Leyla Martinez

BA Candidate

Columbia University

The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Leyla Martinez is not only first generation American in her family but is also a first generation college student. Leyla Martinez is a junior at Columbia School of General Studies pursuing a BA in Human Rights. She has successfully completed the Justice in Education Fellowship and was recently selected to be a Women’s Forum Education Fund Fellow. Ms. Martinez, interned with Welfare Rights Initiative, where she advocated on behalf of students from NYC who receive public assistance, so they could continue pursuing their education. Leyla is a research assistant in the Social Relations Lab at Columbia University Psychology Department, where they pursue a wide range of topics which allows them to discern the effects of situational factors on individuals, as well as, the effects of individuals on their environment and their immediate situation. She is also the Program Coordinator for the Beyond the Bars Fellowship, where students and community members are offered the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of mass incarceration while collaborating in planning the annual Beyond the Bars Conference. Ms. Martinez journey has been long and there have been a few bumps on the road, nonetheless she has not given up and is determined to continue pursuing a higher education. Her hopes are that her education and experiences will properly prepare her to make changes to current policies in place that hinder the possibilities of the underrepresented.