Contact Us

Luna’s Jessey Martinez selected to Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Team

by Jesse Gallegos
SPRINGER — Jessey Martinez earned one of the most prestigious awards a two-year college student can get. Martinez was selected to the New Mexico Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Team. Martinez, a criminal justice major at Luna Community College, was recognized at the State Capitol recently.
Martinez, a native of Mora, will graduate this May with an Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. Martinez intends to enroll at New Mexico Highlands University in the fall and major in Political Science and minor in Pre-Law.  As a member of the All-State Academic Team, Martinez will get her tuition paid for.
“This is overwhelming,” said Martinez. “I never thought I would deserve such an honor. I’m humbled. I strive for greatness, but don’t always expect it.”
Greatness is what was on-hand at the State Capitol as several other students from other two-year colleges in New Mexico joined Martinez.  Martinez was the only student in attendance at the senate chambers during passing of Senate Memorial 58 Community College Completion Day.  Former Luna President Dr. Pete Campos introduced the memorial. “I always wanted to be part of Phi Theta Kappa,” said Martinez.  “I talked with Twila (Phi Theta Kappa advisor and Luna faculty member Dr. Twila Quintana) and she had me fill a scholarship application.  There was many in-depth questions about your life.  It turned out to be thousands of words including an explanation on the journey to community college.”
Martinez’ dream of Phi Theta Kappa and earning an education almost did not happen. During 2013-14, Martinez was battling kidney cancer.
“I was sick for a long time after surgery,” said Martinez. “It was during the recovery time that I had an after-life experience. As soon as I woke up I said ‘this is not going to be it; I’m meant for more.’ I had to make a plan. And part of that plan was to go back to school. Luna was my only option being a single mother at the time. After I got better, I was able to start school in 2016 and go straight through,” said Martinez.
Martinez credits a lot of her academic achievement to Luna. “I learned so much here,” said Martinez. “Luna is a diamond in the rough. I had so much support from other students here that I didn’t expect.”
Martinez’ goals have just begun. She intends to one day earn a juris doctorate from UNM and is leaning toward being a prosecuting attorney.
“Jessey’s story is very interesting,” said Luna Interim President Ricky Serna. “Having worked in education for many years, from time-to-time there is a student that overcomes adversity to fulfill their dreams. Jessey epitomizes this. She has overcome so much to accomplish her dream. She embodies what you can do if you persevere.”
Martinez has good advice for Luna students. “I want to thank Dr. Quintana and Cindy Armijo (Phi Theta Kappa advisor emeritus); they advised and motivated me to continue with my education,” said Martinez. “I recommend that Luna students look into Phi Theta Kappa. See what it offers. They will be surprised.”
Left to right: Luna College Interim President Ricky Serna, Jessey Martinez, and Dr. Twila Quintana, Phi Theta Kappa Advisor. Photo courtesy Jesse Gallegos.