(Banner photo: Cassie Byrne, Shantel Chapple, Sandra Reineke, Lynn McAlister and Meredith Payton.)
Contact & Location
Program in International Studies
Admin. Bldg. #338
PHONE: (208) 885-6527
FAX: (208) 885-9464
Program in International Studies
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3177
Moscow, ID 83844-3177
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Martin Scholars Explore Genes and Justice
Each year a handful of students from a variety of disciplines are chosen to come together and form an elite research group. The focus of the research is different from year to year, as well as the faculty member leading the group. This is hardly unusual in the College of Graduate Studies where many students already have a string of degrees. However, what makes this group of researchers unusual is that these University of Idaho students are all undergraduates without a single letter of alphabet soup after their names. They are the Martin Scholars.
Overseen by the Martin Institute and Program in International Studies, Martin Scholars Lynn McAlister, Cassie Byrne, Shantel Chapple, and Meredith Payton are working with political science professor Sandra Reineke as they research “Genes and Justice: Biotechnology and Biomedical Policy Formation in a Global Perspective.”
Director of the Martin Institute, Bill Smith explains how the topic and faculty mentor are chosen each year.
“We look for someone used to working in interdisciplinary and international topics . . . and obviously Sandra is well regarded for the way she works with and mentors students.” Smith said Reineke was a perfect choice to lead the ‘scholars.’ Once she was onboard, the two of them decided upon a topic.
Reineke, whose area of expertise is political philosophy, political policy and gender, spent the first six weeks of the year-long program presenting coursework in a classroom setting. She then has spent the remainder of the year individually mentoring the students as they develop and write their research papers which are presented to the Martin Institute Advisory Board in April.
Shantel Chapple, a senior majoring in psychology and sociology, says being a ‘scholar’ is good preparation for graduate school. “It’s nice to be in a class where everyone is at an equal level and brings different ideas to the table.”
Pre-med and sociology major, Lynn McAlister, agrees. “It’s like a grad seminar. There’s more expectations and responsibility.”
Chapple is researching how reproductive technology is promoted in different ways around the world, while McAlister is focusing on the social implications of biological testing.
Fellow scholars and double majors in International Studies and Foreign Languages, Cassie Byrne and Meredith Payton add that although they approach the main topic differently and conduct individual research, the foursome share information and insights regularly.
“We find connections and crossovers every day,” says Payton.
As the 2009-2010 year winds down and the Martin scholars prepare to make their final presentations, Bill Smith is preparing for next year. “Next year’s topic is ‘The Informal Economy’ which will focus on the barter and trade economies throughout the world.” He also announced that the faculty mentor will be sociology professor Leontina Hormel.
Scholars are chosen through an application and interview process.
For inquiries about the program contact:
Dr. Bill L. Smith of the Martin Institute (Admin 338, firstname.lastname@example.org, 885-2815).