Los Fresnos News

Joriam Martinez Parra Accepted into Prestigious MIT


by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

Many years ago, Joriam Martinez Parra set a goal to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He knew he would have to work extremely hard to realize that dream.

Because he did well at a summer program there, the Los Fresnos High School senior can now literally touch MIT after receiving electronic notification that he was accepted and offered a full-ride scholarship to the STEM-oriented university in Boston, Mass.

“I always had a dream of going to MIT,” said Joriam, the son of Jorge Martinez Badilla and Maria Guadalupe Parra. “Ever since my sophomore year, I got more interested and set my mind that I would work hard to get there.”

The fourth-ranked student in the LFHS Class of 2018 was one of 80 students from across the country accepted into a six-week science and engineering program for rising high school seniors. Only three percent of applicants who apply are accepted, and Joriam was one of them.

“They gave us college-level courses, and they were pretty rigorous,” said Joriam, 17. “I was hoping to visit the city and see some of the sights in Boston, but I never had time. I was always doing work and studying.”

Joriam took courses in Chemistry, Calculus, Physics III, Genomics, Humanities.

“They were testing us to see if we could handle their college courses. We were given evaluations based on how much we progressed in the class. Mine were very positive. A bunch of my teachers noticed that I increased my proficiency.”

Doing well in the summer program was a major impact on MIT’s decision to offer Joriam a full-ride scholarship. “They favor people who have gone through the summer program.”

His areas of interest at MIT are theoretical physics and quantum mechanics, two areas that well-known scientist Albert Einstein studied. He hopes to get a master’s and doctorate degrees as well.

Even with all of his studies at LFHS, Joriam found time to be involved in UIL Science, UIL Mathematics, Science Bowl, National Honor Society and Key Club.

But he always kept his focus on academics, and stayed on a structured schedule of going to bed by 9 p.m. and waking up at 2 a.m. when his home was quiet.

“I am able to concentrate more from 2 to 7 in the morning. Five hours is an average sleep night is about right for me.”

Joriam submitted his application in the fall to attend MIT, and found out last Friday when he logged into the school’s website. “I just read the banner that said congratulations. I was really shocked. I had not told anyone until later in the day when I told my friends and then my teachers.”

Two teachers were influential in his success. “I have always sought and paved my own path. However, many people have made a powerful impact on which path I ended up choosing – teachers like Mrs. (Misty) Heredia and Mr. (Jose) Pesina.”

Joriam told his parents, who speak only Spanish, about the acceptance into MIT. “They did not understand the magnitude about how prestigious it was, but after I explained that to them, they were very proud.”

Joriam is an example of what someone who can attain a goal that may seem like a dream.

“I had been living my entire life believing that it was impossible for me to go from a small pueblo in Mexico to MIT, but now that ‘impossible’ has vanished.”