Martina Gallo’s story is one of both passionate hope as well as focused intent. She’s an artist who studied photography, journalism, woodworking, blacksmithery, and stained-glass design. She made her first career using the practical side of this creativity – editorial photoshoots, advertising, and marketing – but she dreamed of something more.
Photo credit: Nathan Ivy
Literally, to help herself fall asleep, she’d practice her dream career in her mind: architecture and interior design.
“I’m becoming an architect. There’s a lot of reasons why this is my dream career,” Martina explained. “My vision is my most precious sense: colors, sunlight and spaces really speak to me; something inside me awakens when I think about a space. All my life, whenever I couldn’t sleep, I would picture some place I knew and imagine how it would work and look better.”
But for Martina, her dream is also about helping others. She talks of building hospitals that create peace and schools that facilitate learning.
“I want to make the world a better place; we spend most of our lives in close spaces and they have a deep impact [on] our well-being.”
To accomplish this dream, Martina realized she’d need to focus on what she’s passionate about and go back to school. She moved to Pullman in the summer of 2022 and started her associate degree at Spokane Falls Community College. So far, she’s completed two quarters with a GPA of 3.9. Her plan is to transfer to a four-year school after earning her AA.
“This is ideal for me,” Martina said. “I’ve spent too many years out of formal education and it’s a great warm-up. So far, the [direct transfer] program gave me the confidence I needed to study in my second language and succeed.”
While CCS is definitely more affordable, Martina talked about how expensive it can be as a single-mom new to the country to afford school. That’s where scholarships have supported her dreams.
“A scholarship for me is a life jacket. Whenever I get one, I feel I’m [on] the right path,” Martina said. “Scholarships are what allow me to focus on what matters for my future, not just for today.”
Her focus and drive are conscious practices for Martina. “I believe that how you do anything is how you do everything, and when you’re present at all times, nothing can steal your energy.”
She says she practices loving everything she does, even going to the grocery store. “If I take the time to be fully present, everything goes smoothly.”
Martina’s focus and passion make her story inspiring. She also hopes that inspiration will show her 14-year-old son, Simón, that he can dream big, too.
“I’ll be there for him no matter how crazy his goals are,” Martina said. “I want to empower him with my unusual route to success. He will believe he can do anything because he’ll have witnessed it first-hand.”
We can’t wait to see the bright future Martina builds for herself, her son, and the communities her architecture designs will support.