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'Two degrees in four years': One local program helps students succeed

One first generation Latina hopes to become cancer researcher
Posted at 9:46 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 22:46:28-04

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) - It's graduation season and thousands of people are getting their degrees. I met one first generation student who says a local program is helping her succeed and keeps students like her from falling through the cracks.

  • Local program helps prepare 98 students to graduate
  • Video shows Children's Nebraska laboratory where Martinez works


Guadalupe Martinez is a first generation student who graduated from UNMC studying medical laboratory science.

"Going to one of the best medical schools in the world you know you don't see many people like you, most people are not there on scholarships, they're paying their way through, so I felt blessed and I didn't take any of it for granted," says Martinez.

She's one of 98 students in Omaha who are in the Partnership for Kids program that helps college and high school students pay for school and build resumes, including the one that scored Martinez a job.

Now she's scoping cells for signs of cancer at Children's Nebraska.

She'll be here until she returns to school in hope of becoming a cancer researcher

Along the way, she faced some challenges.

“It is hard coming from a single parent household, especially when they haven’t had a degree either so you are that first generation student, but knowing I had her support i knew I could get through it,” says Martinez.

The support from the program is pushing her to succeed.

“They’re the reason that I did find that I got two degrees in four years and its so hard to do,” she says.

Soon Martinez will also graduate from UNO with a second degree in science.

"The degrees will help me, and i can't wait to further it into pathology and do just so many great things," says Martinez.

She's hoping to return this kind of support for more students in the future.

“I feel very grateful for where I am, I can’t wait to be in a stable spot to help others like me and help minorities, help women in STEM,” she says.

Martinez is one example of how local programs can give student's the support they need to succeed.