Allan Martinez has always liked animals. That love of animals took a real turning point though when in 10th grade at Hackettstown High School, he joined the FFA Club. Before he knew it he was entering competitions – and winning.
“I was always interested in the physiology of body and related science,” said Martinez, who lives in Hackettstown and recently graduated from Warren County Community College with an Associates in Science degree (concentrating on biology). “In FFA I entered statewide competitions that focused on veterinarian topics and identifications associated with that. The competitions involving clinical performances, that’s what really prompted me to pursue this career.”
Martinez’s family moved to Hackettstown in 2013 from Spanish Harlem in New York. He graduated from Hackettstown High School in 2017 and WCCC this past May with high honors. In fact he was the President of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at WCCC, the nationwide community college high honors society. He was awarded the college’s Phi Theta Kappa award, as well as the Science Award.
In the fall he is planning on attending UC Davis in California, which has arguably the best veterinarian program in the United States.
“It’s a demanding career and I’ve always pushed myself,” said Martinez, whose family owns the Mexican restaurant, Maria Bonita, in Independence Township. “So I applied to the best schools in the country for what I want to do. UC Davis is No. 1.”
When Martinez heads to California his parents Guadalupe Villalva and Rigoberto Martinez will have a hole to fill at their restaurant. In between his studies, Martinez has acted as the manager, bartender, and sometimes server there.
Martinez, who has three dogs at home (and two fish!), a Maltese and two rescued boxer lab siblings, eventually wants to specialize in being a veterinary surgeon. At UC Davis, he would essentially be in a “pre-med program” for surgeons. If all goes well, and who would doubt it, Martinez would continue towards that goal at UC Davis in a graduate program.