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Candace Naomi Martinez
A Daniels Fund Impact Story
Seattle University; transferred to UNM
Please describe what it means to you to be a Daniels Scholar: I feel proud to be a Daniels Scholar. I feel proud of myself for earning this scholarship and for being recognized by others in my community as deserving it. Most of all I am proud that I get to be one of the students to represent Bill Daniels and his philosophy. What I love most about this scholarship is that it is not just based on financial need, but rather it takes into account the kind of person you are and what you hope to accomplish in life. This scholarship emphasizes independence and self-sufficiency and once you become a Daniels Scholar that doesn't mean your involvement with the scholarship is over. The staff at the Daniels Fund stay connected with the students and continually push us to accomplish all that we can. One of the best examples I can provide is when I was living in Seattle and my dad had just died, I got a call from my scholar relations officer who told me that she was proud of how well I had been doing in school, despite the challenges I was facing. She told me that she was there for me whenever I needed to talk or if ever I needed anything else. It was really at that point that I realized the Daniels Fund is like a family to all of us. They provide a support system that you cannot get from other scholarships that just send you a check every semester in the mail. I am a part of a group that really cares for one another, and that is a value I will hold onto for forever after this.
What do you like most about being in college? I love being responsible for my education. Being in college means that I can take control of where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. Being here is my choice, and that alone is enough to inspire me to excel in all that I do here. I am choosing to make a better life for myself and that feels pretty wonderful.
What has been the greatest challenge so far in college? The greatest challenge for me thus far in my college career has been losing a parent and transferring schools. My dad was sick when I left for school in Seattle and he died just after I finished my first quarter there. I went back to Seattle to finish my last two quarters, but despite how much I loved it there I just really felt the need to come home and be with family. I began the transfer process which is always more of a pain than it is a pleasure and came back home. I did not originally want to go to a large university like The University of New Mexico because I wanted a more personal experience, therefore adjusting to UNM after I had been spoiled at Seattle University was quite a challenge. I don't exactly want to say that I regret coming back to New Mexico to go to UNM, but I will say that I really miss SU and would have loved to graduate from there. Be that as it may I am doing just fine here at UNM. Secondly, of course it has been really difficult to cope with the loss of my dad, but I am doing my best to stay focused.
What advice would you offer someone who is applying to become a Daniels Scholar? The one thing I would say is the most important thing for an applicant to the Daniels Fund is to find a way to keep yourself organized! In order to go after what you want you have to be able to complete the necessary steps first. Do not save things for the last minute, especially in your senior year of high school. Take control and keep up with your responsibilities. Remember the important deadlines and ask for help as many times as you need to. This is your future, not somebody else's, therefore it is up to you to get yourself where you want to be. You will not regret it!