Student Spotlight

Martin ’19, Aspiring Lawmaker, Finds Path to Service

Malik Martin ’19

By Dayna Poskanzer
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Growing up, Malik Martin ’19 had always wanted to become a police officer or join the military.

“Those professions were my dream. And when realized I could never achieve my dream, I was devastated,” he said.

At two months old, Martin underwent open heart surgery to repair a coarctation of the aorta, which has since prevented him from vigorous physical contact—and from pursuing a career in law enforcement or the armed forces.

Still, he found a path to serving his country without risking his health.

“I don’t want to be in a courtroom arguing the law—I want to create laws,” said Martin, who just finished his first year at Albany Law School.

“There was no other school that offered the same advantages,” Martin said, explaining that being in the capital of New York was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

Martin has always felt that serving in public office is the best way to bring change. He is currently working for the New York City Mayor’s Office of State Legislative Affairs, where he is responsible for watching bills of interest to the mayor at the New York State Assembly and Senate. He evaluates how many people voted, drafts reports on bills of high importance and researches case law for the New York City Fire Department on protecting individuals signing contracts under duress.

“It’s interesting because if we have committee that day, and even though a certain bill wasn’t on the agenda, it will be moved from that Senate committee to the full Senate right away,” Martin said. “So you have to be very aware of what your assignments are.”

He feels that areas such as job creation, higher education, prison reform and creating clear criminal statutes need to be addressed.

“My biggest goals involve implementing a job creation program and revamping our education policies to move from a cookie-cutter system into a more individualistic system,” he said.

After completing his Legal Studies degree at SUNY Purchase, the Yonkers, N.Y. native applied to Albany Law School to pursue a dual J.D./M.P.A. with the University at Albany. He felt it was the right fit due to Albany Law’s connections and strengths in government law.

“There was no other school that offered the same advantages,” Martin said, explaining that being in the capital of New York was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I was lucky that when I moved up here, I brought an integral part of my support system with me: my fiancee,” he added.

Martin expressed that without the support from his fiancee, friends and faculty he wouldn’t have made it this far. “You don't know everything yet, but maybe one day you will and you'll know it was because the professors helped get you there.” He emphasized the importance of seeking help from his professors, as it only made things easier. “It changed my entire outlook on the courses,” he said.

As Martin prepares for his second year at Albany Law he plans to become more involved in the many organizations the campus has to offer. In terms of his future, he foresees himself staying in New York.

“New York is home and the only state that I’ve known,” Martin said. “It is such a unique and diverse state. You have one of the greatest and biggest cities in the world. Unless I feel obligated to bring change elsewhere, I never want to leave the many opportunities this state has to offer.”

Malik Martin