Social work graduate student dies due to COVID-19

Alicia Martinez, a Baylor social work graduate student, has died of complications after contracting COVID-19 several weeks ago. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

President Linda Livingstone announced in a BaylorNewsFlash email that 21-year-old Alicia Martinez, 2020 graduate of the Diana Garland School of Social Work and current social work graduate student, died in Waco today due to COVID-19.

The university was told earlier in the day about Martinez’s death. She had been battling COVID-19 for several weeks. The circumstances in which she was infected with the disease and whether or not she was considered high-risk for the virus are, as of now, unknown.

“This is devastating news for Alicia’s family, friends, her cohort of social work classmates and faculty to whom she was very close and for our community at Baylor University,” Livingstone wrote. “May all of us in the Baylor Family join together in prayer for Alicia’s family and all those who loved and cherished her as they mourn such a tragic loss. May we feel the grace of God through the prayers, thoughts and love from the hearts of those who care and share in this time of great sorrow.”

Martinez was a native Wacoan and graduated from Rapoport Academy while at the same earning her associate degree from McLennan Community College, Livingstone wrote.

“Alicia was one of Baylor’s bright lights, glorifying God through her dedication to helping others through the social work profession,” Livingstone wrote. “She was interning at Grassroots Community Development and had already proven herself to be a valuable member of the team. She also volunteered her time to serve with the children’s ministry at University Baptist Church. She was so full of hope and planned to graduate with her master’s degree in social work in May.”

Social work professor Mallory Herridge said Martinez was “the heartbeat of the classroom.”

“This is such a sad day at Baylor,” Livingstone wrote. “May all those who loved Alicia and grieve her passing find rest, comfort and peace in the love and hope of God.”

Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work Jon Singletary wrote an email to the Baylor social work community acknowledging the pain of beginning the semester without one of their beloved students.

“For today, as we remember Alicia with love and appreciation, know that we feel the same care for each of you,” Singletary said. “You are beloved and we hold you close to our hearts in the sorrow of losing someone so dear. We also pray that in your grief, you will feel the hope and love that filled Alicia’s life.”

The university will host a virtual gathering on Monday at 7:30 p.m. for members of the Baylor community to mourn Martinez’s death and pray for her family.