‘I Make My Own Decisions,’ Says 21-Year Old With Down Syndrome: Marina’s Speech

Updated: Jun 22

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marina Martinez (a 21-year-old woman with Down syndrome) wasn’t able to travel to New York to speak at the World Down syndrome International conference at the United Nations. Fortunately, they were able to put a virtual conference together to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.

Here is Marina’s Speech for the Self-Advocate Panel. Click here for the transcript.


The conference committee wanted to know more about Marina’s friendship with her friend Jordan since kindergarten.

About Marina

Marina is currently a sophomore at the University of Georgia in the Destination Dawgs program. She is studying marketing and her goal in life is to be independent with a full-time job. Since a very early age, Marina has been an advocate of the Down syndrome community as well as a self-advocate. She is fearless and always ready for new challenges. She has a passion for music, traveling and is very active on social media. Marina has presented a lecture for a genetics class of 160 medical students for five years at Emory University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and loves learning about new cultures. Marina is 21 years old and lives in Johns Creek, GA where she lives with her parents and older brother, Juan Carlos.

Video Transcript

School: University of Georgia’s Destination Dawgs Program

Please describe what you are included in.

I’m taking 5 full time, regular classes and studying marketing as my major. I’m involved in the Wesley Christian organization, UGA Miracle, and Ted Talks UGA. I really enjoy going to UGA sports games and supporting the football, volleyball, and basketball teams!

How are you included in this?

Are you included in all parts of this activity?

Yes, I’m included in activities inside and outside the campus. I scan my UGA ID to go to all these events, and I’m always wearing UGA colors to represent my school. I participate in my classes, conferences, business clubs, sports activities, and many other social events on campus.

Do you make the decisions about what you do and how you do it when you are taking part in the activity?