Staff Spotlight: Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez is a Research Associate at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, supporting the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute.

Martinez received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, minoring in Latino Studies from Cornell University. Martinez then went on to receive a master’s degree in Higher Education, currently finishing his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania.


When the Center moved from Pennsylvania to Rutgers, Martinez decided to follow in order to continue his research on minority-serving institutions. More specifically, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) is what Martinez specializes in, which are federal designations for schools that enroll at least 25% Latinx students. A question his research often analyzes is whether schools are becoming HSIs due to the change in demographics or are schools actually changing the way they function? Martinez also formulates suggestions on how HSIs could become more inclusive and supportive of their increased Latinx population.

Furthermore, Martinez provides support on projects related to aspiring presidents of minority-serving institutions and study abroad opportunities at HBCUs/HSIs. In addition, he helps programs such as workshops on opinion piece writing, how to turn your research into reports, and how to make research/reports accessible to a broader audience.

Andrew Martinez’s passion for education began with his mother who was previously a Pre-K teacher’s aide. Coming from a low-income household, his mother worked at a Catholic school in order for a young Martinez to attend, offsetting tuition costs. Martinez’s childhood took place in school as his teachers or mother’s co-workers were similar to aunt and uncle figures. Initially, he thought he wanted to be a teacher in elementary school, a guidance counselor in high school, and a student affairs administrator in college, because the individuals in those roles at the time inspired him. It wasn’t until graduate school where Martinez found his drive to become a Professor. Since then, Martinez already knew he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in order to take the next steps in his career. After completing his master’s, Martinez decided to work a couple of years to gain professional experience. Thanks to GSE faculty member Dr. Marybeth Gasman’s motivation, he truly believed he could do it.

“I just thought I wasn’t smart enough and couldn’t do it, but once I was told I could do it I don’t know why but I started believing it. I think It’s important to be that role model for others. If I didn’t have these specific people in my life I don’t know where I would be,” said Martinez.

To destress, Martinez enjoys going to the mall, watching movies, and brunching. However, he especially enjoys being in the company of his dog, family, and friends. Since he’s originally from the Bronx, he’s a lot closer to home and appreciates the welcoming community of Rutgers GSE.