The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Woman in STEM: Xavier senior receives recognition for proficiency in computer science

Ellie Hilsabeck
MJ Martinez opens her scholarship acceptance box from Amazon. She is one of 400 recipients of this award.

MaryJose “MJ” Martinez ‘24 has recently received two prestigious scholarships for her work in the computer science field. Martinez is the recipient of the LinkedIn Possibilities in Tech Scholarship and the Amazon Future Engineers Scholarship. 

Both scholarships offer 40,000 dollars and mentorship over four years. The LinkedIn Scholarship also includes a laptop and a three-day trip to the LinkedIn headquarters. The Amazon Scholarship provides a paid internship after the student’s first year of college, a rare opportunity for freshmen. 

The LinkedIn Scholarship was only given to 25 seniors nationwide and the Amazon scholarship was awarded to 400. For Martinez to receive both shows how competitive and impressive she was as an applicant. 

“My mindset through all this was to at least try and apply. I was not really expecting anything. I just wanted to give myself the satisfaction that I at least tried,” Martinez said.

Martinez began taking the required computer programming class during her sophomore year at Xavier. “After that, I began having fun. I thought I was going to do it once and get it over with, but I found myself really immersed in the software side,” she said. 

Leon Tynes, computer programming teacher, found the LinkedIn Scholarship through a colleague on Twitter and encouraged his students to apply for this opportunity. 

“They just look for good candidates that meet the criteria, are focused and have a passion for computer science or engineering,” Tynes said. 

Tynes strongly recommends his students apply for these scholarships. In years past, students have not applied, but this year Martinez and a few other students really committed to the application process.  

In her free time, Martinez got involved with robotics and learned C++, JavaScript and furthered her knowledge on Java to learn as much as she could about programming.

“I hope this inspires people to search for the opportunities and take them,” Martinez said. 

In addition to her involvement in computer science and robotics, Martinez is also the editor-in-chief of the XPress. While journalism and computer science do not traditionally cross over, Martinez can take her computer science skills and develop online newspapers. Her proficiency with computers will help her tremendously in the digital journalism field. 

“Since these are two things I really love, I hope that in the future I am involved in a project to create a networking platform for journalists, so it can be more accessible to everyone.”

Martinez plans to attend Arizona State University in the fall. Amazon, as well as other large tech companies, are establishing headquarters in Arizona. Martinez will be at the forefront of these opportunities by studying nearby. Staying close to companies with roots in Arizona opens doors for internship and employment positions in the future. 

“I want to encourage more girls to apply for these scholarships. The money is out there and every program in the United States is looking for more women in STEM, and we can meet that need as an all-girls school,” Tynes said.

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