JA Scholarship Recipient Empowering Vulnerable Populations

Linda Medina Martinez embodies the spirit of Junior Achievement (JA) with her ingenuity, eagerness to learn, and goal-oriented drive. She participated in JA programs in middle school and later earned the JA Inspiration Scholarship in 2013. The JA Inspiration Scholarship was one of the many tools Medina Martinez used to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Master’s degree in Social Work at Metro State University.

“Many of the systems in higher education worked against me,” says Medina Martinez. As an immigrant woman of color, access to college education was not clear-cut. She adds, “I had to be creative and resourceful in order to finish and continue to graduate school…the JA scholarship offered consistent financial help all through my undergrad.”

The barriers around which Medina Martinez maneuvered to become a social worker are now the assets she applies in her work with immigrant communities and non-native English speakers. In fact, she even works directly with families at her alma mater, Sheridan High School, as a Family Liaison and Translator. Experience is her key to empowering others, and she actively supports her clients on their path to self-sufficiency.

“I work with vulnerable populations and it’s important to advocate for them in a way that their voice is amplified and not silenced by my presence. I know I have done my job right when my students and families or patients no longer need my help.”