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Hispanic Great Debaters Profile: Sara Martinez Tucker

Nov 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM Erik Fogel Sara Martinez Tucker


"You know, because you're feeling it, the magnitude of the impact others have had on you up to now. You are going to have that much – if not more – of an impact on others." -Sara Martinez Tucker

 This month we celebrate the birthday of Sara Martinez Tucker who helped our country take enormous strides for educational equality. Happy Birthday Ms. Martinez Tucker!

Sara Martinez Tucker graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she gave the 2016 commencement address that includes the quote above. In high school, Tucker first visited UT to see a University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. Her father inspired and encouraged her to attend UT. Although she was overwhelmed at first, she worked hard and excelled, going on to also complete a Master of Business Administration at the same school.

Tucker began her career in business and quickly entered into leadership roles where she was required to guide and persuade others with her speech. She worked at AT&T for 16 years and became the Regional Vice President of Global Business Communications Systems. From there she went on to serve as a director at several organizations, including American Electric Power Co., Sprint, Xerox, and Teach for America.

With a passion for education, Sara Martinez Tucker began to use her voice to advocate for greater college access. She became CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), bringing ambitious goals to the organization. She then achieved equally impressive results. During her nine years as CEO, Tucker raised $280 million for scholarships, more than doubling the amount of annual scholarship money awarded by HSF. She also looked beyond financial aid to encourage greater college enrollment in Latino communities.

Sara Martinez Tucker's list of accomplishments continues to grow, but she began in the same place you're in now. As a student, Tucker understood the importance of education. She didn't begin with all the advantages of her college peers, but she began to exercise the communication skills that led her to many successes.

Take advantage of the opportunities around you to prepare for your future. Joining a debate team is a perfect chance to develop your public speaking skills while discussing real-world problems. And who knows? You might discover the issues you're most passionate about and one day go on to solve them.

Erik Fogel

Written by Erik Fogel