Alumna fulfills dream of advancing education

Alumna and former Union employee Martha Victoria Vega is a passionate advocate of education. She is an experienced bilingual professional with a demonstrated history working in education and the government sector; at the city, county, and state levels. In her new role as trustee for Cabrillo College, she is committed to making positive changes not only in education but in her community.

“Serving on the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees is a dream come true,” Vega said. “I am honored and humbled to be named a trustee. This position is an opportunity to make positive changes that will benefit current and future generations. I stand for all students. Students who recently graduated from high school, lifelong learners, single and working adults who are seeking higher education to advance their career or make a career change, and our DACA students.”

Vega was sworn in as a Cabrillo College trustee representing Area V (Watsonville) during the regular board meeting on March 13 and will fill the position until the next regular election in November 2024. She is a lifelong resident of Watsonville and a teacher for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Vega is a strong believer in community service. She currently serves on the City of Watsonville Planning Commission, Santa Cruz County Parks and Recreation Commission, Board Member of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council, and Board Member of the Independent Square Affordable Housing. She is a former Library Board Member for the City of Watsonville. During her term, she led the conversations to create what is now Freedom Library, Watsonville Library, and the Civic Government Center Plaza in downtown Watsonville. Vega is an active member of the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Salinas Council #2055, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Santa Cruz County Chapter.  This year, Vega participated as a LULAC Delegate in the California State Convention and Martin Luther King Jr. March with NAACP in downtown Santa Cruz.

“I genuinely care and want to help advance our community. I know that education is a bridge to a better life. My goals are to increase student enrollment at Cabrillo and collaborate with the other trustees to make Cabrillo the best it can be.”

Vega graduated from Union Institute & University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management. She also worked for Union from 2014 through June 2022 as associate faculty, enrollment counselor, and recruiter.

“I remember my days with Union fondly. I still hear from students I recruited to Union and former colleagues,” Vega said.

Paul Brugman, Criminal Justice Management (CJM) Chair, admires Vega for her work ethic and dedication to students. “Martha is a phenomenal person to work with. She always had one goal and that was to put students first. She cares deeply about students and education.”

Sandra Lee, Union Recruiter for the Western Region in Criminal Justice Management and Emergency Services Management looks back on her days working with Vega affectionately.

“Martha is a very positive and friendly person who motivates people to be their best. She was dedicated to Union law enforcement individuals and assisted in filling the seats with students in our Watsonville Site classroom. She is highly respected in the South Bay area. I am not surprised that she is using her leadership skills to advance education.”

In addition to her B.S. in Criminal Justice Management from Union, Vega holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California, a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with a specialization in Social Change from Pacific Oaks College, and an Associate of Arts in Spanish, Bilingual Bicultural Studies and Liberal Arts degree from Cabrillo College. She is a lifelong member of the Cabrillo College Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society.

“Education is the key to the future. I am grateful to serve on the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees and advance education for all.”