Academic Bridge Inspires Student to Give Back to Schoolchildren

Sep. 25, 2012

Sandra Martinez BS'11 has made a few journeys in her young life, beginning with a move from Dallas to Mexico when she was 4 years old.

She returned to Dallas in time for middle school, with no English skills and a lot of catching up to do. “It was a big challenge,” she said, “but my teachers helped me through. I want to do the same for the kids I teach.”

Sandra Martinez is embarking on a teaching career.

Coming out of high school, Martinez wasn't sure how she could afford to go to college. But yet another journey began that took her to UT Dallas and her future, with help from the Academic Bridge Program (ABP). The program is geared toward high-performing students who didn’t receive a university-track curriculum. High school students who are selected for ABP begin their college careers at UT Dallas during the summer after their high school graduations.

At UT Dallas, Martinez thrived as a math major and is now stepping into the demanding teaching profession.

“The program gave me so much great support,” Martinez said, “from scholarships to work/study opportunities, tutors to study groups. I knew I wanted to teach and to eventually return to the Dallas Independent School District where I went to high school. Academic Bridge and the Teacher Development Center (TDC) made that possible. I just finished my student teaching and plan to work in the Dallas ISD teaching high school freshmen—even though they are at the most challenging age.”

Martinez credits the real-world preparation at UT Dallas' Teacher Development Center with building her comfort level in the classroom. She also credits both the center and the Academic Bridge Program for helping her believe she could make her goals happen.

“I hope people will continue to support Academic Bridge,” said Martinez. “It's a great way to help promising students go forward. A lot of high school kids don't know about the help that's available, so they figure that they don't have the money or preparation for college and they just give up. Academic Bridge can change that.”


Media Contact: Sara Mancuso, UT Dallas, (972) 883-6507, smancuso@utdallas.edu,
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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