Alumna Goes To Washington With PoliSci Degree

Nathalia Martins at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.


In the nine years after graduating from UCF, Nathalia Martins ’10 ’12MA has crossed paths with Washington D.C. movers and shakers, held a job with the Brazilian ambassador and started a new career path in public relations.

Not bad for someone who didn’t have a clear plan when she arrived in college.

“When I first got to UCF, I had no idea what I wanted to do,”  Martins said. “You come in with all these ideas and interests and suddenly you have to narrow down what it is that you want to do with the rest of your life. This is so overwhelming, especially to freshmen. I used to think you had to have it all figured out, but you don’t. Life will do the figuring out for you.”

Martins has always been interested in politics. Her interests during her undergraduate and graduate career specifically centered around European immigration patterns. Post-graduation, she headed to D.C. to work in the German Marshall Fund of the United States think tank. What was supposed to be a two-month opportunity turned into the next seven years of her life.

At the residence of the Ambassador of Brazil for the Embassy’s 2014 World Cup reception

“I got the opportunity to work in the think tank in D.C., which was set up to promote cross Atlantic relations and information exchange between the U.S. and Europe,” said Martins. “I did it for two months before I was presented with the opportunity to work at the Brazilian Embassy.”

Being Brazilian born and raised, this was kismet for Martins.  Having focused academically on European studies for so long, the opportunity to work at the Brazilian Embassy was something very personal.

“I came to the United States when I was twelve. The culture has always been a large part of who I am. When I got to college, though, I felt that studying European immigration was a bit of a way for me to rebel. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into being Brazilian. But then I started work at the Embassy and it felt like everything came full circle,” said Martins.

During her four-year pursuit she became head of protocol under Ambassador Mauro Vieira. The duties in this position range from event coordination to scheduling meetings and travel agendas.

“Whether it was World Cup parties or dinners with other ambassadors, I was the one in charge of putting all of these events together,” said Martins. “My experience at the embassy was a really cool opportunity because I finally got to play on my strengths and my culture instead of shying away from it.”

Recently Martins has made the move back to Florida to work under PR company LLYC, formerly known as Llorente and Cuenca. The shift from politics to public relations was a direct result of Martin’s experiences in D.C.

“It’s been almost eight years since I’ve graduated from UCF with my poli-sci degree and it has given me more than I could’ve asked for. Through my experiences I realized what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want to do in the future,” Martins said.  “If there is one piece of advice I can give to any student, it is to keep an open mind. Take every opportunity that comes to you, let it guide you, and don’t worry. Life works itself out in incredible ways.”

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