Prestigious Scholarship Program Allows Student to Pursue His Educational Journey

The Fowler Scholars Program provided support for first-generation college student, Brian Martinez, to complete his degree program and to plan for his future.

April 26, 2024

When asked who or what inspired him the most, Brian Martinez had a ready response. 

“My family inspires me the most,” said Martinez, now in his third year at the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University. “My parents are immigrants and they both work hard as restaurant cooks. They sacrificed a lot to make sure my siblings and I had a good education.”

The promise of a good education and staying close to home is what brought Martinez to SDSU where he chose to major in finance. “When I looked over SDSU’s course curriculum, I saw classes in topics that interested me such as investment and portfolio management,” he said. “Finance also has one of the most diverse ranges of career opportunities. I found that to be extremely attractive since I wanted a degree that granted me a good deal of career flexibility.” 

The financial burden of pursuing a college degree weighs heavily on many students and their families.  For Martinez, his good grades, tenacity and focus on meeting educational goals played a major role in helping to overcome this challenge. He applied to every scholarship where he was eligible and it paid off in a big way. 

The Best Way to Pay for College
“Scholarships are the best way to finance a college education,” said Martinez, who was invited to be part of the Fowler Scholars Program prior to his freshmen year. “The Fowler Scholars Program comes with a scholarship that had a huge impact on me and my family. I remember when I got word that I had been accepted into the program — I immediately called my parents to let them know that I won a scholarship and they did not have to worry about how they would pay for my education.” 

The Fowler Scholars Program was created to build ethical business leaders through weekly group meetings, mentorships, student consulting projects and other experiences that offer students real-world business skills. The program also offers class credit and financial resources to the 18 students who are accepted into this prestigious program. 

“The moment I was able to share that news with my parents brings me great joy to this day and I have no doubt that scholarship has played a great role in my success as a student,” said Martinez who will embark on an eight-week internship with Stifel Financial Corporation in New York City for the second summer in a row. 

Finance and Investment Society
In addition to his involvement with the Fowler Scholars program and his internships, Martinez was the president of SDSU’s Finance and Investment Society (FIS) during his sophomore year.  FIS is a campus organization that offers students opportunities to learn and participate in various financial investment scenarios. Kamal Haddad is a finance professor within the Fowler College of Business, who also serves as the faculty advisor for FIS. 

Haddad got to know Martinez through FIS and was impressed with his sense of motivation. “Brian is disciplined and success-oriented and he learned much of his investment and equity knowledge through his own research,” said Haddad. “As president of FIS, he was a superb leader and team player. He also greatly increased membership in the organization.” 

Once he completes his internship with Stifel, Martinez will return to SDSU to complete his senior year.  He plans to graduate in the spring of 2025 and has set his sights on a career in investment banking shortly thereafter. “Once I gain a lot of experience and build a track record of being a strong performer, I would eventually like to launch my own investment fund,” said Martinez. And though he might move from San Diego to launch his career, family is still a top priority for him. “As the oldest of four children, I’d also like to help my parents out and I would love to help my siblings pay for their college educations to help them get into the workforce.”

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