My first-generation journey to college and corporate America

September 14, 2021 | 4 minute read
Marissa Martinez
Oracle Marketing Specialist
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Mission inclusion

Inclusive culture means that everyone not only has a seat at the table, but they are actively being included in the conversation. It means constantly challenging ourselves to create a welcoming environment and make everyone feel that their voice and ideas matter.

My name is Marissa Martinez, and I am a Marketing Specialist on the Marketing Operations team here at Oracle. I am a May 2021 graduate from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Corporate Communication and a minor in Business.

Growing up, I aspired to attend the University of Texas at Austin. For many years, my parents and I attended every football home opener game. I remember walking around the campus imagining attending a game as a student. It was my ultimate goal to be the first in my family to attend college, specifically UT.

After many years of hard work and determination, I finally made that dream a reality. Once I arrived on UT’s campus, I began to tackle the challenges that lay ahead: navigating college as a low-income, first-generation student; determining an academic pathway; and finding a potential career path. I started as a Psychology major, but quickly became inspired by a noticeable shift in marketing, particularly with diverse people and voices in advertisements and campaigns.

Marissa MartinezThis led me to switch my major to Corporate Communication during my sophomore year. I joined several philanthropic campus organizations centered around building and supporting underrepresented communities on campus. I was passionate about the fight against social injustices and ethnic inequalities and was determined to enter the marketing field and make real change. I became particularly interested in changing the narrative within the technology realm—where people and women of color are notably underrepresented—and paving a way for other students with similar backgrounds to see people like them and believe that they could do it as well.

Navigating corporate America

Joining a company that supports diverse initiatives and encourages people to voice their opinions was one of my top priorities. I needed to feel that I would truly be supported and allowed to not only have a seat at the table, but also enact real change and work on meaningful projects. I spent many hours researching and applying for internships, only to hear back from a small handful, none of which were my top choice companies.

My journey took a turn when COVID-19 began and many companies that extended internship offers canceled their programs. Soon, I was again left with nothing and was forced to start back at square one. I knew that Oracle could offer the challenge I craved after discovering the Oracle Scholars Program and partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and learning about how Oracle supports and encourages all its employees from diverse backgrounds. I knew that this opportunity would push me to grow not only professionally, but personally.

Not long after, I got a call from a hiring manager at Oracle and began the interview process for the 2020 Summer Marketing Internship program. I truly felt as if each person I met with was interested in me and what I had to offer. After I completed my interviews, I then received a call notifying me that I had been selected as one of Oracle’s Corporate Scholars through the UNCF program and would be awarded a scholarship for the upcoming academic year along with an internship for the summer.

Moving forward

My internship experience was so much more than I could have imagined. I was able to network with multiple executives and gain valuable advice, make new friends, and work on impactful projects—all remotely! As I entered my final year of college, I continued to work within my communities on campus and spread the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my time at both UT and Oracle. It is my long-term goal to continue to support and lend a hand to the organizations and communities that have supported me. I have had opportunities that many students like me never get a chance to experience and I hope to continue to encourage and mentor low-income, minority, and first-generation students to aspire for goals larger than they thought were possible.

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Illustration: Wes Rowell; Photography: Courtesy of Marissa Martinez

Marissa Martinez

Oracle Marketing Specialist

Marissa Martinez is a marketing specialist on the Marketing Operations team at Oracle.


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