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ASU Online sociology grad plans to help other students achieve their dreams

Quenette Martinez

Photo courtesy of Quenette Martinez

April 19, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

After becoming a new mom, Quenette Martinez knew she wanted to finish her bachelor’s degree. However, she wasn’t sure how she could attend classes on campus with a newborn. She needed an online program that was cost-effective. ASU became her top choice because it is one of the only universities that offers a sociology bachelor’s degree fully online.

“It is because of the support of ASU staff and faculty through the online program that I am now able to say that I have achieved my dreams of completing my bachelor’s degree, not only for myself, but for my daughter,” Martinez said.

She feels a huge reason for her success is the constant care from one of her professors, Beverly Carlsen-Landy. Martinez was able to take a couple courses taught by Carlsen-Landy and moved on to become her teaching assistant.

“I’ve never had a relationship with any professor,” she said. “I truly never thought it was possible. You just go to class, do your work and go back home. But she goes above and beyond to make those connections with her students, even in the online setting. She really encourages us to connect with other students, as well.”

Listen: Beverly Carlsen-Landy talks about online teaching.

Another resource Martinez is grateful for during her time at ASU is the support from her success coach. Going to school as a new mother was challenging at times and having someone to talk to helped keep her motivated. She recalls the time she was in the hospital in labor during finals week. Her coach called her at the right moment and encouraged her to keep going and to finish the course as best she could. Martinez studied in the hospital and took her finals. This impactful experience inspired her to give back to other college students by coaching them to achieve their goals.

Martinez excelled in her studies and was on the Dean’s List every semester. She is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Science in sociology. We talked to Martinez to learn more about her experience at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: When I began my first sociology class at ASU, I knew that I wanted to major in sociology. Exploring the theories and structure of society reminded me that in order to see an effective change in society, first I must understand the history that has led to what society is now. Once I was exposed to the theories on how society functions as a whole and how individuals within the society significantly impact social norms, I knew I wanted to pursue my bachelor’s in sociology. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: While at ASU, a majority, if not all, of my classes required students to complete research using peer-reviewed journals. Throughout this process, I recognized that a lot of information that we receive through various (media) outlets are simply not true, but rather based on opinion and noncredible sources. This changed my perspective of social media because I realized that while individual opinions do matter, they can be misleading and create false narratives of the world. I learned the importance of doing research and fact-checking as a tool to better understand society and implement effective change.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I have learned various lessons from multiple professors during my time at ASU,  but there is one professor who taught me a very important lesson that I will carry with me. Dr. Beverly Carlsen-Landy taught me that empathy can move mountains. I enrolled in her course during the pandemic, a time of uncertainty and doubt. However, she encouraged her students to keep moving forward and went above and beyond to ensure that we were successful in her class. Dr. Beverly Carlsen-Landy taught me that professors are human too, and it was exactly what I needed. At that moment, I knew that I had the support of ASU to walk me on my journey to completing my bachelor’s degree. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My advice to students in school would be practice time management and set a weekly schedule, read your course syllabi and ask questions when you do not understand something.

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: As an online student, I had to set the tone for my study sessions at home and in the community. My favorite place for power studying was at a local coffee shop — prior to the pandemic. Creating a safe space where I could focus and feel peace was critical to me as an online student. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I plan to expand my life coaching business. My passion is to serve as a life coach to college students, while providing emotional and academic support. I will be doing more networking and providing low-cost group sessions to support students in their personal and academic lives so that they too can experience the joy of graduating.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If I had $40 million to solve one problem on our planet it would be emotional and mental health. I believe that some of the largest issues in our world stem from the lack of emotional and mental health. Therefore, I would use the $40 million to conduct research on the mental and emotional health of children and how it impacts adulthood, in hope of creating resources and continuous support to bridge the gap between the traumas of childhood and adulthood.

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