Forging Her Future Through Community Impact

Genesis Calderon-Martinez and her journey to the Portland MBA
By Jacob Ashley

Genesis Calderon-Martinez first found interest in human resources while working alongside her parents at Amy’s Kitchen warehouse in southern Oregon. She began as a receptionist, then moved to HR. She says, “My parents are my biggest inspiration. They’ve worked so hard and given so much for their family.” Her parents first met in the strawberry fields of Santa Cruz County, California. They raised Genesis and her two younger brothers, “They were both one of 10 children. They dropped out of school in second grade to work to help feed the family, and they made sure we had it better,” she adds.

Assisting her family with admin tasks inspired her. It showed her how rewarding it was to help people, especially those like her parents, who navigate outside their primary language. It led her to volunteer at Rogue Action Center as a Spanish translator during the Alameda Drive Fire, where she helped provide community resources to those in need. She later became the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice (DEIJ) program manager at ColumbiaCare Services, a non-profit behavioral health and veteran services provider, further demonstrating her passion for the community. She adds, “I love contributing to the community directly. I just want to impact it positively.”

She took her first class at Portland State in 2021 as a recent Oregon Army National Guard veteran and associate of arts and sciences in business technology management at Rogue Community College. She served in the Oregon Guard simultaneously to study and work, knowing higher degrees would help her toward becoming an HR or executive director at a non-profit, and the Guard offered benefits to bring that goal to fruition. She says, “I want to take what I’ve learned and help the community at a greater scale.”

This spring, Genesis is set to graduate from PSU with a BA in business administration focusing on HR. She will follow graduation with entry into the MBA program with an Enterprise Analytics graduate certificate. She mentions her decision to continue at PSU was straightforward: “The best thing about PSU is the community and support. The counselors really set you up for success, and the instructors really get to know you. People here actually care.”

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