In 2016, when the Martin Scholars program was first added to the long list of opportunities offered to Communication majors at the College of Charleston, one could have only imagined the great successes achieved, challenges faced, and friendships created through this cohort. Tom and Wanda Martin, founders of the Martin Scholars, aim to provide an avenue for a select group of Communication seniors to experience a deep dive into the professional, technical, and vast field of communications they would soon be entering after graduation. The program was initially launched as an extracurricular activity, but in 2019, it became a two-semester academic course series. Mr. Martin (program director and Executive-in-Residence) and additional department faculty developed a curriculum based on the following three learning objectives:
- To recognize and develop students majoring and minoring in Communication who have an interest in and aptitude for leading and mentoring others — now and in the future — and excelling in the communications profession.
- To provide networking opportunities for these Martin Scholars with acknowledged leaders in the communication profession, from the Department of Communication National Advisory Council, global, regional, and local companies and agencies, department faculty and alumni.
- To build positive awareness of the Department of Communication and the College of Charleston through the efforts and outreach of the Martin Scholars program.
The Martin Scholars was founded on the principal of experiential learning – combining hands-on work in the communications field with thoughtful discussion in the classroom. Each scholar is paired with a mentor who is a communications executive; the group also participates in local and regional on-site visits to communications organizations where they meet with professionals in the field. Each Scholar completes intensive academic projects for grading throughout the year, and participates in the Spring Break Experience trip to Washington, DC and New York City. During their March 2022 trip, students visited prestigious communication firms including Brunswick Group, the Global Business Alliance, Russell Reynolds Associates, Weber-Shandwick, Powell Tate, Peppercomm, Hot Paper Lantern, Integral Communications Group, and several others. One addition to the travel schedule in 2022-23 is a trip to Atlanta, GA, a growing hub of the communications profession, during the College’s Fall Break. Students will visit with some of the many CofC alumni that are based in the Atlanta area, getting a taste of what opportunities the metropolis has to offer just a few hours away from Charleston.
The 2021-2022 school year was a return to semi-normalcy for the program after the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the Class of 2021 completed their full year in the program virtually, the Class of 2022 was able to return to in-person class sessions and site visits. The Class of 2023, having had their college experience shaped and re-shaped by COVID-19, joins a program reinvigorated with hope for an even more inclusive and engaging future.
Join the Department of Communication in welcoming these 17 talented and multifaceted Communication students into our largest cohort of Martin Scholars yet! Keep reading for a profile on each scholar.
Martin Scholars, Class of 2023
Jack Bartlett ’23
Hometown: Bristol, Tennessee
Dream Job: Owner of a crisis management firm
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 281: Introduction to Communication Messages taught by Dr. Kelly Jakes
Favorite Activities: Sailing, Hiking, Writing, Hanging out with friends, and Listening to music/podcasts
Inspiration: My Family
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take advantage of all of the awesome opportunities both the communications department and the college of Charleston offers!
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am most looking forward to getting to know my amazing classmates and learning more about the field of communications.
Jayla Burton ’23
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Dream Job: Working in public relations or marketing
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 336: Addressing Conflicts in Communication and COMM 280: Introduction to Communication Messages.
Favorite Activities: I enjoy reading, traveling, exploring Charleston, and cooking!
Inspiration: Dr. Kelly Jakes in the Communication Department or Angela Davis.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Communication is such a broad major and you can do anything with it. Post graduation, some people may struggle because they don’t know how and where to put their degree to use. Take every advantage you can to meet with mentors, talk to professionals, attend career fairs, get internships and really figure out what it is you’d like to do with your degree. A Communication degree can take you anywhere, you just have to decide where you want to go!
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I’m excited to learn from my peers, and speak with Communication professionals to learn more about how they’ve achieved their success!
Kaya Cox ’23
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Dream Job: I want to either be a wedding and event planner or work for a professional sports team while being able to do photography.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 315: Ethical Communication with Jenna Abetz
Favorite Activities: I love being on the beach, kayaking, art, photography, cooking, watching pro football or baseball, and I play on the women’s ultimate frisbee team .
