Interview with Antonio Martinez

What do you remember about being a PPE major? 

Well, I was originally economics. PPE gave me the opportunity to take a more practical approach. I could actually look at how economics complements politics and politics complements philosophy.  It really was an opportunity for me to get the best of three worlds in one subject; in one major. Yes, and that's really what attracted me to the program. It's unique and offers different perspectives, it's not just one major. So that was really what was appealing to me about PPE. 

It looks like you've kind of worked in a lot of places all over the world.  Were you always interested in international work? Did PPE play a role in that? 

I'm actually going to be running for City Council in San Diego, the city that I currently live in. Penn in general, particularly the PPE major, played a significant role in shaping my perspective.  My honors thesis is actually called The Consequence of Extreme Capitalism.  So, I obviously use the skills that I learned at Penn practically. The Penn community is really a huge motivator in terms of shaping who I am today. 

What steps do you have to take now kind of leading up to running for office? How are did you position yourself? 

Well ,I am elected.  I'm on the school board, elected official school board, and this is my second term.  I actually won uncontested again, so it's going to be my fifth year on a school board. This really shaped who I am in terms of social issues.  How do we provide our kids with the best-quality education? How do we get our kids the opportunity to go to Penn for example, from San Diego, you know, or from like Pasadena or LA, you know, from California? How do we motivate our children to really step it up and, and have that opportunity?  And really that's been part of my motivation. One of the things that the major PPE really taught me was how to think for myself, how to think critically and analytically.

Was there a class or a professor or an assignment that kind of got you interested in like education or into politics?

Sure, of course.  Yes, his name was Jeff Weintraub.  He was professor of Political Theory of Modern Society; I believe that's the name of the class.  Hewas also my honors thesis professor. I guess the one that guided me; my mentor. 

What was the first job that you held after you graduated? How did you frame PPE when marketing yourself to potential employers?

When I first went to Penn, my motivation was to do pre-law and go to law school right after.  I wantedto make money, I wanted to use schooling for my own selfish needs. But, ironically going to Penn really changed my life, did a 180.  I learned social issues, I learned how my education can serve the purpose of the greater good in terms of helping people in need.  So, the first position I took after graduating was as an outreach coordinator for a community health center, which is a nonprofit clinic. I actually still work at the clinic but I've actually been promoted to director of public relations, but I started as an outreach coordinator.  And the reason PPE really helped me in terms of developing in school is that it taught me the importance of how to get people access to affordable healthcare. It taught me how to use the skills of analyzing and critically writing grants. The major is really shaping who I am.  But what's beautiful about PPE is, because it's so comprehensive in terms of what you're studying, it’s not just a narrow view in terms of just economics or just political science but it's everything combined.  You can really market yourself into doing anything you want to after you graduate. Yeah, when you tell people your major, they're gonna assume that it's a triple major, so it even looks cooler.