As the home of one of the largest majors (and minors) found at the College of Charleston, the Department of Communication prides itself on the unique opportunities offered specifically for declared COMM students. Among these (full list at Communication Student Opportunities) is the senior year Martin Scholars program. Initiated in 2016, the program was founded by Thomas and Wanda Martin. Their vision was 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. In 2019, when the program 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, one of three experiential learning based scholar programs at CofC, are known for their hands-on work, both in the classroom and in the communications field. Each scholar is paired with a professional communications executive as a mentor, engages in local and regional on-site visits to communications organizations and teams, participates in the Spring Break Experience trip, and completes intensive academic projects for grading throughout the year. Some of the organizations virtually visited this past year include APCO Worldwide, Frazier Heiby, Prosek Partners, Integral Communications Group, Peppercomm, Google, Chick-fil-A, Bloomberg, Heyman Associates, Brunswick Group, Ketchum, Hot Paper Lantern, Rawle Murdy, and Byrdhouse Public Relations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the world to adapt quickly and creatively in 2020 and 2021. In this regard, the Martin Scholars program was not spared. The Class of 2020 did not come back to campus after a virtual Spring Break Experience trip, and finished their year virtually through a variety of platforms (Zoom, Teams, Bluejeans, Google Hangouts, and more). The Class of 2021 completed their full year of the program in virtual settings, with only three in-person (masked and socially distanced) group gatherings in the late Spring. (For more on this, read Reflections from a Martin Scholar, Class of 2021 Graduate: Megan Llewellyn.) Today, vaccinations continue to roll out across the nation and CofC plans for a full return to on-campus operations in Fall 2021. With a year and a half of unexpected virtual learning and living socially distanced under their belt, the newly selected Class of 2022 Martin Scholars will come into the program with another layer of experience that is unique to them.
Join the Department of Communication in welcoming these 15 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 2022
Hometown: Summerville, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Business Administration
Dream Job: Sports Broadcasting, Radio, or Television
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 315: Ethical Communication with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus.
Favorite Color: Dark Green
Favorite Pandemic Activity: The activity that helped me get through this past virtual year was running and working out with friends. Running with friends was a way to decrease stress and increase my motivation. Putting time aside to have fun and hangout with close friends was another source of enjoyment. Spending time with friends provided a sense of normalcy in a year that was completely disrupted by the pandemic in all other aspects.
Inspiration: My grandfather is my main inspiration; he was able to overcome and fight through WWII, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: The best advice I can give is to never give up on yourself, and that it is never too late to improve. In less than a year, you can go from no extra curricular activities, a sub-par GPA, and no clear career path, to making the dean’s list, gaining a sense of direction, and becoming a member of the Martin Scholars Program.
Hometown: Fort Mill, SC
Majors: Communication, International Studies, & French and Francophone Studies
Dream Job: International Journalist
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Kelly Jakes. I had the opportunity to discuss controversial topics, write on what I am passionate about, and challenge myself as a writer!
Favorite Color: Carolina Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: One of the main activities that got me through this year was spending time with my dog. I prioritize academics, and since most of my classes were online, I was a lot more sedentary than usual. Walking and running with my dog gave me time to explore Charleston, exercise, and just simply escape the demands of school and incessant use of technology for a while.
Inspiration: My friends, professors, and other journalists inspire me. I look up to those around me, and I enjoy reading the work of journalists in my desired career field.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: The best advice I can give to incoming freshmen and sophomores is to lean into your classmates. If it is a writing or speech-related course, try not to get too overwhelmed, remind yourself that those courses will help you become a better writer, and communicate with your classmates. Many COMM courses have group projects and having a good relationship with the people in my class made them easier and more enjoyable.
Hometown: Charlton, MA
Major: Communication | Minor: Healthcare and Medical Services Management
Dream Job: Human Resources within the Healthcare industry.
