Former college vice president breaks tradition to pursue future

Claudia Cazares, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Mar. 3 Cerritos College welcomed the president of Santa Ana College to share her journey as a Latina college president.

Dr. Erlinda Martinez was named president of Santa Ana College in March 2005, prior to her precedency, Martinez served as vice president for Cerritos College.

During her presentation Martinez shared one of the many struggles she faced while pursuing her career.

“I think that regardless of your ethnicity but specially for a Latina there comes a time when you have to make a break from tradition and family, my big break came when I was married. I already had children, I had finished my graduate degree and I accepted a job in Northen California.

“My father was ready to disown me because I was getting a job in Northern California and leaving my parents in Southern California.”

Martinez took the time to explain to students how important it is for them to receive guidance from instructors or student colleagues with similar goals.

She described how her mentor introduced her to pursue higher education and motivated her to continue going to school even after receiving her bachelors degree in sociology.

“My parents encouraged me to go to college, because they knew that it was important. What they did not understand is what you do with it.

“So I got my degree in sociology, and I started working for El Camino College and my mentor told me, you need to go back to school. You need to go to graduate school, no one had ever told me that.”

Dr. Erlinda offered Q&A to the audience and when asked what makes up a good leader she responded; Judgement is the ability to discern the facts and then make a good call. Honesty is really important, I have to give the truth, the moment you break someones trust they will stop believing you and of course you have to be physically fit.

Michelle Navarro, psychology major, described her experience “I think the main focus on this is that it is going to be hard it is not going to be easy.”

Mayra Garcia, psychology major, amazed said “She never took no for an answer. I think that at the end pursuing a career, sacrifices are always going to have to be made.”