Martin Jaramillo '17
Responding to God’s Calling
Martin Jaramillo Lopez wants to help Colombia. With a degree in economics and skills he has learned from a wide variety of experiences during his time at Spring Hill College, he plans to return to his home country, which is currently navigating a peace agreement referendum.
“The skills I gained here are very valuable and can be very useful in working for justice, for the weak, and for peace in Colombia,” he said. “I would like to do what I can to be most helpful.”
Martin came to the United States for his undergraduate education and for the opportunity to play collegiate tennis, a dream he held since youth. He said the sport has taught him a lot, especially how to give his best, work smarter, stick with things and fight when it’s hard. “I am who I am because of tennis. When I deal with situations in life, I think in terms of tennis.”
When he arrived at Spring Hill, Martin decided he wanted to stand out as a student, and he began reading economics books outside of class at the recommendation of his roommate. He said this affected his education exponentially and took him into a world he didn’t know existed. He had always been interested in engineering but ended up pursing economics – and now said he can’t envision pursuing a path in any other field.
“The skills I gained here are very valuable and can be very useful in working for justice, for the weak, and for peace in Colombia. I would like to do what I can to be most helpful.”
In addition to his studies and tennis, Martin served his college, community and the world in various capacities, including as a staffer for the SHC Phone A Thon and as a participant on an International Service Immersion Program (ISIP) trip to Nicaragua. He also has worked as a secretary in the Theology department and was a tutor in economics and logic. He was named an SIAC All-Conference athlete in singles and doubles tennis and the men’s SHC 2017 Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Nu and Sigma Beta Delta honor societies, and presented at the undergraduate research symposium. He also participated in a Community Learning, Integrated, Mission-Based (CLIMB) course focused on social-justice learning that collected 1,300 pairs of shoes.
Martin quickly gained knowledge from his coursework and reading and developed an appreciation of the value of service from instructor and mentor John Eads as well as from his own service experience with the after school program at Light of the Village. But it wasn’t until his experience with the SHC Italy Center early in his senior year that he began to understand the relationship and connectivity between the two ideas.
“Somewhere in there was the aha moment where I connected the service and the humane part —that people like Mr. Eads had grown in me—to the knowledge I had been taught,” said Martin.
It was at this point when he decided he would return home to Colombia after graduation and do whatever he could. “There’s a lot of work to be done. I trust that God will find where I’m most useful.” So far, this has included writing a column for the Colombian newspaper La Patria for the past year.
But Martin’s says that his personal shining moment on campus – one that far surpassed his time spent playing college tennis — came when he was chosen to present at the first TEDxSpringHillCollege event in February. His talk addressed the application of basic economic principles to alleviate world poverty. Referring to the event, Martin acknowledges the conference as the “single biggest dream I’ve ever achieved.” Looking back, The Hill has given him a love of writing, teaching and learning. He’s had the chance to serve and be a role model and to grow. “The world needs the best version of ourselves when we talk about social justice so we can serve God and the world as best we can.”