Jacqueline Martinez receives bachelor’s and master’s degrees during the 2022 commencement ceremonies, thanks to her mom and dad’s loving support.
USC Dornsife graduating senior Jacqueline Martinez’s parents, including her mother, Argelia Rosas (right), worked overnight cleaning to support their family and pave the way for their daughter to attend USC. (Photo: Gus Ruelas.)
When Jacqueline Martinez talks about graduating from USC, she is quick to credit her parents for their role in helping her achieve her academic dreams.
“Graduation day is essentially the moment I’ve been waiting for — to be able to deliver that bachelor’s and that master’s — because it belongs to my parents,” she says. “Their sacrifices are very much why I’m here.”
On Friday, Martinez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in non-governmental organizations and social change from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Art and Sciences and a master’s degree in communication management with an emphasis in marketing from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Martinez inherited her work ethic from her parents, who for decades have worked the graveyard shift cleaning movie theaters and juggling other jobs. Benjamin Martinez and Argelia Rosas raised their three daughters and one son in Willowbrook, a small, unincorporated community in Los Angeles County between Compton and Watts. Jacqueline, their middle daughter, was a standout student at Ánimo Watts College Preparatory Academy and while she was still in middle school, she set her sights on USC.
Post-graduation, Martinez is seeking a job that allows her to work at the intersection of social impact and entertainment.
“I’m really big on making sure that I’m giving back and paying it forward to people who come from hard situations like myself,” she says. “And I want to make sure that my parents aren’t working multiple jobs forever and that I am able to provide for them long-term in some way, however I can.”
Martinez’s parents say they couldn’t be more pleased with how their daughter has done in college and life in general.
“I’m feeling very happy and proud of her,” Rosas says. “This is something that she’s wanted since she was in high school and has worked very hard for.”
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