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Teresa and D'Angelo Martinez
Teresa and D’Angelo Martinez pose in front of all nine of D’Angelo’s degrees. His degrees include associate’s in arts and humanities, social and sciences, two in Spanish, business, interdisciplinary studies in business, math and science, retail management and merchandising and teacher education preparation.

UC Davis the right fit for the Martinez family

By Trevor Stewart

D’Angelo Martinez ’21 holds nine associate degrees, and he accomplished all of that before stepping foot on the University of California, Davis campus as a first-year student.

D’Angelo attended Middle College High School in Stockton, California, which offers a unique opportunity for students who apply and are accepted into the program to take college courses in the morning, then report to high school curriculum for the afternoons.

When representatives from the school visited D’Angelo’s middle school class, a student in the program said she was on track to achieve six associate degrees during her high school years at Middle College High School. D’Angelo took that as a challenge.

“I wanted to beat the record of six degrees,” he said. “The guidance counselor said it was really only possible to do four degrees, but I just never gave up until I completed what I set out to do.”

D’Angelo aspires to go to medical school to become a physician either in emergency medicine or pediatrics and is currently a student in the College of Biological Sciences. Not only is D’Angelo motivating himself to accomplish his goals, he inspired his mother, Teresa Martinez, to complete her associate degree at San Joaquin Delta College. Teresa finished second overall in her oral communications class rankings, with the top honor going to D’Angelo, who encouraged his mother to take the 6:30 a.m. course with him.

“At the beginning of the course, no one knew we were mother and son,” Teresa said. “When people found out later on, they thought it was pretty cool we were taking a class together. I know D’Angelo says I’m his inspiration, but really he is my inspiration.”

Home away from home

When it came time to choose what university to attend, D’Angelo felt a level of comfort at UC Davis unlike any other university.

“UC Davis is really indicative of who I am,” D’Angelo said. “The education I am getting is invaluable, and everyone there wants to help me succeed.”

Teresa knew UC Davis was the best fit, but she let D’Angelo decide and is thrilled to be an Aggie parent. She jokes that she knows as much about what is going on at the university as D’Angelo because she follows UC Davis on Instagram and loves to stay up to date with things happening on campus. She plans to visit for the upcoming Picnic Day and Give Day celebration on April 21.

“I love walking around campus and the city of Davis,” she said. “I don’t even live there, but I feel at home. It is comforting to know how great of a community it is for D’Angelo.”

D’Angelo said he enjoyed playing intramural flag football and hopes to continue to get involved with more clubs as his collegiate career progresses, but right now he wants to make sure his academics stay sharp.

D’Angelo has remained humble, despite his achievements. He is known for encouraging his younger family members to work hard to chase their dreams, and he never passes up a chance to inspire them, laying out challenges and providing encouragement.

“When my cousins say they want to get nine degrees, I tell them not to be like me,” D’Angelo said. “I tell them to get 10 degrees.”

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