Dr. Martha E. Bernal


Dr. Martha E. Bernal was born in 1931 in San Antonio, TX to parents who emigrated from Mexico as young adults. During her time in high school, her instructors discouraged girls from taking classes like advanced math and were generally unsupportive of their academic success. Even so, once she graduated she decided to pursue higher education and receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field of psychology. She eventually moved to Bloomington, IN and became the first Mexican woman to earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, which she received from Indiana University in 1962. Despite this accomplishment, many academic institutions would still not hire a woman, so she turned her attention to research. She was finally given a teaching position in 1969 at the University of Arizona and through her work, received many acknowledgments and awards. In 2001, she was given the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest Award. However, she passed away from cancer in September of that year and was not able to accept it.