Announcing the 2020-21 Class of Martin Scholars

Recently the Department of Communication’s Executive-in-Residence Mr. Thomas R. Martin announced the next class of Martin Scholars. The 2020-21 class of Martin Scholars will be the largest yet (14 student scholars), and will be the second cohort to complete the program with its integration into the communication major curriculum as a section of COMM 336 Addressing Problems in Context. The new Martin Scholars (all of whom are rising COMM major seniors) are currently enjoying the summer months, and look forward to convening together with the start of the Fall semester later this year. Whether in-person or virtual, these students will then embark officially in the Martin Scholar program with Mr. Martin. The scholars will collaborate together (class assignments, in-person or virtual site visits, guest speakers, assigned mentors, and more) until they graduate in May 2021.

Executive-in-Residence Mr. Thomas R. Martin: “Each of you brings unique talents, backgrounds, and perspectives that will add to the richness of the shared experience you have together. You have faced many life challenges already, and these have made you stronger, wiser and better prepared for what lies ahead on your life journey. The collective wisdom of the fifteen of you—reflecting this multi-dimensional life history—will make our interactions more meaningful and our time together more precious. I look forward to exploring that with you.”

The successful migration of the Martin Scholar program to 100% online collaboration from this March – May has underscored the program’s continual mission to inspire and develop a future generation of leaders among today’s outstanding communication majors at the College of Charleston. The recently graduated 2019-20 cohort quickly adapted to the new classroom and work environment created this year by the coronavirus pandemic. Through the usage of four virtual meeting platforms (Zoom, Bluejeans, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams) the 2019-20 senior Martin Scholar cohort successfully finished their last semester with virtual meetings and tours by communication executives at several local companies, national companies, and large organizations: Google, Landor, APCO Worldwide, Vested, Bloomberg, U.S. Chamber, Brunswick, Ketchum, Integral, Peppercomm, Hot Paper Lantern, and more. They then wrapped up the semester with virtual presentations of personal branding projects under the heading “The Brand of You”.

One could argue that these are great times to be a communication student and scholar. This next class of Martin Scholars will experience the same benefits of previous classes through learning and counseling from some of the best communication professionals in the field (Martin Scholars mentors / Advisory Council mentors / COMM faculty), but will have the added challenge of observing firsthand how to effectively and efficiently communicate during a world-wide pandemic – COVID-19. We look forward to seeing the scholars and program continue to excel through these extraordinary times. As our President of the College of Charleston, Andrew T. Hsu, so eloquently stated this past March, “No one chooses to live in historic times. But, we do have a choice on how we act in them.”


Read on to meet each of the 14 Martin Scholars, class of 2020-2021:


Martin Scholar Grace Daughtry

Grace Daughtry ’21

Hometown: Piedmont, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
Dream Job: Working for a company/ business/ organization that empowers and uplifts marginalized groups and/or women’s issues. Perhaps as a Social Media Coordinator.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Dr. Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann. She was so incredible and had the perfect balance of constructive criticism and compliments.
Favorite Color: Dark, forest green
Inspiration: CofC has exposed me to new knowledge and radical ideas I was blind to before leaving my town, and I’m inspired by the thought of sharing what I’ve learned with those confined by a small town mentality. I’m inspired by the prospect that if diversity, acceptance, and a strong sense of community can exist so beautifully in this city, it has the potential to exist everywhere. I hope every town, city, and community indulges in the certitude that unity is achievable; and I hope it fuels the fight for a kinder world.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: CofC’s seal displays two Latin mottos: Sapientia Ipsa Libertas, (Wisdom Itself Is Liberty) and Ædes Mores Juraque Curat, (She Cares For Her Temples, Customs and Rights). Take the time to really soak in the mottos, learn what makes you passionate, understand your learning style, and use Rate My Professor to find professors who will work with you and continue to inspire your desire to learn and grow.

