Difference-maker: Martinez Garcia focuses on giving back

By Garrett Elder, student writer

Lilian Martinez Garcia, a senior political science major and University Honors student, is making a difference at Wingate and beyond. 

A native of Mexico who moved with her parents to the Charlotte area when she was 4 years old, she lived in Charlotte until middle school, when she moved to the North Carolina mountains until coming to Wingate in the fall of 2017. Martinez Garcia has volunteered with LifeSports, an after-school program that allows students at Title I schools in Charlotte to participate in organized sports, as well as with JR Boys & Girls Talk, which provides virtual mentorship to high school juniors and seniors.

As a LifeSports volunteer, Martinez Garcia began serving as a mentor to Charlotte-area high schoolers in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I realized that those students would need more then than ever before with the coronavirus making navigating the end of their school years difficult.”

She says she felt the call to serve because she’s benefited so much from the help of others in her life. 

Martinez Garcia is attending Wingate as a Golden Door Scholar. Founded in 2013 by Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias, Golden Door Scholars helps undocumented students pursue four-year degrees, while holding them to high academic standards and also providing professional growth opportunities. Wingate is one of 18 Golden Door partner schools.

“Wingate has taught me how to be confident and to take a stand for what I believe in,” Martinez Garcia says. The University has fueled her curiosity for learning about other people and how to help them better themselves and others. 

“I really want to leave Wingate better than I found it,” she says. 

After graduation in May, Martinez Garcia plans to work full-time with a local nonprofit. Eventually, she’ll seek a career in local government. 

“I hope to work to solve the roots of the problems.” she says. “Local government is the perfect place to get to the bottom of the issues.”

Watch this video to learn more about how Lilian Martinez Garcia is making a difference.

March 11, 2021