Julie Martinez is a Junior at California State University Channel Islands with a passion for Psychology, community-based research, and community engagement. Julie is a highly motivated, high-achieving individual who focuses many of her academic endeavors on social equity and civic engagement. She goes beyond direct service, engaging in collaborative action to seek long-term solutions for social issues. She has been working with Growing Works, a non-profit located in Camarillo, CA, collaborating with mental health patients who are engaged in horticultural therapy and vocational training to help them develop strategies for coping with mental illness and finding productive ways to live while finding an appreciation for growing plants. Julie is currently researching this area, examining the extent to which vocational training in a non-profit has an impact on the physical and mental well-being of those diagnosed with mental illness.
I first became involved in addressing issues of mental health through community-based research and service by enrolling in two undergraduate Psychology courses: Research Design and Statistics and a Faculty-Led research course. These courses and my research at Growing Works, a non-profit based seeking to provide long-term mental health solutions through horticultural therapy and vocational training, helped me to understand long term effects mental illness has on relationships, productivity, and well-being. In April 2020, I will be presenting research findings on these effects at the annual Western Psychological Association Convention. On-campus, I am a part of the Psi Chi and will be helping to put on International Day of Happiness. This day will be a celebration of mental wellness, fostering inspiration, and appreciation for mind, body, and spiritual well-being.