Favorite COMM Course: Two courses come to mind. I entered my freshman year at CofC as an undecided student, however, after taking COMM 215 in the spring (Communication, Identity and Community) with Dr. Merissa Ferrara I realized that I was interested in the material and wanted to learn more about it so I decided to declare Communication as my major. Sophomore year I took my most challenging courses, COMM 280 & 281 (Introduction to Communication Messages) with Dr. Lynn Cherry. These courses required a lot of work, but they drastically improved my overall writing and public speaking skills.
Favorite Color: Light Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Getting out of the house to go on long walks or runs, for fresh air and a change of scenery, was something I looked forward to everyday for a mental break. Additionally, getting out of my comfort zone and becoming more creative and diverse with my cooking skills, in between classes, was a very rewarding activity and mental break for myself. Lastly, I am very thankful that I had an amazing support group (family, friends, and the Chi Omega fraternity) to help push me to succeed, academically and personally, through this past virtual year at CofC.
Inspiration: Individuals who are genuinely happy with both their professional and personal lives inspire me to pursue a career in which I can achieve a similar happiness. I have found that most people that I have met, who are able to attain that personal and professional happiness, often find their career emotionally rewarding. These individuals motivate me to follow my passions because they are examples of why one’s career can be personally fulfilling and not just a “job”.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: If I could give underclassmen advice it would be that everything works out, “everything happens for a reason”. I know it sounds cliché but it is true. If you work hard and make meaningful relationships with not only your peers but also with your professors, trust me they want to help you succeed and grow, do not stress about the future – you will end up where you need to be. As said previously, I entered my freshman year undecided, I would have never imagined ending up where I am today, a Communication major with vast opportunities in front of me.
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Marketing
Dream Job: CEO of my own marketing company.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 215: Communication, Identity and Community with Dr. Merissa Ferrara.
Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Pandemic Activity: The thing that has been most helpful to me this past year has been creating a reasonable work schedule with breaks. Besides that exercise and figuring out what hobbies I actually enjoy.
Inspiration: What inspires me the most is wanting to live life with purpose. I think a lot about the fact that we all have a limited time on this earth. I want to use the time I’ve been blessed with to do something worthwhile and fun.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take all the classes you need and focus but don’t overburden yourself. Write out not just what you’ll do today but when you’ll do each thing. And include breaks!
Hometown: Norwood, NC
Major: Communication (Honors College)
Dream Job: Public Relations or Event Management at a university.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280/281: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Deb McGee! I loved that it was a sequence course that carried over, because all the students were able to make connections throughout the year together. Dr. Deb is an amazing professor, who not only made me appreciate the power of strong speaking and writing skills, but made the learning environment an absolute blast each day!
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: I was so grateful for track practice each day and the fact we were able to have a season to compete! Being able to have some semblance of routine during such a hectic time was refreshing. My friends and I also tried to take study and screen breaks by watching the sunset at the Battery!
Inspiration: I am inspired by people who are ambitious and strive to do their best in everything they do. I feed off of that positive energy and always look for individuals who push me to continue to learn more each day. I am inspired by the welcoming environment and amazing people that the College has allowed to enter my life!
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My biggest recommendation for underclassmen is to try to be an actively engaged student, both in and out of the classroom. To me, this means making a conscious effort to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode before class, asking questions when you’re confused, and making comments that add to the conversation. Additionally, it is just as important to create and maintain relationships with professors by introducing yourself on the first day of class, going to their office hours, and sending them the occasional email to show your appreciation.
Hometown: Vero Beach, FL
Dream Job: Owning a fitness studio-creative space hybrid.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280-281: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Kelly Jakes. Dr. Jakes is a wonderful professor, and I loved how much creative freedom we had throughout the class.
Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Indoor cycling. I love the community of friends I’ve met through CHS Revolution, and even got a chance to go through instructor training. Though the studio has since been closed, it gave me a meaningful network full of awesome women in Charleston.
Inspiration: Spending time outside and seeing my loved ones succeed.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: It took me a long time to discover which path was best for me. Take your time selecting a major: the more you explore, the more well-rounded you become and you’ll be able to find your strengths.