Photo of Martin Scholar Jada Davis

Jada Davis ’21

Hometown: Rock Hill, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Arts Management
Dream Job: Working for a pristine arts organization, such as the Smithsonian.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 336 Addressing Problems in Context: Environmental Communication with Dr. Kathy DeHaan.
Favorite Color: Blue
Inspiration: When I see a community gather around each other and support one another during times like these, it truly inspires me to engage with my peers and learn from their leadership.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: It’s okay not to have your dream career figured out, but use this time as your most precious resource to gain experience in various fields to help you capture what you’re passionate about!

Martin Scholar Catherine Flanders

Catherine Flanders ’21

Hometown: Charleston, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Psychology
Dream Job: Public relations or event management for a large company, such as Google.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280 Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Kelly Jakes.
Favorite Color: Lavender
Inspiration: I am inspired by powerful women in the work place that prove women can do it all! I am motivated by their success and the determination they showed to get to where they are today. These women give me the inspiration to follow my dreams!
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My advice to underclassmen is to explore all the amazing opportunities the communication major has to offer. You may think you want to go one way but it only takes one awesome class to change your mind.

Martin Scholar Avery Gavornik

Avery Gavornik ’21

Hometown: Tewksbury, NJ
Major: Communication | Minors: Marketing & Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dream Job: Start my own public relations firm.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 216 Principles and Practices of Strategic Communication with Dr. Vince Benigni. It was my first time really being taught specifically about public relations and I was being exposed to exactly what I want to do in the future.
Favorite Color: Blue
Inspiration: Seeing and hearing about people who have found success doing what they love, specifically those who are willing to put their time and energy into helping and mentoring people who aspire to be like them.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take any and every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s an internship, part-time job, or position in a club or organization. You never know who you’re going to meet that can help you in your future.

Martin Scholar Charlie Havens

Charlie Havens ’21

Hometown: North Bethesda, MD
Major: Communication | Minor: Marketing
Dream Job: Director of Public Relations for a brand
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Prof. Barry Waldman.
Favorite Color: Blue
Inspiration: I’m most inspired by my friends and family. I’m lucky to have so many people in my life who work hard to reach their goals, and encourage me to do the same.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Put in as much effort as possible in each class and take every opportunity to increase your grades. You’ll never regret the extra time spent studying or doing an extra credit assignment at the end of a semester.

Martin Scholar Madison McGraw Heid

Madison McGraw Heid ’21

Hometown: Healdsburg, CA
Major: Communication | Minor: Creative Writing
Dream Job: Travel Journalist for the New York Times
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 336 Addressing Problems in Context: Reporting in the Age of Fake News, with Prof. Melissa Delaney.
Favorite Color: Blue
Inspiration: What inspires me is that I will be graduating this year and I can either sit back and be passive or change the world. I believe communications is so undervalued but its something we use every day, in our freedom of speech and our freedom of written word. It truly has the ability to make a change, and I want to be a part of that change.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Go out and seek opportunities for yourself, don’t sit back and think it’ll happen on its own. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a communication major its that every chance is a networking opportunity, so take advantage of it!

Martin Scholar Megan Llewellyn

Megan Llewellyn ’21

Hometown: Summerville, SC
Major: Communication
Dream Job: Public Relations Writer
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Prof. Barry Waldman.
Favorite Color: Yellow
Inspiration: Failure constantly inspires me to fight for my goals. I believe that mistakes are at the core of any achievement and failing only allows a chance to learn and grow. I’m driven by the ability to stand up when I fall down.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Your academic journey should never be a race. Take everything one step at a time, learn from your mistakes and always check your e-mail.

Martin Scholar Marley Lucas

Marley Lucas ’21

Hometown: Waxhaw, NC
Major: Communication | Minors: Spanish & Political Science
Dream Job: Creative Director at Vogue
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Prof. Barry Waldman.
Favorite Color: Purple
Inspiration: I draw inspiration from music, art, travel, my friends, and family. The people and things in my life push me to be creative and make my mark on the world.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Be involved as much as possible. By getting involved in different organizations you will meet all kinds of people, many of whom will become your life long friends. I would also say don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help! The COMM department is filled with great faculty who are eager and willing to assist you!

