As Viry Martino traveled back and forth crossing the international border of Tijuana, Mexico and the United States during her youth, she remembers noticing the differences in the quality of city planning, transportation, and also the lack of academic and financial resources and support extended to students in her country. One day while she studied at the Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana, Viry decided she “wanted to know more” and needed to reach her “educational potential,” so she crossed the border to explore the Southwestern College campus to see what it had to offer. Without consulting her family, she enrolled and began a journey that would be marked by opportunity, hard work, determination, and achievement. At SWC, Viry relearned all her science and calculus classes she had previously studied in Spanish, and she supported herself by working as a math, chemistry and physics tutor on campus and by applying for every scholarship she came across. Viry says she was challenged as a young, unmarried girl leaving home to pursue studies in engineering. Although not an accepted path for young ladies of her culture, Viry says, “It was the best decision I ever made.”
From 2005 through 2007 as a SWC Jaguar, Viry defined the term scholar-athlete. She completed 87 units with a 4.0 GPA and an A.A. in Transfer Studies. She earned the Collegiate All-American Scholar Award, a Student of Distinction Award (SODA), the Joseph Conte Mathematics and Computer Science Academic Excellence Award and the MESA Student of the Year, Leadership Award and Academic Excellence Award. She also learned to travel: Representing the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Southwestern College; she participated in the West Coast Career Expo in San Francisco, the National Institute for Leadership Advancement in Dallas, Texas and was a member of the Engineering Delegation for the International Scholar Laureate Program to travel to Beijing, China. She also joined the Jaguar Intercollegiate Women’s Tennis Team after taking a class with Coach Susan Reasons. Although a recreational player, she thought she could become a better player. After two seasons, Viry again impressed. She was named All Pacific Coast Conference in Doubles and was a Southern California Regional Qualifier. As a Pacific Coast Conference student-athlete, she was unanimously selected as the PCC Female Scholar of the Year and then recognized as the California State Pepsi Scholar of the Year, competing against female student-athletes in all community colleges athletic conferences throughout the state.
In the spring of 2007, Viry says that she turned down an early entrance and scholarship to SDSU to play her second tennis season at SWC. A few weeks later, she received and accepted an offer to attend the University of Southern California in fall 2007. It was her dream come true!
Viry thrived at USC, earning her B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2010 and graduating Cum Laude. She also received the school award of the “Order of Troy.” This honor is awarded to graduating undergraduate students who have demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to the campus community. She then completed a M.S. in Construction Engineering and Management in 2011 in USC’s Progressive Degree Program while working full time. Viry also was a member of the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Initiate, the Gold Scholar-USC Latino Honor Society and others. She traveled to Honduras with the USC Engineers Without Borders Liaison and teamed up with other members to design and fundraise a project that would implement a water filtration and distribution system for a rural village. She also participated in Rebuilding Together, Los Angeles CA, volunteering in the rehabilitation of low-income housing and many more worthy programs.
Today Viry is employed at Turner Construction in the Pre-Construction Department as an estimating engineer having transferred from the Los Angeles branch to San Diego. As a working professional, she has found her new niche in the ACE Mentoring Program, and has recently joined as a mentor for students at Castle Park High School. Viry’s family include parents Daniel and Teresa Martino, big brother Danny, little sister Andrea and fiancée Sergio Perez, and she thanks them for their support.
Through her life experiences,Viry has observed “There is a side of engineering where not everything is based on technical principles, and that soft skills are just as important.” She has learned to always be ready and willing to overtake challenges with creativity and inventiveness.
Viry Martino, for your outstanding journey and for your many achievements as a scholar and an athlete, Southwestern College is honored to induct you into the 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame. Congratulations!