Digital NEST Founder to Serve as External Advisor for UCSC

Welcoming Jacob Martinez to UC Santa Cruz

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce that Jacob Martinez, a California leader in the push for technology access and education across the socioeconomic spectrum, will serve as an external adviser for UC Santa Cruz. His appointment comes at an important time for our campus and for our country, a moment when we are all taking a close look at the deep racial divide that plagues our society. Jacob will serve as a special adviser to me, offering critical insights and perspective as our campus strives to build racial equity in higher education opportunities and attainment, while also disrupting existing institutional barriers to equity.

Jacob, a UCSC alumnus (Oakes ’04, evolutionary biology), is the founder of the technology workforce development hub Digital NEST, which stands for Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology. His aim was to aid young people in the Santa Cruz County agricultural town of Watsonville, to provide them with access to coaching, mentoring, and the latest technology, ultimately expanding their academic opportunities and/or job possibilities in nearby Silicon Valley.

The NEST has been hailed as an innovative solution in bridging the digital divide. Martinez has since expanded to the Salinas Valley, and NEST offices are now in the works in many other Bay Area communities. He has found assistance from major foundations, tech giants, and venture capitalists eager to deliver the next generation of problem solvers.

What Jacob does and what we as a university aim to do align perfectly. We are focused on opportunity and access to higher education, and changing the life trajectories of our students. It’s the same thing Jacob does at the grassroots level, simply writ large. There are many areas where his ideas and expertise can boost our efforts.

UC Santa Cruz is one of only four Hispanic-Serving Institutions that is also a member of the esteemed Association of American Universities. I know achieving HSI status is one thing, but living up to the values embodied in that designation, and serving our students effectively, is another. Having an adviser like Jacob will ensure we do just that.

Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Originally published by UCSC at: UCSC News Center

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