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ALUMNI NEWS
It's the place to be...for now

Someday, Eddie Martinez will return to his native California. But for now, New York’s the place to be for the Mission College alum

"I grew up in the Valley," he said. "I love the mountains, the beaches, the nice weather. But the pace here is a lot faster. The museums are epic There’s always something to do in New York City."

Photo illustration of Eddie Martinez in front of a subway map of New York City.

Martinez, a 2001 graduate of Mission College, attends the renowned Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and will graduate in spring 2005.

Martinez doesn’t kid himself about the city that so many natives seem to love and hate at the same time.

"It’s cold, it’s sweaty, it’s smelly," he said. "People here are very distant and competitive." But, he added, everyone in New York seems to come from somewhere else, and the perspectives they have on life are different and interesting.

Martinez plans to apply to MIT, NYU and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. But graduate school is not a certainty. As a graduation requirement, Martinez will work part-time for a design firm in the New York area soon. For some students, that can lead to offers of full-time employment, he said.

"Design is becoming necessary in many fields, so I’m open to lots of possibilities," he said. "I’ve worked on comic books, short films, Web design, and right now I’m re-designing the interiors and furniture of a women’s shelter."

More recently, Martinez has become interested in toy design, electronics and even designing medical prostheses.

The 23-year-old student credits Mission College with helping him take care of his general requirements. This allowed him to concentrate on studio classes at Parsons and gave him more time to work on individual projects. Mission, he added, "…gave me a heads up on math and English" – subjects he didn’t think much about at the time but which turned out to be important in his field.

He also credits Claudio Ramirez and other Mission College multimedia instructors for getting him interested in motion graphics and other specialized classes that led to design. That, in turn, encouraged him to look beyond the comfort of Southern California for the "best design school around," which he feels is Parsons.

Martinez’s New York experience began inauspiciously. Two weeks after moving into his Manhattan dorm, the World Trade Center was attacked. Martinez joined dazed New Yorkers in mourning and volunteering while his classes at Parsons were thrown into temporary chaos.

"The attack really shocked me," he recalled. "It made me realize that the world is not a perfect place, that there are a lot of bad things in it."

He never once considered leaving, he said.

"I felt that I was in the middle of history. To leave after working so hard to get there wouldn’t make any sense."

Two and a half years later, Martinez has put down roots. He’s developed many close and personal relationships and now lives, not in a dorm, but in his own apartment in Brooklyn.

Does he encourage other students to look beyond Southern California for college and their future?

"Oh, yeah," he said. "It’s definitely worth it."

– BY EDUARDO PARDO

Editor's note: In October 2001, Eddie Martinez wrote an account of his 9/11 experiences for the Mission College "President's Newsletter."  Read it here.