CCC first-generation student finds calling in life of the mind

Date: Thursday, 23rd March 2023

CCC2NAU student Justin Martinez plans to head to NAU to continue his studies in Psychological Sciences after his graduation from CCC.



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Coconino Community College student Justin Martinez has family members who have suffered from depression their entire lives.


“I really want to help people,” he said. “Particularly men who don’t normally ask for help.”


So, Martinez, a first-generation college student, decided to study Psychology at CCC, and as a CCC2NAU student, he plans to continue his studies at NAU to become a licensed therapist.


Originally from New Mexico, Martinez moved as a child with his family to the Phoenix area. While he attended Thunderbird High School as a teen, he became interested in the idea of college.


“I wanted to gain skills, so I decided to explore my options with community college,” he said, adding that he really didn’t know what he wanted to do at the time, and because community college was more affordable, he felt it would be a better place for him to begin to explore what he might want to do for a career.


He chose CCC.


“I really wanted a change in environment and get away from home,” he said, adding that when he saw the Flagstaff campus, he was hooked. “I love the whole town – the weather, the clear night sky.”


Besides appreciating that Flagstaff had good public transportation and discovering that all the services he needed were accessible by bicycle, he saw that CCC offered all the educational services he needed. His first semester, he took the standard general-education courses, but he also took a Psychology course – and it was his favorite.


“Humans and the mind, it’s something we all can relate to,” he said.


He found focus, became a member of TRIO Student Support Services, which is devoted to helping first-generation students, students with disabilities and students who are financial-aid eligible find a solid footing on their educational journeys. He also became a CCC2NAU student, which allowed him to live in a dorm on the NAU campus and purchase a meal card. He was also fortunate to qualify for federal financial assistance, which allows him to attend school full time.


“I’ve only had pleasant experiences,” Martinez said of his time with CCC. “CCC has all the courses I need. I love the small class sizes. I love being able to talk to my teachers. I feel like it’s more personal.”


Martinez said that his girlfriend is a Biomedical Science major, and she will likely want to go to medical school, so much of his future is still in development. He sees himself getting his associate degree from CCC, then heading to NAU for a bachelor’s degree. He’s also considering a master’s degree.


But the near future is clear. He’s staying at CCC for the time being.


“If they have the classes I need, I want to stay at CCC for as long as I possibly can,” he said with a smile.


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All Dates

  • Thursday, 23rd March 2023