Hometown: Spartanburg, SC
Majors: Communication and Spanish
Dream Job: Social Media Manager and/or Entrepreneur
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 215: Communication, Identity, and Community with Dr. Merissa Ferrara.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Meditation and yoga helped me greatly during this virtual year because they allowed me to practice mindfulness and care when it came to my mental and physical health. Another activity that kept me relatively stress free was learning to read tarot, which has now become a regular practice for me.
Inspiration: My biggest inspiration in life are my family and friends. They offer the utmost support in everything I pursue, and I have learned so much from them throughout the years. They always see the best in me, so I continue to strive to reach my goals.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: One major advantage of the COMM major is its versatility. There are so many distinct fields that one can get into with this major, such as Journalism, Public Relations, or Communication Research. If you are unsure which path to take within COMM try taking different special topics of the courses required for the major to explore and find a specialization you really enjoy.
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Major: Communication | Minor: Music
Dream Job: Journalist covering current international events.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280/281: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus. This course series teaches how to communicate through speeches and different writing mediums effectively. With Dr. Westerfelhaus as my teacher, I learned so much about myself and advanced my public speaking skills.
Favorite Color: Baby Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Activities that helped me successfully get through this past virtual year at CofC, the first one is playing Animal Crossing. The second activity is mediation and yoga. The last activity is nightly FaceTime calls with my friends.
Inspiration: The art of storytelling, whether it’s in the form of books, film, TED Talks, or real-life experience, storytelling inspires me to tell my own stories and to continue to create and live. The other thing that inspires me is dreams. I mean the kind of dreams that are so big, people never stop growing and evolving trying to reach them. Seeing those types of dreams allows me always to aim high and to keep dreams alive.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: My advice for Underclassmen would be to study abroad for a spring break, semester, or any length of time while here at the college. My other advice is to talk to your Communication professors and classmates. Connections made inside the classroom are twice as valuable as the ones made on LinkedIn.
Hometown: Simpsonville, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Leadership for Sustainability
Dream Job: Social Media/Marketing Manager
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310: Message Design & Influence with Dr. Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann. It’s my favorite because I fell in love with the material being taught and loved that at the end of the course, we got to show off our work with an online portfolio.
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Pandemic Activity: An activity that helped me get through this past year was attending my internship. It provided me structure to find a work and school life balance and pushed me even harder to maintain my grades while performing well for my job and employers. Also, plenty of Starbucks study breaks.
Inspiration: Being a good leader to my peers. With learning leadership, I can learn a lot about myself and others and use that to grow as a person in the best way.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Talk to your professor. I understand it can be nerve-racking but I promise, they are there to help you and see you grow to your fullest potential. Also, take any opportunities that are given to you, you never know what you could learn from them or how impactful it could be for you!
Hometown: West Chester, PA
Major: Communication | Minor: Writing, Rhetoric, and Publication
Dream Job: Investigative Journalist
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 336: Addressing Problems in Context, which focused on environmental communication. Dr. Kathy DeHaan made the surplus of information engaging and interesting.
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Some activities I became more involved in this past virtual year include: rock climbing, reading, and sailing.
Inspiration: I am inspired every time I read an interesting article, specifically from National Geographic. These stories make me want to travel and research for myself. I am also inspired by my family, who has always pushed me to do my best.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take advantage of every opportunity. Use your “weak ties” and don’t be afraid to reach out to that person. Have a variety of interests, even if they aren’t mainstream.
Hometown: Phenix City, AL
Major: Communication | Minors: Sociology and International Studies
Dream Job: Working in a Visual Media position or at a Public Relations firm.
Favorite COMM Course: The year long COMM 280/281: Introduction to Communication Messages course I took with Dr. Kelly Jakes. Dr. Jakes’ amazing feedback combined with the constant writing and presenting helped me strengthen my Communication skills for every class I took after.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Pandemic Activity: One action that helped me excel in virtual learning was separating my work from school by only attending class and doing homework at my desk. For fun, I tried out a ton of new recipes for my roommates and I to enjoy. I also went on a ton of walks this past year as it helped me get out of the house and exercise.
