May 8, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) – Adriana Martinez is widely known at SMU as a dynamic student who served as an SMU Board of Trustees student representative and in other high-profile campus leadership roles. What most do not realize is the important work the soon-to-be graduate has done with the U.S. Department of Justice that will continue to help save the lives of many children in Mexico.
Martinez worked in summer 2011 in a unique DOJ liaison post with Mexico’s attorney general to help start in that country the anti-child abduction program known in the United States as Amber Alert. She translated the training manuals into Spanish – addressing distinctions in cultural linguistics and reasons why children are abducted there vs. the U.S. – and helped organize the first Alerta Amber training session for Mexican state and federal prosecutors, law enforcement officers, NGOs and members of civil society.
Martinez obtained her internship through the efforts of SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters, a key member of the DOJ's Southern Border Initiative. Walters notes that Adriana's work was not only a significant task for a college senior, but one that also saw immediate results: "While not technically Amber Alert cases, law enforcement raids and the resulting rescue of 20 female children were inspired by the efforts of Mexican officials as they began their Alerta Amber program," he says. "This operation followed the training session in Cancun and during her work with the Embassy."
Karine Taxman, U.S. DOJ legal advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and project leader for the DOJ's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, wants Martinez to return: "Adriana, in her short time in Mexico, has helped us leap forward with Alerta Amber Mexico. We are working on ways to keep her in the loop."
Martinez, a permanent legal resident who moved to the United States from Mexico with her family at age 5, will continue to work as a consultant for the DOJ after graduation, while also managing a startup event venue in Chicago. She graduates with degrees in political science, public policy, history and French and hopes to one day return to Mexico and further apply her leadership skills.
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