headshot of Aramis Martinez
Aramis Martinez

This month we are honored to spotlight, Aramis Martinez, academic advisor with the Honors Program. Aramis Martinez received his bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate in film studies from Florida International University. He earned his master’s degree academic advising from Kansas State University. Aramis Martinez is currently completing a master’s degree in English with a concentration in literature from Western Carolina University.

Upon arriving at ISU he became involved with the  Organization of Latino/a Employees (OLE). “OLE allowed me to feel comfortable at ISU.” “My peers in the Honors Program all share the same passion for equity and access that I bring into my work.”

Tell us about yourself and your family background.
I am Cuban-American. My parents came to the United States during the Mariel boatlift in 1980. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida where I completed my undergraduate and online graduate studies while working with alma mater. I later lived in North Carolina before I came to Illinois.

What brought you to this University?
I was drawn to ISU because of the feeling of community that I felt when I arrived on the campus. I have worked for both a large, urban and for a small, rural university and I felt that ISU contained the benefits and opportunities that both these institutional types provide. Moreover, my interactions with OLE in the interview process made it abundantly clear that there was a strong and passionate Latino community on the campus and I was immediately drawn to that.

Describe the work you do with students.  
As an academic advisor I assist incoming freshmen students in planning their academic careers. I also guide students to resources available on campus and in the Bloomington/Normal community. I am also the supervisor of our Honors Peer Mentor team which helps new Honors Program students become acclimated to the program and the university. In addition to this I am involved in the formation of the Honors Program Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion student council which hopes to increase the representation in and accessibility of the Honors Program.

What would you tell a student considering declaring the Latin American and Latino/a Studies minor?
I would likely begin by reminding them that Latino/a’s are the largest racial and ethnic group in the United States and it would set them apart from their peers if they are able to discuss Latin America, Latin culture, and the relationship between Latino/a’s and the U.S. in an in-depth manner. Apart from this though I would also tell them that they should declare this minor because Latin American and Latino/a studies are a part of the fabric of the United States and to truly understand the history and culture of this country you must also know the history and culture of Latino/a’s.