Inspiration: I’m inspired by people who are able to overcome significant challenges, achieve great things, and live a life they love.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and take advantage of new opportunities, you never know where it’ll lead you.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: All of the experiences and new friends I’ll make this year.
Jenna D’Ambrosio ’23
Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Dream Job: My dream job is the be a copy editor or writer for Food & Wine magazine, or for New York Times Cooking.
Favorite COMM Course: My favorite Communication class so far has been COMM315: Ethical Communication with Professor Abetz.
Favorite Activities: I enjoy playing sports like lacrosse and football, as well as participating in art activities such as sculpture and painting.
Inspiration: The biggest inspiration is my mom; she is so dedicated and strong-willed. It has truly been inspiring to see her overcome so many obstacles.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: A piece of advice I have for Communication underclassmen is to reach out for help when you need it. Whether that help be for academics, mental health, or your personal life, most teachers will be more than willing to help and offer support. Having a support network away from home has truly allowed me to be successful in college.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: The aspect of the Martin Scholars program that I am most excited about is the opportunity to expand my professional career and knowledge. I am highly anticipating the opportunity to have a mentor that is willing to offer general and professional advice.
Madison Darchicourt ’23
Hometown: Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania
Dream Job: My dream job would be to run one of the funny Twitter accounts for brands that feud with other brands.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310: Message, Design, & Influence with Barry Waldman
Favorite Activities: Going for walks around Charleston with my roommates, hammocking at The Battery, having Mexican food for dinner on Fridays, and trying new coffee shops.
Inspiration: I am very inspired by Oprah Winfrey. She has an amazing story of coming from nothing and using her communication and people skills to become one of the most successful women in American history.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My advice for COMM underclassmen would be to make friends with their fellow COMM classmates because these are the people that will be in all of your classes for the next 4 years and to get to know your professors because you never know what opportunity they could present to you in the future.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am most looking forward to getting to know my fellow Martin Scholars, meeting local professionals in the Charleston community, and gaining insight into the different ways that I will be able to use my degree in communication.
Eve Denise ’23
Hometown: Ladson, South Carolina
Dream Job: I’d like to work in some form of digital media and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 281: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Brook Irving. She is hilarious and incredibly knowledgeable. If you get the chance to learn from her, soak it all up!
Favorite Activities: I love teaching and choreographing for one of my local competitive dance studios. The energy and love the kids bring me is incredibly fulfilling. I also really enjoy all types of music and traveling all over for concerts.
Inspiration: Florence Welch is a huge inspiration to me. Creatively she is thoughtful and authentic, and those are some of the qualities I value within myself. Florence’s work inspires me to be vulnerable while also being driven. Her aura reminds me there can be a balance of both in my own life.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Go to office hours with your professors! You learn a lot from others’ experiences and they are all super kind.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: Spending time with people who are as passionate about communication as I am, and learning from others’ expertise!
Taylor Dowling-Bowman ’23
Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina
Dream Job: Sports Analyst
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 410: Analysis of Communication Practice
Favorite Activities: Spending time with my family and friends, traveling.
Inspiration: My parents
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Build good relationships with your professors. It will help you in the long run!
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I’m looking forward to having a mentor who is able to provide advice and guidance to help achieve my goals. I’m also looking forward to being able to network with individuals in the communication field.
Kayla Gutierrez ’23
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Dream Job: CEO of my own company
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310: Message Design and Influence with Dr. Chen.
Favorite Activities: I enjoy going to the beach and taking my dog on long walks. Also, I love playing softball at the College of Charleston with my closest and best friends.
Inspiration: My aunt inspires me as she is one of the most hardworking individuals I have ever met. I aspire to reach her work ethic level as she is always motivated to succeed in any way possible. Also, my father is one of my biggest inspirations because he came to the United States with little to nothing and started a company all on his own. His story of success inspires me to accomplish all my dreams.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My advice to COMM underclassmen is to not be afraid of failure. College is all about growing and learning about yourself so put yourself out there. Do not be afraid to reach out to classmates. I guarantee you will create good relationships with your peers that will make the major more fun. I have made great friends in almost all of my classes so I get even more excited to come to class every day and learn.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: The aspect of the Martin Scholar program that I’m looking forward to the most is making new relationships and learning from those who have experience in the field of communications. Also, I am excited to build new relationships with classmates that share the same passion as me.
