Meet Our Team
Dr. Heather H. Martinez
Dr. Heather Martinez currently serves as the Director of the Office of Community Engagement and as the Director of the Institute for the Development and Enrichment of Advanced Learners, both of which are part of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement at Texas Tech University. Through her office she is responsible for implementing and overseeing programs and partnerships which serve the community, engage faculty, promote learning and encourage conversations about the value of higher education. Prior to her current position, Dr. Martinez held executive positions in the fields of education branding and advocacy, economic development and medical staffing and outsourcing.
Dr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Wayland Baptist University, and obtained her Ph. D. in Higher Education administration at Texas Tech University. Her research interest focuses on the impact of culture and social identity on the college choice process and experience among minority female students in higher education.
Dr. Martinez is a proud alumna of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc., a member and former officer of the Hispanic Association of Women, a member of the Texas Tech Latino Hispanic Faculty and Staff Association, a member of the University Women's Club and a member of the Texas Tech University Gender Equity Council.
In addition to her duties in the role of director, Dr. Martinez is also an instructor, presenter and motivational speaker. She has taught courses in Women’s Studies and Integrated Studies, has presented at several conferences and seminars and has served as a motivational speaker for various organizations including several independent school districts, Upward Bound programs, the Women’s Leadership Forum, the Latina Leadership Initiative and the statewide Texas A & M University MEDALS conference.
Joining the Office of Community Engagement in September 2013, Mari Samarripas will be assisting in the presentation and planning of various K-12 outreach programs. Mari is a proud native of the South Plains and believes in the value of higher education and the various opportunities it presents for students from any background, culture and ethnicity. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from West Texas A&M University, and is pursuing a Master degree from Texas Tech.
Prior to joining the OCE staff, Mari was employed by KVII-TV in Amarillo as a Multi-Media Journalist. After four years in Amarillo, she is thrilled to be back in Lubbock, Texas. She is looking forward to promoting the value of higher education, serving and volunteering in a community she calls, home.
As a student liaison with the Office of Community Engagement, Karina assists with K-12 programming both inside and outside of the office, promoting the value of higher education firsthand to students in Lubbock ISD and its surrounding areas. Karina came to the Office of Community Engagement in early 2013 from Buckner’s Family Services where she served as a tutor, mentor, and special events intern. She has been at Texas Tech University since 2010 hailing all the way from Houston, TX to pursue her undergraduate studies. After a short leave in the fall that led to education opportunities abroad, Karina is delighted to be back with OCE promoting higher education in her home away from home. She hopes to graduate this spring with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology-Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She looks forward to continuing her advocacy of education in her new assumed role as Unit Coordinator. She has hopes to have the opportunity to work for the United Nations in future.
ELPN Coordinator/ Senior Business Assistant
In January 2014, Riane Gay joined the Office of Community Engagement as the ELPN Coordinator. She will plan and present college and career readiness programming for the Quadrant 4, East Lubbock schools. Riane is a native of Frisco, TX and proud alum of Texas Tech University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration. Riane is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree from Texas Tech.
Prior to her recent employment with OCE, she has experience interning with Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Southwest, Community Partners and The Orix Foundation located in Dallas, TX. She is excited to assume her role on behalf of her alma mater, Texas Tech, as she lives out her passion to motivate and encourage underrepresented students to seek out higher education.
Stephen Singleton joined the OCE staff in July 2013 and is a native of Missouri City, Texas. He is currently in his junior year, pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. Stephen is very active around campus being a member of several different student organizations including, but not limited to: Mentor Tech, the Collegiate 100, National Society of Black Engineers, and the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He is a firm believer in the ideal that you do not reach success in life on your own. There are people in your life that helped guide you to the position that you are in now and it is your responsibility to be that same guiding light for the generations coming after you.
Eduardo Espinoza joined the Office of Community Engagement in September of 2014. Eduardo is from El Paso, Texas and is currently in his freshman year, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. He is intricately involved in many activities on and off campus.
Eduardo is excited for the opportunity to talk to students about his experience as a college student, and hopes to inspire others to continue their education after high school. He also believes that every positive opportunity in life is a gift and one should take advantage of them.