My name is Marta (Mah-r-tah) Aparicio (Ah-pa-ree-cee-oh) and I’m a U.S. Diplomat. I was born in Zacapa, Guatemala. My parents immigrated to the United States when I was less than one year old, thus I was raised by my paternal grandmother – Mamá Marta.
Left with my grandma in Zacapa, it was not until January 14, 2003 that I met my parents for the first time and immigrated to Providence, Rhode Island without speaking English. Due to family problems, in 2009, as a 17-year-old senior in high school, I left my parents’ house with $500 in hand and the determination to educate myself. I worked 30 hours a week between a retirement home and a hospital, in order to survive as a teenager without parental support. As a 2010 high school class valedictorian, I realized that simply living in the United States does not better one’s life. My family obstacles and the need to carve out a better life for myself empowered me, while the United States provided me with the opportunity to start a new life, on my own.
At Georgetown University, I developed an appreciation for cultural diversity, as well as U.S. politics, through academic coursework and community service. My curiosity about the role of global politics also motivated me to study abroad for six months in 2013 in Madrid, Spain. I taught English to my host siblings and engaged in political discussions in Spanish with my host parents and classmates. As a Guatemalan-American representative in Europe, I gained an understanding of people’s cultures while working and building relationships with them.
I have made public service to others a core component of what I do. Teaching English at Miami Dade College allowed me to help students from Europe and Latin America. As an educator, I researched teaching and motivation techniques to keep my students engaged and motivated while developing a greater love and interest for the English language and the American culture. Additionally, as a mentor for two unaccompanied minors and one refugee, I also taught English and helped my mentees adapt to life in the United States. These experiences helped me become a better citizen committed to improving the lives of others through service.
In May 2020, I graduated from Columbia University in the city of New York, where I obtained a Master of International Affairs with a concentration in Urban and Social Policy, and a double specialization in United Nations and Latin American Studies.
I am a State Department 2018 Rangel Fellowship recipient and officially joined the State Department in July 2020. It will be a privilege to continue being an active citizen as a U.S. Diplomat representing America and promoting its national interests abroad. Since immigrating 18 years ago, the United States has empowered me to make a better life for myself to serve my country.
Picture Credits: EB.Lens Photography and Foto Sami