STEPHENVILLE (January 29, 2018) – This is the eighth installment in our fall Tarleton State University Faculty Feature series. Twice a month The Flash Today will introduce a different faculty or staff member to the community.
New and exciting things are happening in the Tarleton engineering and engineering technology departments, and behind it all is Dr. Denise Martinez.
Martinez, currently the head of the engineering and computer science department, will lead the way as the new associate dean of the school of engineering. She said she looks forward to the challenge of building a new school and moving into a new building.
“I am really excited because I really like building things like [the engineering program],” Martinez said. “We, collectively working together, added three new engineering programs, and now this is the next thing. It’s exciting. I like the challenge. I like seeing things grow. I think it’s going to be really fun for all of us.”
Martinez began working at Tarleton in the engineering department in 2001 after earning her bachelor degree, master’s degree and PhD in electrical engineering from Texas A&M.
“I have always liked problem solving and puzzles,” Martinez said. “As I really grew up, my dad and I were always working on a car or some electrical project at home.”
While Martinez was working on her bachelor degree, she learned that she loved the classroom.
“The bottom line was my grad school experience showed me that I really wanted to be in a place where teaching was a priority and education related research was valued and important,” Martinez said. “I wanted to be able to work with the students. I didn’t want to be off in a lab all the time. I felt like I could have a bigger impact by interacting with lots of students than I could working on the next device.”
At Tarleton State, Martinez has taught and mentored students, participated in the SACS-COC leadership team, coordinated the first QEP and served as the department head for engineering and computer science. She also leads the kids’ summer engineering camp in the summer.
“I really enjoy teaching the freshman engineering,” Martinez said. “I love helping those kids come in and transition from high school to college, which can be challenging. That is really a place where you can have a lot of impact and opportunities to be nurturing and mentoring and parenting. I’ve kind of become their school mom.”
Now, Martinez will be transferring into her new role as the engineering and engineering technology departments merge into one school. Martinez said both departments have undergone a lot of growth in different programs and this is the first step toward becoming a college of engineering.
“One of the things I am really excited about in bringing these two programs under the same umbrella is that there are going to be a lot more opportunities for collaboration,” Martinez said. “Out in industry, engineering and engineering technology are two parts of the same team anyway. Why not start building that team at the college level?”
Besides working at Tarleton, Martinez enjoys spending her time working outside and playing softball and kickball with the city league. Martinez also loves to spend time with her husband, Abel Martinez, and her children, Dakotah and Sierrah Martinez.
“I have a group of friends, and we like to get together and play cards,” Martinez said.