May 7, 2014
Vanessa Martinez was focused on overcoming her nerves the first time she stepped foot on the Blinn College – Brenham campus as a freshman. She never intended to be recognized for her hard work.
Neither did Samuel Poffenberger, but both sophomores were named Blinn’s 2014 Mr. and Ms. Buccaneer by their peers for their campus leadership.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the faculty and student body,” Poffenberger said. “I’m truly grateful.”
Each came to Blinn in Fall 2012, though they came to Brenham from divergent paths.
Poffenberger graduated from Bellville High School that spring and was eager for Blinn to help him reach his career goals. For Martinez, it was her first return to the classroom since she graduated Brenham High School in 2004.
Following graduation, Martinez married and started a family, but with her children now attending school, she chose to pursue a higher education of her own at Blinn.
“It’s a bit unbelievable for me, because I didn’t come to college straight out of high school,” Martinez said. “I’m doing things I didn’t expect myself to be doing—I’m a full-time mother, full-time wife, full-time student and part-time worker. If I can do this, anyone can.”
Poffenberger served as the president of the Blinn – Brenham Student Government Association (SGA) this past year, was an active member of the Blinn chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) national honor society, helped start the Blinn business and yoga clubs and is helping start a club that teaches students to build and maintain websites.
“Sam goes above and beyond what’s asked of him,” said Judiciary Officer James Reed, who oversees the Blinn Business Club and nominated Poffenberger. “He goes out of his way to help other students any way he can.”
Martinez was named president of the Hispanic Organization for Latino Awareness Club; served as an active member of PTK; worked closely with SGA; was a member of the Catholic Student Union; and worked part-time in the Student Leadership & Activities Office.
“Her self-discipline, leadership and glowing personality make her stand apart,” said Blinn Professor Thaddaus Hill, who nominated Martines for Ms. Buccaneer. “I can say will all sincerity that Blinn College and myself are truly better because of our relationship with Ms. Martinez.”
Following graduation Friday, Poffenberger plans to attend either Texas A&M University or the University of Texas to pursue a degree in business. Martinez plans to join Blinn’s Criminal Justice Program in the Fall and complete an internship with a local police department before receiving her certificate and moving on to Sam Houston State University to study criminal justice.
“I never imagined I’d be this involved, making good grades and in the end being recognized for it,” Martinez said.
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs.
Registration is now available for Blinn’s May minimester (May 12-28) as well as the Summer I, Summer II and Fall semesters. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.