Martinez Perseveres with Mentoring From LVC Professor

Cassandra Martinez '09

Sociology major Cassandra Martinez ’09 came to Lebanon Valley College for the basketball program and left with a love for school counseling.

Currently employed in Selawik, Alaska, Martinez works as a school counselor for grades K–12. 

“I hold presentations for each grade level on bullying, conflict resolution, death, grief, substance abuse, abuse in the home, anger management, social and emotional behaviors, and how to socialize,” Martinez said. 

She also works closely with seniors on college applications, letters of intent, résumés, ACT/SAT scores, and schedule planning. Outside of the office, Martinez chaperones girls’ basketball games and helps coach the team.

Prior to her arrival in Alaska, Martinez worked at the middle and high school levels in Florida. Never feeling like she had quite the right fit, Martinez began searching for a new job that would allow her to travel and see a different part of the country. After losing her father to cancer—while pursuing her master’s degree—she learned life is way too short.

“I saw a job opening in Alaska and had a two-hour interview via Skype,” said Martinez, who persevered through her father’s illness to earn her master’s degree from Capella University. “When I was offered the position, I resigned in Florida and moved to Alaska for four months.”

Martinez has now signed on for the remainder of the year and hopes to receive a full-time position in Alaska.

“In the village I currently work in, I am able to counsel rather than be a ‘paper pusher’,” Martinez said. “I feel that I am able to do my job and implement more of my counseling knowledge, along with enhancing academics.”

Partly due to what she’s learned as a school counselor, Martinez plans to pursue a second master’s degree in clinical mental health. As she has progressed through her career, she credits much of her success to the mentorship of Sharon Arnold, who retired in December as chair and professor of sociology.

“I was not the best student academically and she never gave up on me and saw that I continued to try my hardest,” Martinez said. “She pushed me and always took time to pay attention to my needs and recognized where I needed help. She has been my biggest fan and supporter since I graduated in 2009. Almost 10 years and she still supports me and my choices! I could not wait to send her a picture of myself holding my master’s degree. It meant so much to me to show her that I actually did it!”