Aidan M.'s Story

“Keep pushing and challenge yourself. Success breeds success so surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”

Aidan Martinez never dreamed of attending a top liberal arts college like Wesleyan University. Raised in El Paso, TX, before college he had hardly traveled outside the South and was always told by school counselors that his best option was to go to a local college where tuition was more affordable.

"We struggled," says Aidan of his close Mexican-American family. Aidan, his mother, and three siblings relied upon his father's minimum wage job. His parents, however, made sure that Aidan never felt low-income or disadvantaged. Looking back, he recalls that Christmases were always wonderful.

Academics came naturally to Aidan, and in junior year of high school, he transferred to a school with an International Baccalaureate program. There, he learned about the QuestBridge College Prep Scholarship [Scholars Program] from a counselor. He was drawn by the potential opportunity to visit new college campuses and, after being accepted to the program, was invited to fly out to Wesleyan University. He had not considered a liberal arts education before, but found that he loved it.

In his senior year of high school, Aidan applied to the QuestBridge National College Match and ranked Wesleyan as his first choice. He was matched to Wesleyan with a full four-year scholarship. Aidan’s entire family came to Connecticut with him on the first day, just to see him begin life as a college student.

Aidan served as Student Body Vice President and advocated for the inclusion of low-income and first-generation students. He implemented a stipend program for student government which enabled all students to participate in campus activities without sacrificing work-study or other paying positions. He also volunteered for a local community foundation and worked as a QuestBridge summer intern during his time in college.