Name: Chris Martin

Graduated high school from: Centralia High School

School and area of study: Central Washington University, Double Major in Cyber Security, ITAM (Information Technology Administrative Management) and IT (Information Technology)

Year in college: Entering Senior

What would be my advice to new Scholars? My best advice is that this is a different kind of scholarship; it’s more than just financial support. New Scholars should take advantage of the people who are connecting with you through this scholarship, like the program officers and their industry connections. This scholarship teaches networking skills which are more important than you think. I can attend events and take advantage of opportunities to connect with people and companies. Skills that Shine is a program that WSOS offers and provides a mentor for each Scholar. At one event, I spoke to the CEO of Puget Sound Energy. This is someone I probably would never have connected with otherwise; but now I have her card and the invitation to reach out to her when I graduate.

What should people know about the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship? It’s so different than other scholarships where it’s hard to ask for help sometimes. The program officers will help you more than you think and I’m grateful to have this support system. Theresa (Program Director, Western Washington Region) is a human being who is just willing to help. They even helped with my FASFA and other applications. Theresa and I are on a texting basis. Ask Terrie (Program Director Eastern Washington Region) anything! It’s hard to ask for help but the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship team is there for you.

As a participant of the first ever Skills that Shine Program, can you share what you got from the experience? I have an internship with Juno Therapeutics this summer. My mentor through the Skills that Shine program is Chris Ta of Juno Therapeutics and he helped me find this internship. And Chris taught me the importance of networking and gave me lot of advice for my resume. It was a hugely valuable experience. The networking stands alone; take advantage of it. Keep your LinkedIn up to date. Make yourself marketable. Stay relevant. Everything will always be changing and innovating. And, what makes me different? My communication and interpersonal skills in IT. I want people to know that.

What should people know about me? I’m excited to see how IT fits into the medical industry and what software I’ll be using. I’m not your typical computer programmer, I’m a people person. I use my love for gadgets to work with people. I would recommend a career in IT to other interpersonally-skilled people who wouldn’t think it’s for them. Working with people is the most rewarding part of the job. When someone thanks me for my help, it’s a great feeling.