His passion is bugs—all types, but especially scorpions and spiders. His ultimate
career goal is to work for the Smithsonian Institute, where the entomology collection
is the largest in the world. Alex Martinez, 23, wants to research proteins of venomous
insects in order to find a solution to combat diseases of the human nervous system.
In order to accomplish his career goal, Martinez is currently pursuing a baccalaureate
degree in Biology at Sul Ross State University (SRSU). Through a cooperative agreement
between Midland College (MC) and SRSU, Martinez is able to complete all his coursework,
including intensive laboratory classes, on the main MC campus. He will graduate in
August and then plans to immediately begin taking graduate courses leading to a master’s
degree in Biology.
“I couldn’t have done this without the opportunity to stay in Midland,” explained
Martinez. “I have a family and a full-time job, so the option of taking classes in
Midland instead of the Sul Ross main campus in Alpine was very appealing. The program
is excellent. The lecture component of my courses is taught via interactive video,
and the labs are taught by Midland College professors in state-of-the-art facilities
on the MC campus.”
Martinez has lived in West Texas his entire life. He has claimed Midland as home
for the past nine years. He was born in Odessa and lived in Lubbock for five years
as a child while his father was pursuing a Chemical Engineering degree at Texas Tech.
Martinez graduated early from Midland High School in 2012 because his girlfriend was
pregnant, and he felt a sense of responsibility to obtain a full-time job in order
to support his son Gabriel.
Education has always been important to the Martinez family. His father pursued his
Chemical Engineering degree while he was in his 30s and had a family. So, Alex knew
that having a child and job was no excuse for not going to college. He enrolled at
Midland College in Fall of 2012 realizing that in order to advance his career, he
needed to obtain a college degree.
“I had taken some dual credit classes from Midland College when I was in high school;
I knew what to expect from college courses,” said Martinez. “I was doing well for
a few months, but then my girlfriend left me. I was heartbroken. I dropped out of
MC, simply because I was having a hard time coping with life.”
Martinez stopped out of Midland College for a semester, but in January 2013, he decided
it was time to once again return to college, so he re-enrolled in Midland College
and said that was when his life began to change. He not only discovered that he had
a passion for science, but he also fell in love.
“I met Allison for the first time in a Midland College Math class,” stated Martinez.
“It truly was love at first sight for me—but not for her. I asked her out on a date
three times before she finally accepted. Our first date was lunch at Jumburrito on
Wadley. I guess she decided I wasn’t so bad because a few months later when I asked
her to marry me, she said ‘yes.’”
Alex continued taking classes at Midland College and working at various locations
including Petsmart and Wells Fargo. However, in spring 2016, he suffered a severe
motorcycle accident and physically wasn’t able to attend classes. After recuperating
for several months, Martinez returned to Midland College in January of 2017. A year
later, in December 2017, he graduated with honors and received an Associate of Science
degree. While completing his associate degree, he also began taking courses toward
a bachelor’s degree in Biology. He took 18 credit hours this past spring semester
and is attending summer school so that he will be able to graduate from SRSU in August.
He now works as the night manager for the Holiday Inn Express in Midland, and his
wife Allison works evenings performing office work at Midland Memorial Hospital.
Alex said that his parents help with child care in the evenings when Allison and he
are working. The couple have two daughters—Sophia, age 2, and Genevieve, who is 5
“As soon as I graduate from Sul Ross, I’ll start taking graduate classes toward a
master’s degree in Biology,” explained Martinez. “After I complete my master’s degree,
it will be Allison’s turn to attend school. Her ultimate career goal is to be a neuropsychologist.”
Even though Martinez is passionate about bugs, he also has other interests. In fact,
one might consider him to be a bit of a “Renaissance man.” In 2000, after watching
the Olympics, he became interested in fencing. He now teaches private fencing classes.
He also has an affinity for finance. He dabbles in the stock market, and is extremely
proud of his credit score, which is 748. According to Experian, a score of 720+ is
thought to be excellent, especially for someone in their 20s who is attending college
and has a family.
“It just takes being organized and determined to make life work,” said Martinez.
“Life threw me some curve balls while I was in my late teens and early 20s, but I’ve
always had a goal. Through my divorce with my first wife and then my motorcycle accident,
I learned that even though things can get difficult, it’s important to get right back
out there and keep striving for that goal.”