prepared to learn that such degree focused mostly in research. After reading through several articles on the career path of a Clinical Psychologist, I was disenchanted; however, I reminded myself why I had been studying for and, determined, I resolved to experience first-hand a research setting.

After two years of research under a Social Cognition laboratory in which we studied social perspective and inter-group relations and conflict between majority and minority groups, I found out about a Master’s program in Counseling Psychology. It was after episodes of anxiety about my future career path and my own research in what to do for the future that I ended up finding out about this Master’s program. This degree is what will help me reach my goal of working in a prison setting and developing a form of therapy that will prove efficient in halting recidivism in crime, which, in turn, with help rehabilitate criminals in order to reincorporate them into society.’s scholarship program for Hispanic students is proud to announce Edna Martinez as one of the six finalists for its August 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • Psychology by Mexicans is still a undervalued study. But
    today more than anything people that truly wants to help others by the noble
    task of understanding them is hard to find. We need people that care of others
    and truly are looking for a solution to the universal puzzle as it is the mind.
    Thank you for being of the few that has dedicated her personal life and career
    study by wanting to help others. I truly hope that you can get this scholarship.

  • I really liked how you expressed yourself and your desires, also I think that the essay is very clear and very well written.

  • Quite interesting the way you got inspired to study psychology, not everyone haves that same initiative and gut to fight something so strong. 

    Congratulations, you have potential. I hope you get picked to receive this scholarship. Good luck! 

  • I think your goals are very specifically developed and you have a wonderful target. The way you present yourself as a person working for others shows how passionate you are about the world; about how you are responding to the negativities even when it becomes difficult for you to do so. I respect you very much.

  • I really enjoy reading your essay. It was very interesting to know what triggered and mostly defined the path you will follow. The essay was really well written and the ideas clearly defined.

  • I personally enjoyed reading your essay because as you, I grew up in Juarez city and I have seen and watch things that will scare most of the people. Sadly is a reality that in your city they don´t have a special center to rehabilitate and assist patients with mental illness and that the city has been from bad to worst in violent acts that go from insults to murders and rapes.
    I´m sure that you will reach your goal and work in a federal prison and, be the one how will develop this new techniques to treat and prevent the overpopulation and recidivism in prisons.
    You really deserve this scholarship, you are an excellent student and your life goal is clear, this will just make the path smother for you.

  • The personal experiences that lead up to you choosing your career path were both based on the reality a country like Mexico has been living for decades and on the fact that your first inquiries about criminal behavior came from direct contact with it. I find your essay both revealing and refreshing, since I have not seen the kind of focus you wish to implement in the identification of criminal behavior in all of its forms. Excellent essay, I really hope you win.

  • I enjoyed this reading because I grew up in juarez too. I have seen some bad things too, I saw how they blew the face of a guy with a shotgun, i think that most of the people don’t understand that a mental illness is a special treatment basis.
    Hopefully you will reach your goal with the hard work you are making, and by maintaining your goals up as a priority in life.

  • Your essay was brilliant, well developed, and very inspiring. Over all, short and sweet. You are the only one I’ve ever seen to be so passionate about studying a subject such as Psychology and about accomplishing their goals, if anyone deserves this scholarship it’s you, and I really hope you can get it. Good luck and keep up the good work!

  • I love the fact that you want to do something that will in it’s own way change the world. Most people go into the
    Psychology major not really knowing what they want to do but you really do. I loved the essay, it’s to the point and I feel your love and dedication to the subject matter. You’re not just trying to do it cause it’s something someone said may be good. Also you’ve given yourself years to plan out and arrive at what you are doing now. If someone should get this scholarship it should be you.

  • Very nice written LEE 😀 I enjoyed reading this on your insite into why you are doing what you do. Anything you need at all, I am of full support for you.

  • Your ability writing this essay blew my mind. It was so clear and inspirational that for a moment I wanted to study Psychology too, and that was because of you and your desire to help others. It’s so amazing and something to be noticed that you started this because of something bad, and instead of doing nothing or just ignore it as most people do, you decided to take action in the matter. I’m kind of envious of the path you’re following because you already have it clear and you have your goals set. I really hope that you get this scholarship so you can accomplish those goals. Good luck!

