Rafael Martinez-Zepeda

Rafael Martinez-Zepeda is an educator, amateur photographer and avid nature lover. Born in El Salvador & raised by two generations of strong women, Rafael believes that empowering women is important. However, equally as important, is teaching young men and boys how to reject and prevent the perpetuation of toxic masculinity in today’s society. Being emotionally, and physically abused by his step-father as a young boy, Rafael forced his emotions away for years showing only anger towards life. After a period of healing, he reconnected with himself through nature, art and photography. His photography features flowers and landscapes which showcase nature in its full beauty. Rafael loves creating. Other outlets include baking, paper crafts, gardening, woodworking, 3D printing, laser cutting and videography. Rafael is an advocate and supporter for STEM and the Arts in public schools. Having created the makerspace at his public middle school from the ground up, he was invited to speak at the 2021 California STEAM Symposium. He shares his talents and passion for creating with his students as a makerspace instructor and mentor. Along with creating, Rafael also enjoys hiking. In the summer of 2022, he will attempt to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, a 2650-mile-long hike from Mexico to Canada. He currently resides in Southern California with his two dogs and 21-year-old cat.

“No matter our past, our present, or the outlet, create something! Try new things. Try hard things. It’s through these processes that we heal, empower ourselves, and connect with each other.”
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