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Staff Profile: Yadira Martinez
Resident Director of Scott Hall

Even though Yadira Martinez loves students and has a drive to teach, she remembers a few years ago when teaching seemed overwhelming.

“I remember getting home from teaching and not wanting to do anything. It was a challenge. I just didn’t have anything to look forward to.”

At a time when many people would have considered taking time off or cutting back on work, Yadira decided the best thing would be to search for an experience that would light a spark in her.

So Yadira found a position as Scott Hall residential director, commuting between teaching in Muskegon, Mich., and living in Holland, Mich.

“I thought being an R.D. would be an interesting thing to do.”

At home in Scott Hall, Yadira lives with students who are attending Hope not only from across the U.S. but around the world. Yadira, who hails from Mexico, graduated from Hope in 2007. She sees a lot of students who are facing the same issues that she faced when she came to Holland from Mexico at age 15, when she says she cried every day.

Thankfully, Yadira is in a position where she can guide and encourage students who are studying in an unfamiliar culture.

“The students here that I connect with are so far away from home. They can’t just go home and hug their mom or dad. It’s good for them to know that they have a friend next door, one who is interested in their culture.”

The close partnership between Scott Hall and the Phelps Scholars Program has allowed Yadira to connect with many students from many nationalities, providing her with countless conversations.

“I want to share my experience. One of my goals in life is to encourage minority students to strive for college.”

Whether it be helping students with Spanish homework or simply listening to a student express frustration, Yadira finds joy in connecting with Hope students on a daily basis.

“We are a family. We get to know each other, to trust one another. I stop by and see how they are doing. It’s like being a friend but on a different level.”

Yadira’s time at Hope has been a win-win for all. The students of Scott Hall get the encouragement and wisdom of someone who has gone before them and handled many of the same struggles, and for Yadira, the spark has been relit.

“They are long days, but I enjoy what I do. I love teaching, but also, I have the strength to teach, because I look forward to coming back home.”

This profile was written by Charlie A. Walter, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2010-11 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.