Oliver Martinez

EXCEL Program Scholar

When Oliver Martinez came to GateWay Community College, his original focus was to play soccer. But he soon realized there could be more to his college experience after hearing about the EXCEL program and the services it offered. 

“My girlfriend at the time was an EXCEL Peer Mentor and she would always mention how great the program she works for is,” Martinez said. “Being a college student, I would get hungry during classes and my girlfriend mentioned that if I joined EXCEL I could get a snack!” 

After he was accepted into the program, he immediately felt at home. In his first meeting with the EXCEL program coordinator, he said, “I felt supported, and I feel I could tell her anything. In our first meeting we discussed my academic goals and how the EXCEL program can assist me.”

After moving from Nogales, Martinez felt a new sense of comfort by joining the EXCEL program and became friends with many of the peer mentors. With his new community, he immediately felt that he had a network of people to talk to. He participated in workshops and learned tips and tricks on being successful in school. Additionally, he learned how to use financial aid and other resources that are provided at GateWay. 

“In my particular situation, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position as a peer mentor and help students, similar to how my peer mentors guided me,” says Martinez. “Being engaged as an EXCEL scholar has provided me constant support to achieve my academic goals. With the help of my EXCEL family, I am earning my Associate of Arts degree and will transfer to the University of Arizona. I cannot thank them enough.”

GateWay Community College is one of only three Maricopa Community Colleges with the EXCEL Program. EXCEL is a student success program providing student scholars with assistance to navigate college toward degree completion and university transfer. The program is funded by the Arizona Community Foundation in partnership with College Success Arizona. 

For more information and to apply, please visit www.gatewaycc.edu/excel.