  • It makes me sad that at a very young age you encountered such an experience, but on the other hand, that was what inspired you, motivated you to become a psycology. You are a very perseverant and determinant youn woman, and that my dear niece, will bring you such satisfactions in life, I know you will achieve this and everything that you want to achieve. I really hope you get the scholarship, you deserve it. Good luck

  • I don’t think I have ever mentioned this before but I have an older sister who I call Lee. We’re not blood-related or anything, but she is the first older “internet” sister I ever had and I’m sure that we have all come across someone who has been that special brother or sister who just really got to you and you’ve never wanted to let go of since. One which you just can’t help but look up to.

    I met Lee yeaaars ago in a small online writer’s community called Mibba, and from sharing common interests and laughing very hard at the stupidest things we could come up with we grew closer and closer. The more I got to know her, the more I grew to admire her and all that she has worked for. Just this past semester she graduated from college and got into graduate school in El Paso. This semester she is starting to study for her masters in Counseling Psychology, a thing she has aimed for since she was fifteen.

    I can’t even BEGIN to tell you guise just how ridiculously proud I am of her. My big sister has gone through so much. She has experienced hate, love, depression, suicidal thoughts, disappointments. She has had to put up with idiotic situations which brought her to her lowest points and despite what seemed the entire world going against her, she still managed so, so, so much. Not once has Lee failed to amaze me and to this day, I am proud to say that she is the only reason why I believe in the phrase, ‘it gets better’.

    And to be quite honest, the Lee I know now has changed from the one I knew five years ago for the better. The only thing that for sure hasn’t changed is her overachieving personality. Seriously, who can experience a bunch of shit and still push through and get straight A’s in everything?! Bless. Her. Heart. She is magnificent just as this essay is magnificent.

  • This is an excellent essay, with more people like you Mexico would be a really different contry and all what you say is just the truth. I really enjoied reading your essay, I hope you win!! Congratulations!

  • gosh, you scare the crap out of us in the first paragraph, but really pull us in. it shows us what you’ve seen, experiences, the extremes. people who have seen extremes are much better equipped to handle them. i’ve read you talk about all sorts of things related to pscyhology and i know you’ll be brilliant at this.

  • prisoners need to have the tools to help them succeed once they are released into the world again. we need fundamental building blocks to do this and impassioned people like you will be able to do that. you aren’t looking for answers, you’re creating them.

  • What a journey – I think that your response to help those in need is amazing! Great essay! Good luck! You deserve every opportunity to move forward!

  • It is wonderful. I can see the effort that you are putting on this in order to go for your goals. It’s really sad to see who a bad administration of the government made young people to make things that are correct. Go for it, I know you can do something.

  • Hija, siempre has sido una persona fija en sus metas. Desde que estuviste en el kinder fuiste una niña muy platicadora, amiguera, pero sobre todo muy estudiosa, primero eran tus clases antes que todo; en la primaria estuviste en el cuadro de honor cada año, tus maestros siempre hablaron bien de ti, de tus metas fijas, de lo estudiosa y dedicada que eras; desde entonces supiste que querías estudiar y nunca dudaste de ello. En la preparatoria terminaste satisfactoriamente, siempre tratando de mejorar día con día. Al terminar tu universidad y siempre sacando excelentes calificaciones, tuvieron una recompensa graduarte con honores; te propusiste seguir con tu maestría y empezaste con todas las ganas; sigue adelante,recuerda que todo el esfuerzo que has puesto en tus estudios tienen su recompensa. Estamos muy orgullosos de ti, y esperamos que esa beca la puedas obtener para que sigas adelante y logres obtener todas tus metas. Tu mamá que te quiere.

  • Edna you make me proud to be your aunt! Excellent essay; hope you will get the schoolarship you are looking for, you deserve it.
    You have always demostrated being a strong woman with very high goals in life; getting your Master’s is just another one of all the ones still on your way.
    Love you, God Bless you!

  • Hello she is my dougther and since she was on high school she likes to be a Physiologic Doctor
    now sge is on a competition for her dream, we are very proude of here because she is very dedicated student and she love’s her family i kow she will be suscesfull .
    Thanks becuase you are wonderfull douther.
    Your Father.

    • * Psychology. I had replied earlier but did not notice the grammatical errors. This is the corrected version of my comment.

