Excellence Awards

Martin Scholars Faculty Win Award

The Martin Scholars Program team consists of four individuals who mentor undergraduate students from a wide variety of majors in projects related to international policymaking. Sean M. Quinlan, Associate Professor of History, serves as the Global Health Section Leader; Sarah M. Nelson, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages (French), serves as the Francophone World Section Leader; Sandra Reineke, Assistant Professor of Political Science, serves as the Bioethics and Biotechnology Section Leader; and Bill L. Smith serves as the Director of the Martin Institute and the Program in International Studies, the program founder, facilitator and section leader for the International Policy/Peacekeeping section. The program capitalizes on developing research and teaching interests of the participating faculty and attracts top students from across the disciplines.

The objective of the Martin Scholars Program is to develop potential policy options for what the award application calls real-world, complex problems. Faculty members with developing research and/or teaching interests that can be applied to the unifying theme, and who are known for their mentoring of undergraduate students, are engaged by the Martin Institute to become section leaders for a particular cohort of students. Becoming a section leader entails developing a new seminar course on the agreed upon field. The course is taught during the first six weeks of the fall semester, and is limited to selected student scholars.

After the seminar ends, students embark on research projects at the level expected of master’s students, with the specific subject approved by the faculty mentor. Each scholar has until the Martin Institute Advisory Board meeting in late April to hone their work, at which time they present the research publicly. Student scholars are encouraged to take advantage of other presenting or publishing opportunities as they see fit, and faculty are encouraged to pursue new teaching and research directions.

“Such transformational learning opportunities provide students with developed interdisciplinary skills central to facilitating their success as policy makers, scholars, development advisors, consultants, researchers, and managers aiming to solve complex global problems,” says Debbie Storrs, Associate Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Alumna Cari Anne Cranney writes, “As a Clothing and Textiles student . . . I looked into international and domestic labor standards and production issues that are only glanced at in merchandising and world-culture [sections of] the clothing and textile classes. As with any major, it is important to be aware about the international issues surrounding our fields of study or specialties, as we are living in a more and more internationalized world where collaboration is needed.”