“I Am Elon” with Ciera Martinez ’15

Driven by a desire to bridge the education gap, the early childhood education major and Spanish minor works with children of all ages throughout the community to help pave the way to their future successes in school.

By Kim Walker

As a first-generation college student, Ciera Martinez ’15 fully understands what a difference an education can make in the life of a child.

That’s why the early childhood education major and Spanish minor is ready to make change happen. Passionate about maximizing education opportunities for all children, Ciera hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree studying sociology and the politics of education. In the meantime, she is doing all she can to impact the community around her.

During her junior year, she volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Alamance County and spent half of the following summer on campus working as a mentor for students in the Elon Academy, a college access program for area high school students. Ciera herself came to Elon after encouragement and assistance from mentors at her high school, and she relates to the Elon Academy scholars.

She relishes working with children, and these experiences are shaping her as well. “I want to be a positive source of energy in the kids’ lives. But, in reality, as much as I put a smile on their faces, they put an even bigger one on mine,” she says. “It’s just so rewarding.”

Ciera is vice president of Elon’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and says it’s a wonderful match. She was drawn to the close connections she saw between the sorority’s members and that, coupled with their focus on service, encouraged her to pledge. Her sorority sisters are like family, the big sisters she longed for growing up.

What she likes most about Elon is the opportunities it offers, such as internships and study abroad, which she has embraced. “Being in college is a blessing for me, because, statistically speaking, I’m not supposed to be here,” she says. “I know how important it is to have a person who believes in you.”

I Am Elon is a multimedia series by The Magazine of Elon featuring Elon students in their own words.