Oliver Martinez-Reyes

University of Denver - 2021

Increasing financial literacy for underrepresented students as well as concurrent enrollment education through public policy.

Project: My Puksta project centers on expanding access for underrepresented students to obtain a financial literacy education, explore career opportunities, and receive a post-secondary education while still in high school. Taking on any of these three pillars alone is quite the task, so I decided to enlist my community partners’ support and expand my leadership role within them. This year I was invited to join the Junior Achievement Engage Board, the junior board for Junior Achievement. Upon entering the board, I was given the leadership opportunity to be the JA Bowl-A-Thon Coordinator. My responsibilities entail organizing the JA Bowl-A-Thon for the board. This annual fundraiser contributes to the 1/3 of JA’s total revenue, which allows them to provide financial literacy education to students K-12. My goal this year is to raise $4,250 a 50% increase from last year. Furthermore, in the fall, I was invited to join the College in High School Alliance Ambassador Network, which is the board for the College in High School Alliance (CHSA). CHSA is a coalition of leading national and state organizations that works towards a future where every state, and the federal government, have a policy framework that ensures that students across the U.S have access to concurrent enrollment and dual enrollment for free. We have monthly meetings to discuss the current federal and state policies in place and how each state adapts to incorporate them. I’m the youngest and second student on the board. I offer my experience during my high school journey and my experience as a current college student.

Inspiration: Coming from both a first generation and low-income family I had no one to vouch for me or help me understand how to prepare myself for higher education and a professional career. So I had to do a lot of research and constant risk-taking, to find the resources that got me to where I am today. I know that behind me are many, so I want to help others from my similar background achieve the realization that a higher education and any economic career is possible.

Future Plans For Project: Through my civic engagement work, I hope to develop go-getters, who are active in paying forward their wisdom and helping the next generation develop a strong sense of purpose.