Meet Sydney Martinez. Born and raised in Orlando, she grew up living only two minutes away from campus, which she says made UCF feel like home. Her dream was always to get a degree from UCF and finding the College of Health Professions and Sciences was a bonus. “Everything I wanted to achieve aligned with the CHPS mission,” she says. When she came to UCF, there was no longer a Red Cross Club on campus, so she created one. After reinstating the campus Red Cross Club, she applied for their National Youth Council and was appointed as National Collegiate Assembly Lead, one of 13 positions on the council. For the past couple of years, she has been promoting volunteerism and connecting with other Red Cross Clubs on campuses across the country. Martinez also performed on the nationally placed UCF majorette team for two years, co-authored two peer reviewed journals, and collaborated on 12 research poster presentations.
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Pre-Clinical Track
What will you be doing after graduation?
I will be preparing to apply to medical school in the upcoming 2024-2025 cycle after graduation. In the meantime, I will maintain quite a few positions such as my Red Cross national involvement and serving as a gap year intern at Grace Medical Home to expand on my clinical experiences further. I plan to continue with my research team as a Research Associate for the Testicular Cancer Research Collaborative. I will also maintain my job as a Student Brand Ambassador: Campus Coordinator for all Florida universities through Kaplan Test Prep. Additionally, I will sit on the CHPS Student Advisory Council as an alumni representative.
What are your long-term career plans?
I am an aspiring physician with interests in varying fields. It is hard to pinpoint where my true passion lies before entering clinical rotations. For now, I have interests in preventative medicine, pediatrics, oncology, and urology.
What accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?
I am most proud of taking full advantage of the opportunities and resources provided at UCF as well as giving back to my community through completing over 1,000 community service hours. These hours were hard-earned through the President’s Leadership Council, Red Cross, Be the Match (national bone marrow registry), and as a Student Undergraduate Research Council (SURC) member for the Office of Undergraduate Research. Through my position on SURC, I was able to first-hand contribute to the execution of the university’s 5-Year Strategic Plan by encouraging thousands of students to partake in undergraduate research. Additionally, during my time as president of Be the Match, we successfully swabbed over 3,000 students. This amazing feat contributed to the growth of the registry, leading to our chapter gaining state and national recognition and showing students that they can be the cure for patients battling blood cancers/disorders.
What did you love the most about your time at UCF?
The culture at UCF is like no other. Somehow at such a large institution, I found a grand sense of community. I’ve had enriching experiences both in and out of the classroom. There is vast opportunity and a place for everyone. I am most fond of the fruitful relationships with mentors and peers that I fostered in each experience.
What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?
I truthfully enjoyed every class taken as a student within CHPS. Each provided such novelty with a breadth of knowledge. I, however, certainly would not be here today without the following CHPS mentors who have left a profound impact on my professional trajectory: Dr. Michael Rovito, Dr. Gail Kauwell, Dr. Suha Saleh, Dr. Katia Ferdowsi, and Steven Burroughs. I have these well-established individuals to thank for showering me with unwavering support. In terms of my favorite experience within CHPS, serving on the CHPS Student Advisory Council allowed me to generate the most impact and I am fortunate enough to have witnessed our ideas come to life. As an integral part of the team, I knew my input was valued and I felt a large sense of responsibility to amplify the voices of our college’s student body. In my time, we generated opportunities to connect students to resources for graduate school preparation, aided in the establishment of the college’s study-abroad program, and discussed how to improve our presence in the community. Knowing that I made an impact on the student body by connecting them to more opportunities leaves me with the utmost fulfillment in my undergraduate experience.