  • In the short duration of time that I have known Edna, I have come to admire her determination and skill as both a person of character and professionally. Aside from her tumultuous environment, she is able to progress in a manner that is ethical, honest, and enlightening. She is a young woman who is always searching for ways to improve herself and any crossroad encountered. She is studious, intelligent, and strong willed to continue in making her goals of higher education come true. It is because of this that I recommend Ms. Martinez for this scholarship.

  • Hello she is my daughter Edna Aileen Martinez

    She always has very clear idea of her career, since high
    school she told me that she wants to be a Doctor at Physiology, and the good
    thing is that she completed her bachelor degree on her dream.

    She is very dedicated and as of today I’m very proud of her
    because she get very nice GPA and now is competing for a scholarship. Studying
    her master degree and working, she is very good daughter, and very good Brother.

    I love her passion and enthusiasm for everything.

    • *Psychology. I had replied earlier but did not notice the grammatical errors. This is the corrected version of my comment.

  • I felt encouraged by your essay. I really let us know that the experiences you lived up close and personal were the ones that led you into choosing your career path. I really feel you should keep going with your aspirations because you have the potential and the right ideas to excel in everything you set your mind to. The best of luck.

  • I dare to say that this essay goes straight to the point of, why you really love your career, with such a good development of your personality, background, interests, and all the qualities that expressed your truely passion for the Psychology.
    Nicely done.

  • i just found out that you volunteer at the cremac. I have been there several times and is correct to say that most people may never be prepared to see what you saw there and so young.

  • I have been friends with Edna (or Lee as I call her) for 4 years now, it has always been a pleasure to see her passion for what she does and what she studied, she is a very good friend and a very good person in general. I think she is one of the most qualified persons to be a psycology doctor, she has passion, she has the intelect and the will to do it. I am very proud of her

  • Aileen excellent essay regarding how you ended up deciding to study psychogy, congratulations because of your persistence and wishing you the best on this endeavor.

  • This is a great essay Edna (Lee as I know you). You’re a nice, different , and beautiful person with a great personality (weird but great). It is very interesting the story of how you decide to study psychology. I have grow in Cd. Juarez too, and I know what it feel to live in a city where the violence abounds. I think that is very nice that instead of growing with the idea of “everything is going to be the same” you go for do something about it. I this is very brave of you. 🙂

  • Hola Aileen, yo fui una de las personas que creció contigo en el mismo vecindario y recuerdo aquel día claramente ya que fue algo impresionante, también recuerdo la visita que realizamos al CREMAC, fue ahí donde observe como te comunicabas con las personas que estaban en rehabilitación y me dijiste que tu querías ayudar a esas personas, desde entonces no dejaste que nada ni nadie te alejara de ese ideal es por eso que no dejaras de luchar por obtener tu sueño y crear nuevas formas de ayudar a la gente.
    Te conozco de toda la vida y sé que tú eres la persona que mas merece esta oportunidad por lo mucho que puedes llegar aportar.

  • When I first spoke to Lee, I knew instantly she was this amazing girl. She’s so down to earth and has her feet on the ground, but she’s not afraid to dream big either. There’s a certain vibe you get from Lee that I can feel even from a different country. She’s an inspiration and an amazing girl who deserves so much. I, like all of her friends, am so proud of her for getting so far and fighting for her dreams when so many would have given up when faced with the challenges she has been faced with. But instead of giving up, she’s fought even harder and got to where she is today. Lee, you deserve this and you should always be proud of yourself for coming so far.

  • This is an incredibly well written article, and its a very grim reality that we live in a world where things like what you mentioned happen. I believe your goals and thoughts were stated with complete clarity, and knowing what you set out to do so early is the sign of someone who’s meant to be very successful. I believe that you can definitely help society, and contribute to the world a better understanding of psychology as a whole. I wish you all the luck and hope to see you help change the world for the better.

  • Edna has served in our Social Cognition
    laboratory (direct by Dr. Michael Záarate) at the University of Texas at El
    Paso as a research assistant for the second half of her undergraduate
    education. She is a bright and motivated student. Edna has a clear drive and
    passion for growth as she pursues answers to key social issues. Overall, Edna
    is intrinsically motivated to positively impact those with whom she works and we
    all look forward to her future success in counseling.

  • Felicidades Edna. Deseo sinceramente que tengas éxito, y que tu deseo de servir sea honrado. Acá en Juárez necesitamos mas gente como tú. ¡No nos olvides!