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Student spotlight – Christina Martinez
 
Friends of Christina Martinez listen up: She cannot help you get out of a parking ticket.

“I always have to tell them I can’t do anything about it,” said the mathematical biology major who works 20 hours a week as a student office clerk in the University of Houston Police Department.

Another common misconception? That she works in lost and found.

“I don’t know why they think that, but they do,” she said.

So what does she do? Four days a week, she works at the UHPD building at the corner of Scott and Wheeler under the guidance of Cindy Granier, the personnel unit’s program manager. The job, which she has held for the past year, entails a lot of scanning, filing and inputting information.

Occasionally, she’ll get to do something different, such as creating the flier used for this year’s National Night Out event, which was held Oct. 2 in Lynn Eusan Park near the Cougar Village residential facility.

Although her work-study job is with the campus police department, she is pursuing a career that has nothing to do with law enforcement. When she graduates from UH in December, she hopes to find a job working in a research lab. Genetics is what captures her interest the most, but she also has developed a liking for bio-statistics.

Martinez was born and raised in Houston and is a graduate of Barbara Jordan High School for Careers, a magnet school in the Houston Independent School District. While in high school, she was focusing on photography as her main interest. It wasn’t until her junior year that she took a pre-calculus class with a certain teacher that her interest in mathematics blossomed.

“While other students would struggle to understand a concept, I would be the only one who would get it,” she said. “It just clicked with me.”

Upon high school graduation, she wanted to attend the University of Texas at Austin, but her father wanted her to be closer to home, so she applied and was accepted into UH.

She is the first person in her family to go to the University of Houston and is the first so far to attend college. She has four older brothers and sisters.

Originally, she wanted to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, but quickly discovered that wasn’t the right path for her.

“So I started thinking about pursuing a degree in math. Then I was looking online and I saw a new major at UH called mathematical biology. It sounded like the right thing for me,” Martinez said.

In between working at UHPD and her studies, she finds time to relax by reading and listening to rock and roll. Attending rock concerts is her way of releasing stress. Her favorite group is the Silversun Pickups, an alternative band that formed in Los Angeles in 2002.

Although UH wasn’t her original choice, she’s now glad that she ended up coming.

“I grew to love it,” she said. “I love the people I’ve met here.”