“I’ve always been fascinated with muscle groups and body mechanics,” said 20-year-old
Cayden Martinez. “Even as a child, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the
Martinez is one of four Midland College (MC) sophomores who have already been accepted
into Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM). The students will graduate from
MC with associate degrees in May and then take classes at the University of North
Texas (UNT) beginning in August. After taking upper-level undergraduate classes for
one year at UNT, they will begin medical school at TCOM in the summer of 2019. The
program is a partnership between Midland College, the University of North Texas, Texas
College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midland Health. Students in the Primary Care
Pathways program pursue a rigorous curriculum that enables them to earn a medical
degree in just seven years. They participate in clinical rotations at Midland Memorial
Hospital, and at the completion of the seven-year program, they will have an opportunity
to serve as medical residents for Midland Health.
“I almost got kicked out of the program,” said Martinez. “I didn’t take my first
semester at Midland College very seriously. High school was really easy for me, so
when I entered college, I mistakenly assumed that I could ‘breeze by’ as I had done
at Midland High. I rarely went to my classes and didn’t study for exams. We have
to maintain a 3.5 GPA every semester at Midland College in order to stay in the Primary
Care Pathways program. That means we have to mainly make A’s with just a few Bs.
My grades at the end of the first semester consisted of just one A. The rest were
Bs and Cs.
“I was really devastated at the end of that first semester. I felt sorry for myself,
and I remember complaining to my grandmother. My grandmother said that I was being
ridiculous, and there was no reason why I should have done so poorly. She said, ‘When
I was in nursing school, I had three kids and two jobs. If I did it, you can too!’
So, I took my grandmother’s advice and started being serious about getting into medical
Martinez visited with program personnel and convinced them to allow her to stay in
the program on probationary status. She quit the MC cheerleading squad so that she
would have more time to study, and she attended tutoring sessions every day. By the
end of her second semester, she was able to raise her GPA to the 3.5 program requirement.
Martinez has managed to maintain high grades after that first disastrous semester,
and today she has a 3.75 GPA at Midland College. She will live in Denton, TX for
the next four years, while she attends UNT and TCOM.
“I guess that I was predestined to have a career in healthcare,” said Martinez. “Anatomy
and physiology have always interested me, and I’ve always enjoyed science. My grandmother
is a nurse, and my father is a radiology technician. My mother’s family is in the
mortuary business. As a child and teenager, I often wondered if there was anything
that could have prevented people from dying.”
Martinez is the daughter of Lorena Martinez and Edward Hernandez. She was born in
Odessa and later moved to Midland. She graduated in 2016 from Midland High School.
She began taking gymnastics classes in the third grade at the age of 9. This eventually
led to cheerleading for three years while she was in high school and then one semester
in college until she decided to forgo cheerleading in order to pursue her future career
in medicine. Martinez still performs gymnastics and works out at home in order to
balance the long hours of studying. In addition, she and her grandmother Laura Hernandez
play tennis at the MC tennis courts.
Martinez said that the favorite part of her day is going home to her two dogs Buddy
and Vinny. Buddy is a Bichon Frise, and Vinny is a Bichon Frise/Poodle mix.
“I’m really glad that I decided to listen to my grandmother and get serious about
college after that first semester,” said Martinez. “I hope to eventually practice
medicine in West Texas, but the location really doesn’t matter, as long as I enjoy
what I’m doing.”