Cal State LA nursing major receives CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement
First-generation college student Alexandra Martin aspires to help make health care accessible to people in underserved communities.
“I want to pursue a career that can help people and where I can give back to the community,” said Martin, a nursing major in Cal State LA’s College of Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services.
Martin is one of 23 students statewide to receive the 2021 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The award recognizes superior academic performance, exemplary community service, and significant personal accomplishment. She will be awarded $6,000 and named a Stauffer Foundation Scholar.
“Alexandra’s courage in overcoming family tragedy and other obstacles, while dedicating herself to a career in nursing, makes her a most noteworthy candidate for the award,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said.
Martin was honored during the Sept. 14 CSU Board of Trustees virtual meeting.
Martin first started a career in cosmetology right out of high school in order to support herself financially. Back then, a university education was not her dream.
“My parents never pushed the importance of education, so I didn’t realize college was even a possibility at the time,” said the 34-year-old View Park resident.
After being employed for years as a hairdresser, Martin decided one day to work toward her childhood dream of a career in healthcare services. Martin and her identical twin sister Melissa shared the same goal. But Melissa passed away in 2019 from a drug overdose.
The loss of her sister now motivates Martin to earn her degree and achieve her career goal.
“I want to go into the healthcare field to also help the population of people who are suffering from drug addiction,” noted Martin, as she reflected upon her late sister’s struggle with addiction.
In 2020, Martin was accepted into Cal State LA’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and now looks forward to completing her undergraduate degree in spring 2023. Her plan is to pursue a master’s degree after graduation in order to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
Driven by her compassion for others, Martin has volunteered at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and at an urban farm dedicated to food justice and education.
Since attending Cal State LA classes last fall, she has been named to the Dean’s List and received multiple scholarships. She maintains a 4.0 GPA in the nursing program.
As co-president of her BSN student cohort in the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing, Martin has worked with faculty and administrators to establish practices and policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the year of virtual learning that came with it.
Martin attributes her academic achievements at Cal State LA to the support of faculty members as well as the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
“The entire nursing program has been very supportive and they provide the resources needed for students,” said Martin. “The mental health services offered by CAPS counselors have been really helpful for me as I work through my grief.”
In spite of certain limitations due to the pandemic, Martin has been enjoying her educational experience thus far.
“Cal State LA’s nursing program has been phenomenal and I’m looking forward to being on-campus in the spring,” she said. “I definitely would recommend others to apply to this prestigious program where faculty members are here to help you to succeed.”