Martin Scholar Alaysha Maple

Alaysha Maple ’21

Hometown: Sumter, SC
Major: Communication
Dream Job: Work for Vice or Jubilee, or start my own PR firm.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 480 Capstone on Experimenting with Nonverbal Communication with Dr. Jenifer Kopfman.
Favorite Color: Green
Inspiration: What inspires me the most is seeing people of our generation do what they love and be great at it. In seeing them do so, it inspires me to do the same and I hope one day I can serve as an inspiration to others.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: The long nights you spend working on speeches and presentations will pay off in the end. Just keep going and do the best you can.

Photo of Martin Scholar Annie Perkins.

Annie Perkins ’21

Hometown: Mount Pleasant, SC
Majors: Communication & Spanish | Minor: Business Administration
Dream Job: As of now, I want to be a translator in a hospital since I speak Spanish pretty well, but my dream job changes every week.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Prof. Barry Waldman. He’s awesome.
Favorite Color: Red
Inspiration: My inspiration is my future self because I want to make things easy and enjoyable for her.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Try to remember important things from lower level classes because those same concepts will appear in higher level classes.

Martin Scholar Grace Peyton

Grace Peyton ’21

Hometown: Hurricane, WV
Major: Communication | Minor: Psychology
Dream Job: Relationship Analyst and Educator
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 315 Digital Media Ethics with Dr. Ryan Milner.
Favorite Color: Orange
Inspiration: I am inspired by my past struggles and passion for helping others. Practicing yoga helps me feel inspired. I try to do my best without focusing on the outcome and mindfully reflect.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Make writing in your planner each morning part of your routine, and always have a backup plan for a quick change in schedule. 

Martin Scholar Damian Porter

Damian Porter ’21

Hometown: Darlington, SC
Majors: Communication & African American Studies
Dream Job: My dream is to follow in the footsteps of alumna Sonya Houston ’86 and pursue a career at CNN Studios in Atlanta, GA! Ultimately, I would love to work in the world of social media/public relations.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 216 Principles & Practices of Strategic Communication with Dr. Feifei Chen.
Favorite Color: Red
Inspiration: I am inspired by the very first African American men and women who were allowed to integrate on the College of Charleston campus in 1967. Without their courage and determination, I would not be here today. Coming from a small town where pursuing higher education is a taboo matter, I push to change the narrative for those who are afraid to reach for the stars and follow their dreams. The thought of walking across the Cistern fills me with overwhelming bouts of joy and fulfillment knowing that I beat all the odds against me.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Do not be afraid to put yourself out there – the time to work on your foundation and brand starts now, not later. There are a plethora of resources available for you, but it is up to you to use them. I encourage you to get involved, talk to your professors during office hours, and engage with faculty and staff. Your degree is a gateway to success, but you still have to put in the work, networking is everything.

Martin Scholar Celie Shankman

Celie Shankman ’21

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Majors: Communication & Marketing
Dream Job: Marketing or Communication department for either a large nonprofit (e.g. ASPCA, The Humane Society of America, Robin Hood) or a large, American business with a hub in Asia.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280 Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus.
Favorite Color: Any shade of blue!
Inspiration: I am inspired by those who think of others first. Whether that be citizens running for office or protesting, office workers changing to more sustainable strategies, or people volunteering in their free time.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Find one or two clubs/organizations that you LOVE going to. You’ll gain great experiences, have the option to help lead, and meet new people every semester!

Martin Scholar Fern Wooden

Fern Wooden ’21

Hometown: Charleston, SC
Major: Communication | Minors:  Theatre & Writing, Rhetoric, and Publication
Dream Job: Writer and actress for Saturday Night Live, or another sector of late-night television or sketch comedy.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310 Message Design and Influence with Dr. Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann.
Favorite Color: Pastel pink
Inspiration: I am inspired by funny women, such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who use their platforms to advocate for change both in and out of the industry. I am also inspired by those who are able to conquer adversity, whether that be physical or mental challenges, because it brings people hope. Lastly I am inspired by the tenacious female influences in my life, like my mom, who never stop pushing me to reach my full potential.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Strive for excellence rather than perfection, because at the end of the end of the day your mental well being comes first. Challenge yourself, but know perfection does not always equal making that perfect grade or exhausting yourself.


Welcome, Class of 2020-2021 Martin Scholars!

*article updated September 10, 2020*

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