Interview with Sandra Martinez
A Conversation with Sandra Martinez, Academic Research Coach
What’s something about you that surprises people when they first hear it?
I ran my first full marathon when I was 12 years old! I was part of a program in middle school called Students Run LA, which trained students to prepare for the LA Marathon. We progressively did longer races throughout the year beginning with 5Ks and culminating with the full 26.2 miles. I have no idea how my 12-year-old self was able to complete the marathon, but it was an amazing learning experience!
If you have to relive the same day for the rest of your life, which day would you choose?
A couple of years ago, I visited Italy during the winter holidays. My fiancé and I traveled to a small town called Tivoli where we visited the Villa d'Este. Because of the holidays, the entire villa was empty and we had the museums, gardens, and breathtaking views all to ourselves. It was an incredibly magical day and I would love to relive that trip.
Can you tell me about your family? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and, up until this past January, had lived there my entire life. I am the youngest of three siblings and have three amazing nieces and nephews. My parents emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico, more than 35 years ago. The rest of my extended family is spread across the country but the majority still lives in Mexico. My favorite memories growing up all took place during our yearly summer trips to my parents' hometown of Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, where we got to spend time with our family. Including both sides of my family, I have more than 65 first cousins; there was never a dull moment during family reunions!
With your current position in DHM, how would your 10-year-old self react to what you do? How did you get into what you're doing now? What originally got you interested in it?
As a child, I loved Bill Nye and always wanted to be a scientist. I'd like to think that my 10-year-old self would appreciate me choosing research as a career. I became involved in research early in my undergrad career which really paved the way for me attending graduate school and obtaining my MPH in Epidemiology. I first became interested in epidemiology after learning about infectious diseases and infection prevention in hospitals. I was fascinated by how we can utilize data to observe patterns and identify risks among certain populations. As an Academic Research Coach, I feel very lucky to be part of projects that focus on improving health outcomes.
What's the scariest thing you've ever done, and why did you do it?
As a very risk-averse individual, I think the scariest thing that I have done was move to one of the most expensive cities to live in! My fiancé and I moved for work, and even though I miss my family in Los Angeles, I absolutely love living in San Francisco. Especially during these uncertain times, I feel very fortunate to be living in such an amazing city.