At a Glance
Major(s): Business Administration (Marketing and Management concentrations)
Activities: Honors College, Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Theta Kappa
Why UML? “When I visited here, I just fell in love with it. I knew this was my place."
It should have been the happiest time of Beatriz Martins’ young life — the first member of her family to attend college, studying biology at UMass Boston. Instead, she was in constant tears and just wanted to be alone. Overwhelmed by emotional struggles and worried about the financial strain she was putting on her single mom, Martins’ grades suffered, and she was put on academic probation.
“College isn’t for me. I’m not even going to try anymore,” the Somerville, Massachusetts, native remembers thinking to herself.
But her mom, Martha, who never advanced beyond a fourth-grade education in her native Brazil, implored her daughter to keep going. “You’re a fighter,” she told Martins, who found a therapist and received support from her church pastor.
Soon, she was back in school at Quincy College, a community college where she reassessed her interest in science. Seeing that Martins had worked in retail and as a clerk’s assistant at Somerville City Hall, her advisor asked if she’d ever considered studying business.
“That’s a major? I didn’t even know,” said Martins, who ended up loving her business classes so much (“I felt like I found my calling”) that she graduated as class valedictorian.
“My mom was sitting in front of me as I gave my speech, and her smile was brighter than the sun,” recalls Martins, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for community college students.
Ready to resume her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, Martins chose UMass Lowell over Suffolk University and Emmanuel College.
“When I visited here, I just fell in love with it. I knew this was my place,” she says. “It was a really good community, and everyone was so welcoming.”
She joined the Honors College and began participating in leadership sessions provided by international business honors society Beta Gamma Sigma. As a commuter student (she lives with a cousin in Lowell), Martins also coordinated lunch meetings for fellow commuters with Manning School of Business Dean Sandra Richtermeyer and faculty members.
“I love helping my community,” says Martins, who was recognized by the university for her efforts with a Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award — an honor that left her “speechless.”
“I have had difficulties sometimes being a student of color, feeling like people are treating me a certain way because of that,” she says. “It’s helpful having inspirational people like MLK, Rosa Parks and the Obamas. Even though we’ve had some struggles, we can overcome them and achieve great things.”
More than anything, Martins says being a Double River Hawk will show that “I’m able to excel and achieve my goals when I’m determined and committed.”
While her college path hasn’t been easy, Martins knows now that it’s given her the perspective and coping skills she’ll need to overcome obstacles in the future.
“My experience has been a roller coaster, with so many ups and downs and twists. But you can’t be afraid of it,” she says. “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And if you don’t like lemonade, make lemon pie.”