Trinity Griffin ’23
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Dream Job: Journalist
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310: Message Design and Influence with Laurie Volkmann (can’t stress this enough, I could see my writing improve as the semester went on).
Favorite Activities: My favorite activity is definitely being on stage acting!
Inspiration: The person who inspires me the most is my mom. Her perseverance and selflessness, along with a smile on her face is how I want to endure the world.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My piece of advice to COMM underclassmen is to be open to the different paths college and Communications may take you. It is scary, but don’t let that fear paralyze your potential or hold you back.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am excited to be in a passionate learning community with my peers.
Zinnia Harris ’23
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Dream Job: UX Writer
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280: Introduction to Communication Messages
Favorite Activities: I just recently got into crocheting and I’ve been enjoying it! I also like to draw and play Animal Crossing.
Inspiration: I really respect and look up to Dr. Mari Crabtree and Dr. Anthony Greene. I previously had them as advisors and I’ve taken 1-2 of their classes. Their passion definitely shows through their teaching and it acts as a constant reminder as to why history is so important in all contexts.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Use your calendar and set reminders! It always helps me stay on track if I roughly plan out my week on Sundays or Mondays. I can plan where to place reminders and when I would like to get certain things done.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I’m really looking forward to getting to know my mentor and fellow scholars!
Shane MacInnes ’23
Hometown: Elkton, Maryland
Dream Job: My dream job is to be working in the communications sector for a Major League Baseball team, preferably the Phillies.
Favorite COMM Course: My favorite COMM class I have taken thus far has been COMM 315: Ethical Communication. It was a smaller class with Dr. Abetz about interpersonal communication.
Favorite Activities: Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my niece and nephew, going to the gym, and sitting in the sun with a good book while having the ball game on in the background.
Inspiration: The people who serve as the biggest inspiration in my life continue to be my parents. I have less concern with money or titles or materials but look to them as examples of the kind of person I aspire to be, with a set of values that can lead to a life of happiness.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: A piece of advice for COMM underclassmen. Don’t ever hesitate to take a class others arent taking or pass on a club you are interested in. Keep your mind open to everything and you can start to find where your true passions lie.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: The aspect of the Martin Scholars program that I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to build relationships with people who have had success in the field. Between the mentorship and the weekly meetings, I look forward to being able to see what works in our field and what doesn’t, while along the way picking up bits of knowledge to turn me into a viable and valuable member of any future communications team I may be a part of.
Tyler McCormack ’23
Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
Dream Job: My dream job is to work in public relations or web design for a designer or retailer in the fashion industry.
Favorite COMM Course: My favorite COMM class was Digital Media, Dystopia, and Democracy with Dr. Parisi.
Favorite Activities: In my free time, I love to go to thrift stores and antique shops- I like the thrill of the hunt for an interesting piece of clothing or decoration and being able to give new life to things!
Inspiration: I am constantly inspired by both of my parents’ work ethic and how they both use their jobs to try and make the world a little better for everyone.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My number one piece of advice is to speak up! Ask and answer questions, participate in class, and talk to your professors– you will learn more from engaging in class than you ever will from writing down every word your professor says.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I’m most looking forward to being part of a tight-knit group of COMM scholars and having a group of peers who love COMM as much as I do!
Jordynn Pinckney ’23
Hometown: Greenwood, South Carolina
Dream Job: I would like to start a non-profit support and empowerment organization for young black girls, become a writer, and public speaker.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280: Introduction to Communication Messages
Favorite Activities: I enjoy singing, reading, and writing.
Inspiration: Dr. Maya Angelou and Judge Lynn Toler
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: If you want to do something, then go for it. You won’t know until you try.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am most excited about networking and learning from communication professionals.
Courtney Smith ’23
Hometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina
Dream Job: I would love to work in logistics or special events for a broadcast company or museum group.
Favorite COMM Course: My favorite COMM class has been COMM 215: Communication, Identity, and Community with Erin Benson!
