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Incoming Atwater Student Drawing on Discipline and Training for College Success

August 5, 2022
Meet incoming first-year student Lizet Martin-Martinez.
Meet incoming first-year student Lizet Martin-Martinez.

UC Merced is highlighting incoming first-year students for fall 2022 — a dynamic, diverse and accomplished cohort of new Bobcats.

Lizet Martin-Martinez might not have had any family role models for her college career, but she has no problem kicking obstacles out of her way to reach her bright future.

Her father trained in martial arts when he was young and encouraged her to do the same so she could take care of herself. She has been studying martial arts for the past four years and is now a first-degree black belt.

“I have learned many valuable lessons, such as humility and discipline,” Martin-Martinez said. “The discipline instilled in me throughout my training has helped provide me with the focus, self-confidence and drive that helped me excel in and out of the classroom.”

As an outstanding student at Buhach Colony High School in her hometown of Atwater, Martin-Martinez earned four college scholarships: the UC Merced Frances M. Benton Honors Scholarship; the Bob Green Honorary Scholarship, the Everhart Memorial Scholarship; and the Bloss Memorial Scholarship. She also earned the biliteracy seal from her school.

The drive and focus it took for those achievements are going to be key to achieving her ambitious university plan.

“My family and I have experienced the shortage of medical professionals here in the Valley. My hope is to not only study here at UC Merced's medical program, but to stay and practice here,” she said.

But a medical education doesn't mean Martin-Martinez will only be focused on the future. She also intends to develop a strict academic schedule for herself so that she can fit in both studying and time off. Part of her school-life balance will include joining clubs and organizations and building lifelong friendships.

“A challenge I know I will face is finding that school and life balance. I want to make these next four years memorable while also having good grades,” the 17-year-old said.

Like many other Bobcats, Martin-Martinez found inspiration in the people around her.

“My martial arts instructor always encouraged me to go to college and pursue a career that would make me happy,” she said. “I want to inspire others and be an example of someone who gives back to the community that has given me so many opportunities.”