Joslyn Martinez ’24 Receives the Celina Karp Biniaz Model of Resilience Award

May 08, 2024

Joslyn Martinez ’24 has been named the recipient of the Celina Karp Biniaz Model of Resilience Award from Grinnell College. The Award was established to honor Celina’s courageously hopeful life and legacy and bestows a cash prize.

Celina Karp Biniaz, class of 1952, endowed the award to support a graduating senior with two key intentions: 1) To aid students like her who had to overcome obstacles to obtain their education; and 2) To recognize and support such students who wish to pursue careers teaching young people OR working for organizations or governmental entities whose core mission focuses on the education and welfare of young people.

“I aim for a career in teaching and education consulting,” said Martinez. “It is an honor to be named the recipient of this award and I am excited to be able to further create change in children’s lives as an educator.”

“Celina’s legacy inspires me to continue paving my way towards cultivating an education system that puts care for students’ well-being first,” added Martinez. “Advocating for more holistic approaches to education to better the BIPOC student experience in Texas.”

It was Martinez’s junior year of high school when K. Rose Zei, her college counselor, encouraged her to imagine a four-year college experience. She applied and was accepted as a Questbridge College Prep Scholar and was matched with Grinnell College.

Now as a Spanish major with concentrations in Latin American Studies and Film and Media Studies, Martinez has worked on two independent research projects. She was a teaching assistant for a bilingual Spanish/English second grade classroom at Woodbury Elementary in Marshalltown, Iowa this past academic year and she was an Ignite Fellow remotely tutoring second grade English and Language Arts through Teach for America in fall 2023.

“From the first day I met Joslyn and ever since, she has told me that she wants to be a teacher in the public sector and in communities where she can help her Latine communities,” said Valerie Benoist, advisor, and professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies. Benoist expressed how that incredible determination is a driving factor in Joslyn's inspiring pursuits through academics, research, assistant teaching, service, and campus leadership.

Martinez contributes to the campus community as chair of the Latin American Studies Student Educational Policy Committee and member of the Spanish Student Educational Policy Committee. She is a member and former board member of Student of Latine, supporting and participating in events for the Latinx student community.

Martinez plans to pursue a master’s degree in Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Texas following several years of teaching in the public school system.

Donor Story

Celina Karp Biniaz ’52 was born in Poland in 1931. Her life and education were drastically impacted by World War II. Surviving Plaszow and Auschwitz, she was the youngest child to work in Oskar Schindler’s factory in Czechoslovakia. Following the war, Celina’s family joined relatives in the United States where she graduated from North High School, Des Moines, IA, and then attended Grinnell College majoring in philosophy.

Karp Biniaz earned her master’s degree in Education at Columbia University to hold a 27-year career as a teacher. She was a pioneer in the special education field, helping to establish a program of individualized instruction for elementary school students with learning difficulties. She credits the film Schindler’s List, which was released in 1993, with enabling her to find her voice and share her personal experiences of the Holocaust. Celina has traveled the globe, appealing for a rejection of hate, sharing her incredible life experiences and her fervent hope for humanity.

This is the third recipient of the Celina Karp Biniaz Model of Resilience Award at Grinnell College. The Award is advised and administered through Global Fellowships and Awards in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.