Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

2024 Martin Scholars

We are pleased to introduce the 2024 Martin Family Foundation Scholars!

Three new Martin Family Foundation Achievement Scholars were selected in May 2024. Below, please find brief bios and tips for future applicants shared by these Scholars. The Martin Achievement Scholarship selects student early in their community college career and will fund, encourage and support their study and eventual transfer to the University of Washington Seattle. Individuals selected for the 2024 MAS will continue at their respective colleges to complete their courses of study and eligibility credits for specific degree work and will transfer to the UW in 2025. The next deadline for the MAS will be April 2025. 

Three new Martin Family Foundation Honors Scholars will be selected in September 2024. The Martin Family Foundation Honors Scholarship enables Washington State Community College students of exceptional ability and outstanding achievement to complete their baccalaureate degrees at the University of Washington in Seattle. The next deadline for the MHS will be July 2024.

2024 Martin Achievement Scholars:


Gabriel Nuñez-Sanchez, Edmonds College

Hello, my name is Gabriel Nuñez-Sanchez and I go by Gabe. I’m a carpenter, student, husband, and entrepreneur. I’ve been pursuing an associate degree in construction management for 2.5 years now as a first-gen student. Next year, I’ll be finishing a Business DTA with the intention to pursue a bachelor’s degree in construction management at UW Seattle. In my free time, I love to go on road trips, discover new music, and go out with my family.

Having come from a smaller city, I always felt compelled to leave my home and chase a big adventure. At the time, those plans didn’t include college. Yet here I am with a passion for learning and an aching desire to better my community.

What motivated me to apply for this scholarship was the fact that I’ve held onto a dream that seemed impossible when I first started. With each step forward I’ve learned to question what I’m truly capable of and my application was an extension of that.

I plan on using this opportunity to help my brother grow his construction company and make our late mother proud. My parents always wanted to become entrepreneurs, but their plans were cut short when one of them passed away. That’s why I’m so honored to be a Martin Scholar; I get to live out the dreams that my parents never could.

A gift like this one is rare, and being on the receiving end feels like a movie. Even though I have a story to tell, I never thought so many people would care – and I am truly touched.

Gabe’s near and long-term goals:

I’ll be focusing on my studies and applying for internships very soon. After graduation, I’d love to work in land development/procurement. I plan on using my education and expertise to help expand my brother’s business into a large-scale development company.

Gabe’s tips for future applicants:

Think about what you’ve been through and find a way to write it down. Then expand on the parts that show who you truly are. Lean into how your background has prepared you for the future and what that means for those around you. During this whole process, my motto was “how did you find the courage to grow?”


Isaias Duenas, Columbia Basin College

I am the oldest of four children in our household, born and raised in Kennewick, Washington. My parents immigrated here a year before my birth looking to give me a shot at a better future that they were not able to pursue. Currently, I am attending CBC and about to earn my AA in science and technology. Once my time at my community college comes to an end, I plan on transferring to the University of Washington to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

One of the main reasons why I want to go into this field is due to my passion for designing. Ever since I was a little kid, and still to this day, I’ve been playing with Legos and that’s where my love for designing came from. Even as I grew older, I continued to design things. Me and my dad have built a special bond through this as in my high school days we would work together on fixing cars in our front yard. As a result, I’ve wanted to pursue my passion for designing on a larger scale. That end goal being the ability to design cars that are sustainable for the environment.

As a first-generation college student, I’ve encountered some challenges, such as financial concerns, navigating college and the transfer process. However, I’ve learned to balance being a full-time student as well as a part time worker, and to take advantage of the available resources at my college. For example, this summer I hope to participate in the RENEW-HEP internship at PNNL. Also, next academic year, I will assist in the creation of the CBC chapter of The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) as well as tutoring math for the MESA program. Furthermore, once I learned about the great opportunity the Martin Achievement Scholarship had to offer, I knew I had to apply as it would be a huge breakthrough towards helping me afford my degree. By earning this scholarship not only would it be a huge honor but also a way to show my parents that I was able to accomplish the dreams they were never able to. As time has gone by, I often blamed myself for me being the reason that they were unable to pursue higher education. Now I finally realize that this entire time my parents supported me to chase an education so that they could live their American dream through me.

Isaias’ near and long-term goals:

In the future I plan on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. With this degree I hope to be able to design cars that are sustainable for the environment.

Isaias’ tips for future applicants:

The number one tip I would give to future students who want to apply for this scholarship is to ask yourself the hard questions. Truly try to think about who your are as a person and what you want to accomplish in life. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others as comparison is the greatest thief of joy as I have learned while completing my application. You do belong here and have put in much time and effort to getting to this point.


Thania Guerra, Highline College

My name is Thania. I am a first generation college student, illustrator, graphic designer, and storyteller. I was born in Siguatepeque, Honduras. My family and I immigrated to the United States when I was four years old. From the moment I learned how to speak English I became my family’s cultural navigator, ensuring they could have a basic understanding of how to navigate the American systems. Those moments were shaping my understanding of what it meant to show up for community. My humble beginnings created a burning desire within me to live a life I could be proud of. When I graduated from high school I did not know the direction in which I wanted to go. It took a couple of years of dealing with life to understand what I was truly passionate about. During the gap in my education I dove into my interests and found that graphic design was something I was deeply passionate about. It was the perfect blend of art and language.

In 2022 I had the opportunity to restart my journey as a student at Highline College. At Highline I was met with great instructors that inspired me to continuously challenge myself. I am currently pursuing my associates degree and plan to transfer to the University of Washington to receive a Bachelor of Design with a major in Visual Communications. I applied for this scholarship because having additional financial support would lessen the financial burden of attending a four year institution. This would allow me to primarily focus on my studies rather than worrying about financial matters. In addition to the monetary award, I applied for this scholarship as a means to overcome my fear of academia. I am excited for my future! Getting this far into the scholarship process is something I am proud of!

Thania’s near and long-term goals:

My short-term goal is to continue to overcome my fear of public speaking. I know practice makes perfect so I aim to place myself in uncomfortable positions to master this skill. My long-term goals are to receive my four-year degree, grow my portfolio, build meaningful relationships with my peers, and serve others.

Thania’s tips for future applicants: 

Present your best foot forward in a way that showcases who you truly are. Be confident that your story matters and the world deserves to hear it. Feel free to seek help while writing your essays, ask your instructors for feedback, and use your writing center. You are worthy so seize the opportunity!


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