The San Angelo native is working toward her ASU master’s degree in security studies with a concentration in national security. She spent part of her summer completing an internship at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a think tank based in DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. Only five students nationwide were chosen for the competitive internship program, and each was assigned two topics for study and research.
“My topics were Hillary Clinton’s foreign policies and the possible outcomes of an EMP, or electro-magnetic pulse, attack,” Martinez said. “We also went to lectureships and met with congressional staffers, so there were a lot of interesting topics to discuss and research.”
The other interns in her group came from the Air Force Academy, Boston College, George Mason University and the University of Maryland.
Dr. Bruce Bechtol of the ASU security studies faculty encouraged Martinez to apply for the internship, and she was accepted after a grueling interview process. Then came the process of figuring out how she was going to afford getting to and staying in Washington, D.C.
“I had to pay for my travel and lodging out of my own pocket, and Washington, D.C., is not cheap,” Martinez said. “The best deal on lodging was at George Washington University, where I stayed in the Philip Amsterdam residence hall. It was only about a 10-minute walk from the White House and a 10-minute walk from the Lincoln Memorial.”
“About twice a week, we’d have events on Capitol Hill,” she added. “There was a speaker series, and the theme this summer was nuclear proliferation. When we didn’t have events on the hill, I conducted daily research. So it was nice to be able to stay nearby.”
Her co-workers at San Angelo wine shop In Vino Veritas also stepped up to help Martinez pay for her trip.
“They had a fundraiser for me, and a lot of people turned out,” she said. “Our manager put it together along with one of our other regular patrons. They sent out a bunch of email invitations, and I think it was supposed to be a surprise, but I got wind of it in advance. It was still really nice, and I was really touched.”
After completing her internship in July, Martinez is now back on campus, where she also has a part-time job in the IT Department.
I Chose ASU—Briana Martinez
Why did you choose ASU?
I felt like I was always going to go to ASU. I grew up in San Angelo, and in ninth grade I was able to join the Up and Coming Scholars program. So in a way, ASU kind of chose me. My older sister also went to ASU and she was an Angelette. I would always go watch her perform at football and basketball games, and I love everything about ASU sports.
What is your favorite place to hang out on campus?
When I was an undergraduate, it was the Multicultural Center. The library is also really cool. I’ve spent many a sleepless night studying in the library—more so now that I’m in grad school.
What campus activities are you involved in?
As an undergraduate, I played intramural sports—pretty much every sport I could. I was also in the Up and Coming Scholars program. Other than that, I’ve worked too much to try to do too many things at once.
What is your favorite thing about being an ASU student?
I definitely like the interactions you can have with your professors. They really care about you and how you are doing in your classes. The smaller class sizes really help with that, as well.
Is there a particular professor who has really made a difference for you?
Dr. Bruce Bechtol in security studies, for sure. He has really taken me under his wing and helped me out a lot. As an undergraduate, my favorite professor was Dr. Arnoldo De León in history. I minored in history and took every class of his that I could. I just love how passionate he was about Mexican-American history and Texas history. Those were my two favorite classes that he taught.
What is your most memorable ASU experience?
I went on a study abroad trip right before I graduated in 2014. We went to France, Germany and Belgium, and we also went to Switzerland during our off week. We studied the European Union and European etiquette.
Have there been any surprises for you at ASU?
When I first started at ASU, it was hard to transition from high school to college. In the Up and Coming Scholars program, you have to meet with a counselor twice a semester. Hope Garza was my counselor, and I felt like she genuinely cared about how I was doing in school and how I was getting along with everyone. It was a very personal element that I think is hard to find at bigger universities.
What would you say to prospective students considering ASU?
I would tell them to just come to ASU. Don’t let the size of the school or the location keep you away. Everything from the friendships I’ve made and the professors to the classes and especially the library, being at ASU is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.