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Overcoming imposter syndrome, Aleida found a home at MSU

For most Spartans, college is always part of the plan; an education beyond high school is just the way things work. This wasn’t the case for Aleida Martinez, a child of Texan migrant workers who grew up traveling north every summer for seasonal work. Aleida’s parents didn’t want her to leave home until she was married, but Aleida had other ideas. Spartan Advantage helped her dream become reality.

“I wanted something different,” Aleida said. “I was a rebel.”

Two programs helped Aleida in her journey to be the first person from her family to get a college degree: the Spartan Advantage scholarship, which helped her financially for four years, and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which supported her as a first-generation student on campus.

“CAMP made me feel at home, but Spartan Advantage made it realistic for me to stay,” Aleida said.

While Spartan Advantage made an MSU education a possibility, Aleida still faced many hurdles.

“From dealing with imposter syndrome to not having anyone to turn to at home, it was challenging,” Aleida said. “My first year, I worked two or three jobs while trying to be involved.”

For Aleida, being involved meant joining every organization on campus that had something to do with supporting her culture.

“We (Latinx students) were just a small percentage of campus,” Aleida said. “MSU really opened the door to my learning so much about my culture and background.”

The support she received while she was at MSU led Aleida to return to campus and help other first-generation students succeed.

“I graduated and went into the corporate world but was able to come back to MSU and work with CAMP,” Aleida said. “I know how impactful it is, and it has been very rewarding. It almost doesn’t feel like a job.”

One part of Aleida’s job as a Student Services Coordinator is helping students from backgrounds like hers stay on track and graduate, and Spartan Advantage plays a big part in that effort.

“For a lot of first-generation students, Spartan Advantage has been the reason they have been able to finish what they started at MSU,” Aleida said. “Without SPAD, MSU would be without a large population of underrepresented students, a lot of really promising individuals that make a huge impact on campus.”