College of Science

MIST Alumnus Awarded 2020 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award

Master’s in Instructional Science and Technology (MIST) alumnus Jacob Martinez recently received the 2020 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for his organization DigitalNEST, which provides technology access and career advancement for rural Latinx populations.

Every year, the James Irvine Foundation awards leaders in California who create advanced solutions to social issues within the state. Recipients receive $250,000 for their organization, as well as the opportunity to share their ideas with local policymakers.

Martinez’s upbringing in rural communities inspired him to strengthen the path from education to the workforce for the Latinx community and people of color. In response, he launched DigitalNEST in 2014. Members of the program can access free computers, receive training for the technology workforce, and earn money by providing web services to local institutions.

Martinez anticipates having 16 physical DigitalNEST locations by 2028, as well as placing more than 500 students in jobs or on college pathways. His efforts are projected to create more than $12 million in impact for rural Latinx communities.

“There are youth in forgotten communities across this state that have the heart, skills, and talents needed to drive California’s future,” says Martinez. “We just need to invest in them and give them equal access to the opportunities needed to thrive.”

To learn more about Jacob Martinez, check out his feature on the 2020 James Irvine Leadership Award web page.