Election Year: 2020
Election Constituency: United States of America
Scholar Status: Scholar in Residence
Rhodes Identifier: Alabama & Trinity 2020
Sarena Martinez graduated from Vanderbilt University summa cum laude in Psychology, after receiving an A.A. degree from Bard College at Simon's Rock. She now leads strategic projects in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the City of Birmingham, AL. Sarena is motivated by a fierce urgency to help post-industrial cities usher in knowledge-based economies, renewing opportunity for people in the places that forged American prosperity. A 2017 Venture for America fellow, Sarena helped launch 2-year and 4-year scholarships at Innovate Birmingham, a $6 million federal grant program designed to train 1000 under- and unemployed youth for tech jobs. Sarena intends to study and understand how to build capacity in local governments to facilitate more inclusive economic growth.