Favorite Activities: Outside of class, I really enjoy mountain biking and hiking.
Inspiration: During my freshman year, I had an internship with CBS News and their head of logistics, Wendy Dawson, had recently retired. She was such an asset to their team and so well respected that they brought her back after her retirement for the Democratic Debate. She was such a great mentor and has been someone I aspire to be like in my personal and professional life.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Make sure that you’re trying all of the fun things! It’s great to get involved in the COMM Department and clubs so that you can meet people who have similar interests. It gives you a great support group during midterms and finals and you can learn a lot about what you want to do post grad by listening to their stories!
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am most excited for all of the networking opportunities that we have throughout the year! I think that I am most excited for our time in DC because I am hoping to move there after graduation and having time to explore the city and make connections with great industry professionals will be such an enriching experience.
Hometown: I’m from Charleston- technically Mt. Pleasant! I grew up 10 minutes away over the bridge.
Dream Job: My dream job would be to work for some sort of publication. I would love to be a documentary journalist, or to work in the media industry and find a way to combine my passions of journalism, politics, and video editing.
Favorite COMM Course: My favorite COMM class I’ve taken so far is COMM 315: Ethical Communication. It has aspects of media law, which is so interesting to me. We also got to discuss media ethics and entertain different philosophical perspectives toward communications. It challenged us to expand our minds as COMM majors.
Favorite Activities: I love reading. My favorite novels revolve around fantasy, sci-fi, and romance! I also love videography and photography.
Inspiration: Somebody who is an inspiration to me is Gloria Steinem. Her autobiography “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions” recounts how she went undercover as a journalist to expose the truth about the playboy business. She is an advocate for what she believes in and has made a living out of standing up for those beliefs.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My best piece of advice for COMM students is an obvious one; get involved. Join clubs, go to events, and network with your peers. COVID took a large chunk of my college experience away from me, and it really made me realize how important it is to have real-life experiences from college! Also, this goes for all college students but study abroad if you have the means.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am looking forward to getting to know my peers in the program, and getting to go on the trips to Atlanta, DC, and NYC to learn about different workplaces. It is such a great opportunity to meet people, and to network with others in positive ways.
Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina
Dream Job: The thing I love most about the communication major is the way I’d love any job within it. However, if I had to choose one, I’d say a job in Public Relations!
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 315: Ethical Communication with Dr. Kirk Stone! It was a challenging course but extremely rewarding in the way I took so much from it. I’d retake the class in a heartbeat!
Favorite Activities: Anything outdoors! I love exploring, camping, hiking, being out on the water, going to the beach, and much more!
Inspiration: My parents. They are the most hardworking and selfless humans I’ve ever met. They have told me my whole life to find something that I love and that when I do, it won’t feel like work. I wouldn’t be where I am without them!
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take time to build relationships with your professors! Introduce yourself, participate in class, go to their office hours, don’t be afraid to ask them questions and have them look over any papers or projects before the due date. They are there to help you and are happy to do so. Your professors are some of your biggest advocators. I would not have the amazing opportunities I’ve had during my time at the College if it weren’t for building those relationships!
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I’m excited for everything that is to come but I’m particularly looking forward to being surrounded by likeminded individuals who share my passion for the communication program!
Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland
Dream Job: I don’t have a specific “dream job” but I would love to do something that uses my creativity and my love of teamwork as well as something that doesn’t make me sit at a desk all day every day.
Favorite COMM Course: I really enjoyed my communication ethics class as well as my capstone which is experimenting with nonverbal communication!
Favorite Activities: I love being outside whether that’s going hiking and camping or just going to the beach. I also love reading – mostly fiction!
Inspiration: I know it’s cheesy but it really is my mom. She inspires me everyday to become a better person and to find my passion in life. She has been a wonderful person to look up to because she was a communication professional as well.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Go to your professors! They are there to help you! they only want to see you succeed. CofC COMM department has some of the best professors.
What are you looking forward to during your year as a Martin Scholar: I am most looking forward to all the hands on experiences and trips we will get to have. Also making new friends that share my interests and love for communication!