With the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl quickly approaching, the voting for Fiesta Bowl Queen and Court is in full swing.
This year, Ahwatukee Foothills resident Alyssa Martinez is in the running. Martinez, 21, has lived all her life in Ahwatukee and attended Ahwatukee Preschool, Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary and Desert Vista High School.
Martinez, a senior majoring in business management, competed with hundreds of women from across Arizona to serve as a Fiesta Bowl Court member. This tradition has been around since 1971, and court members are selected based on their involvement with the community, their persona, scholastic achievements and poise.
Martinez is a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and the National Collegiate Leadership Conference. In the past, she has interned with Boys and Girls Club of Tucson and the Primavera Foundation. She is currently interning with Ben's Bells.
"I thought that there were so many great opportunities that (the Fiesta Bowl) provided," Martinez said. "I'm able to be involved with the community and have a chance to be a mentor to other young girls."
This year's queen will be announced tonight during a special, invitation-only event at the Phoenix Zoo Stone House Pavilion. Martinez said she is excited to talk to the donors and sponsors who participate in the Fiesta Bowl event.
The winner will receive a scholarship and become a spokesperson for the Fiesta Bowl. Court members will be able to attend events such as the 40th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl; the Fiesta Bowl Parade, and other Fiesta Bowl festivities.
Martinez said she wanted to run for queen because the Fiesta Bowl financially supports education and various nonprofit organizations in the community, as well as bringing tourism to Arizona. She added that she wants younger girls to see that the collegiate program is something that they can look forward to when they are in college. In addition, Martinez wants them to see the importance of working hard in school and the community.
She said that she embodies all of the qualities of an ambassador or spokesperson for the Fiesta Bowl organization and that the experiences she has had in college and at different internships have help shaped her as a person.
Martinez has a long history of being involved with groups and events. She was involved in community service projects in high school and continues to be passionate about helping others in college.
During her college experience, Martinez said that she has made many connections with nonprofit organizations and that she has completed three different volunteer organizations since starting at the University of Arizona. Currently, she is a special events coordinator with the Professional Women in Business Association, and is planning a big event for January.
Presently, Martinez is part of a program at the recruitment offices. As part of the program, she gives presentations to high school students that help explain graduating opportunities. She helps share the college experience with students to help motivate them.
"I think that shows that I can be a good mentor and role model," Martinez said. "Also, I believe in the Fiesta Bowl's mission, and I feel like I can share that with everyone."
After graduation, Martinez plans on moving back to Phoenix so that she can get involved with either a nonprofit organization or with various child education programs. She would like to be involved with schools so that she could teach kindness or anti-bullying programs, which can help improve each child's educational experience.
• Kirsten Hillhouse is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.