Education Visiting Faculty Member Focused on Improving Latino Experience

professor Eligio Martinez Jr.
Eligio Martinez, Jr.

Cal Poly Pomona’s mission to be a Hispanic-Serving institution is one that visiting professor Eligio Martinez Jr. resonates with. His research focuses on the Chicano/Latino male educational experience, being a champion for improvement at multiple levels.

Currently, he’s working on multiple research projects on the Chicano/Latino experience at the primary, secondary and college levels.

One research project focuses on middle school, which is a critical juncture that filters students into different educational trajectories. Often, Chicano/Latino and other males of color are placed into lower academic tracks and have increased disciplinary action towards them, Martinez says.

In another study he is working with a UCLA colleague, Adrian Huerta, exploring Chicano/Latino male’s community college experience. The significance of the study lies in the statistics: 85 percent of Latino students begin their college careers at community colleges—but only 15 percent transfer.

“We were asked to come in to conduct this research with the hope of launching an intervention that can help improve outcomes for Latino males,” he says.

His interest in the subject was spurred by his experience as a freshman recruiter for UCLA.

“While I already had an interest in education policy, my time as a recruiter reinforced that interest,” he says. “I became curious of how some students became prepared and more competitive for college admissions as compared to others.”

Martinez also contributes to research on the national level, as a research affiliate of Project M.A.L.E.S. at the University of Texas at Austin, where he works with other national leaders focused on the same subject. This past August, he attended a national convening at the University of Pennsylvania, which celebrated the launch of the new research center: RISE for Boys and Men of Color.

Martinez at the RISE launch
Photos Courtesy of Eligio Martinez, Jr.
“This convening brought together leading researchers, practitioners and policy makers with the objective of setting a new research agenda that can begin to move the conversation of around issues facing boys and men of color forward,” he says.

Martinez grew up locally in Santa Ana before earning his bachelor’s from UCLA. After taking a few years off, he earned his M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where he was awarded an Institute of Education Sciences Doctoral Fellowship.

Cal Poly Pomona offers its faculty countless opportunities to impact the community in and out of the classroom, which is what drew Martinez to the university. He teaches Leadership for Equity and Advocacy and Community Engagement and Partnership courses in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.

“I’m looking forward to immersing myself with the campus community as well as the external community,” he says. “Cal Poly Pomona has always been a great place for Latino students and I’m hoping to do my part to help keep it that way. “