Student Success | Class of 2015

Gabriela Martinez - College of Natural and Social Sciences, Class of 2015GABRIELA MARTINEZ
Bachelor of Arts in sociology
College of Natural and Social Sciences

Gabriela Martinez has been a role model and passionate advocate for her fellow Cal State L.A. students.

A former competitive swimmer, she was paralyzed from the neck down after diving into a pool. She was just 13 years old.

After the accident, Gabriela was hospitalized for two months and was told that she would never regain movement. But 18 months later, she took her first steps with the help of a walker.

At Cal State L.A., Gabriela became a spokeswoman for the Office for Students with Disabilities, and she advocates for people with disabilities and women of color through collaborations with Los Angeles-area community groups.

“My disability is an ability to see the world in a different perspective,” she says.

She made the Cal State L.A. Dean’s List from 2013 to 2015 and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and a recipient of the University’s Undergraduate Service Learning and Community Engagement Projects Award.

Her goal is to continue working on behalf of people with disabilities and women of color.

I feel like life has given me so much,” Gabriela says. “I can give some of that back.”


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