Nelson Martinez De Los Santos, a sophomore at the College of the Holy Cross, was nominated because of his extensive civic engagement, his commitment to utilizing his excellent public speaking skills to advocate for vulnerable populations, and his embrace of the Jesuit ideal of being a man “for and with others.” In his time at the College, he has already been co-chair of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), a Resident Assistant, an Executive Board member of the Social Justice Coalition, and a speaker at the Ignatian Family Teach-In--where he spoke about immigration reform to an audience of over 2000 people. The issues about which Nelson has spoken publicly are very personal to him. He is a first-generation college student who grew up in a low income and Latinx community. From a young age, he became aware of the experiences and opportunities that students from communities like his are typically denied. This awareness motivated him to become involved in using his voice to be a public advocate for Latinx and immigrant youth like himself. He is a cheerful and easygoing person, while also being a dependable leader who strives to create a sense of belonging for all.
Growing up in a low-income and Latinx majority community, I was aware of the experiences and opportunities that students from communities like mine are typically deprived of accessing. With this knowledge, I helped raise over a hundred thousand dollars with the Arizona Boys & Girls Club through speaking at various galas and exhibitions about the need for the opportunities provided by the Club for children in low-income communities. I then helped advocate for my community’s immigrant population when I spoke in front of 2,000 students from various colleges and high schools at the Ignatian Family Teach-In in Washington D.C., sharing my story and urging participants to meet with senators and representatives to push immigration reform. I’ve met with various representatives and senators to present possible solutions for immigration reform and push for environmental reform. On campus, I’ve continued to help communities like mine by being on the Social Justice Coalition Executive Board and a Resident Assistant as well as being co-chair for the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). Through LASO, I create events that allow students from the Latinx population to come in contact with resourceful campus financial and academic resources and help improve community relations within the Latinx population.