Inspiration: I am inspired by improving. I always try to find where I can do better and listen to feedback from others. Focusing on what went wrong inspires me to correct any mistakes in the future and to be even better the next time.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Take courses outside of your major when you can, because you never know what it could lead you to. I never thought I would like Sociology, but after taking it for a general education requirement I liked it so much I added it as a minor. You may find a subject that fits perfectly with Communication and leads to your dream job.
Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Major: Communication | Minor: Marketing
Dream Job: CEO or President of a company in the logistics or Public Relations industries.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 215: Communication, Identity, and Community with Dr. Merissa Ferrara. Dr. Ferrara brought the most passion and love into a class I’ve ever experienced! Her care for her students and the importance of her material was something I will never forget.
Favorite Color: Black
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Being outside and really honing in on my health and fitness has helped me navigate this virtual year. Amazing friends, family, and strong relationships have kept me grounded, sane, and thankful as well!
Inspiration: Earning success by your own merit and dedication will take you far because hard work truly does pay off.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Work hard, but take time to experience life and have fun in this magical city!
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Major: Communication | Minor: Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dream Job: Running an organization company with my mom that helps individuals organize and declutter their spaces.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 280: Introduction to Communication Messages with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus.
Favorite Color: Sage Green
Favorite Pandemic Activity: I went on a lot of walks, sometimes alone, but often in the company of friends or family. I also listened to hundreds of hours’ worth of podcasts, some of which were educational shows, while the majority were comical.
Inspiration: My friends are some of the greatest sources of inspiration in my life. I have an amazing and eclectic circle of friends who all have unique passions. These women and men work hard and they care about the people around them, showing me what it means to be a good person, friend, leader, and hard worker.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Get to know your professors. They are there to help you and they want to see you succeed. Building relationships with your professors will not only help you succeed in your courses, but it will also open windows of opportunities for building connections that may help you during your four years at CofC and beyond.
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Major: Communication | Minor: Urban Studies
Dream Job: Real Estate Broker
Favorite COMM Course: I’ve had great experiences in all of my Communication courses so far, because every professor I’ve had has made the class interesting and engaging, but if I had to choose one I’d say COMM 216: Principles & Practices of Strategic Communication with Dr. Feifei Chen. I was taking this course during the Spring 2020 semester and I appreciated how patient and understanding Dr. Chen was while we transitioned to online learning. I also think the material in the course is important because I knew it’d be beneficial for me to learn about marketing, branding, strategy, organization, etc. for any career.
Favorite Color: Blue and Grey
Favorite Pandemic Activity: During this past year I struggled with staying focused during virtual classes so I eliminated as many distractions as I could. I stayed off my phone and sat at my desk to simulate an in-person class setting. To help relieve stress during the past year I started doing yoga which helped me decompress and also improved sleep.
Inspiration: I am inspired by the people around me. My family, friends, and peers have all contributed to a more positive mindset and my academic goals. I have become an ambitious and driven person/student over the past few years because of the actions of those around me and the advice I’ve been given.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Reach out to your professors and participate in class. Even with virtual classes it makes a huge difference to speak up and contribute to class conversations, especially in Communication courses. Talking with my professors and peers has helped me understand the material in my COMM courses and allowed me to build relationships.
Hometown: St. Stephen, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Marketing
Dream Job: Entrepreneur of multiple businesses.
Favorite COMM Course: COMM 310: Message Design and Influence with Dr. Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann.
Favorite Color: Turquoise
Favorite Pandemic Activity: Finding a place outside of my living space to study. Also taking many mental and physical breaks, like eating out or just going for a walk with friends.
Inspiration: Knowing that one day I will impact people around the world.
Advice to COMM Underclassmen: Actually take and apply information learned from the COMM classes and the advisory meeting sessions. Don’t just focus on passing the classes but gain something from it as well, it will be beneficial in the future.