Gabriela Martinez

Nursing Assistant Certificate

Gabriela Martinez was born in Phoenix, Arizona and moved with her family to Mexico when she was an infant. Her father later returned to the United States to work and provide for his family. Martinez was raised primarily by her mother and lived with her six siblings, four older and two younger. She attended school until she reached the 7th grade when family problems forced her to drop out. Regardless of her situation, she always held out hope that she would be able to continue her education.

After her 18th birthday, Martinez decided to return to the United States. She relocated to Yakima and began living with her cousin. She learned about Yakima Valley College’s English Language Acquisition (formerly English as a Second Language) program. “The need and the desire I always had to learn English compelled me to come to YVC,” Martinez explains.

She began taking ELA and ABE courses. With the help of these classes, and support for her instructors, her English improved. In 2017 she began YVC’s Nursing Assistant Certificate (I-BEST) program. Today, she works as a nurse’s aide.

Her new job has given her the opportunity to meet new people. At the encouragement of one of her clients she decided to continue her education and earn a GED. This milestone was a huge accomplishment and allowed her to enroll in college and apply for financial assistance.

“The experience I had as a student with the ESL and ABE teachers attending YVC was wonderful, pleasant and helpful for my education and to be better as a human-being, because I became more patient and passionate in all what I do,” she said. “All of these events I’ve been through at YVC have transformed my life. Now I am starting as a full-time college student taking math, English, and Chicano studies. I’m pretty sure with hard work and good teachers I will accomplish my next goal, which is to earn a degree in psychology.”

Martinez hopes to transfer to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology.