Dr. Heather Martinez currently serves as the Senior Director of the Office of Community Engagement, the Institute for the Development and Enrichment of Advanced Learners, and the Office of Academic Enrichment which are all a 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.
Olga joined the IDEAL team in April of 2016. In the two years before joining the IDEAL team, she served as an outreach coordinator for the Texas Tech Chess Program. She coordinated all outreach efforts for Texas Tech Chess, including K-12 programs, on-campus events and workshops, summer camps, and community engagement. In her current role, Olga is responsible for the support and planning of all IDEAL events and programs. She oversees related budgets and financial reporting, as well monitors ongoing projects. Olga earned her Bachelor Degree in Financial Economics from UMBC and received her MBA in Finance in 2010. She speaks and writes both English and Russian.
La’Ryon Witherspoon, also known as Spoon, has been servicing both IDEAL and The Office of Community Engagement since August 2015. As a Unit Coordinator, he provides academic outreach & engagement within the Lubbock community. La’Ryon is from Arlington, TX and received his Bachelor of Arts at Texas Tech in Psychology. Currently, he is a Masters student in the Counseling Education program. While being involved in many on-campus activities, such as Mentor Tech, Black Student Association and The Collegiate 100; he is very active in speaking with different students and schools in the Lubbock community. He also hosts events and activities for various groups in his spare time.
Ariana Hernandez is the Graduate Assistant for the Institute for the Development and Education of Advanced Learners. Her duties with IDEAL are assisting with, organizing, and presenting at events that the Office of IDEAL may have throughout the year. Ariana is from Veribest, Texas and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas Tech University in 2015. Organizations that Ariana has been accepted into include: Phi Kappa Phi, the most prestigious national honor society recognized; Sigma Tau Delta, an English Honor Society; and Sigma Delta Pi, a National Spanish Honor Society. While in Lubbock, she has played City League Volleyball and volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Ariana is currently enrolled in the Guidance Counseling Master’s program. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and going on adventures with friends and family.
Lett joined IDEAL in April 2016 and serves as a student assistant. She is from Wilson, TX and is currently a senior at Texas Tech University. Lett is a Human Development and Family Studies Major with a Minor in Theatre Arts. Before attending Texas Tech she was a cheerleader for Howard Junior College in Big Spring, TX and served as a representative for the Texas Junior College Student Government Association. Since coming to Texas Tech, Lett has become a proud sister of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc. and has served as their Service officer as well as their Vice President. She is the owner and founder of LAW Basketball League, a league for adults in Lubbock. Some of her hobbies include teaching Zumba to the kids at the Optimist Boys and Girls Club, meeting new people, and learning. Her future goals are to get in to grad school, expand her basketball league to new cities, and continue to humbly serve our students, our campus, and most importantly our community.
For the past year, Steven has served as a student assistant for IDEAL at Texas Tech University. He is from Hale Center, TX and graduated with the class of 2015 from Hale Center High School. Steven is currently a Texas Tech Sophomore Majoring in Kinesiology and Minoring in Psychology. Steven’s responsibilities in the office include: assisting in organization and planning of events, being the liaison to any other departments IDEAL may work with, and last but not least, being the friendly face who welcomes our guests. In Steven’s free time, he likes to play board games and card games along with exercising, reading, and spending time with friends and family.