Paving the Way: Martin Journal Helps Undergraduates Build Solid Foundation
As an undergraduate, Kim Castelin focused on developing high-level research skills through her work with the Martin School of International Studies and the Martin Scholar Program. In essence, it gave her the building blocks she needed to become a top-flight researcher.
Now, as a University of Idaho graduate student, those building blocks have led to her undergraduate work being published in the inaugural edition of the Journal of the Martin School of International Studies.
“It definitely taught me to keep focused, stay on task and be concise,” says Castelin, who is working toward a master’s degree in agricultural economics. “These are all skills that I can transfer into my graduate work and make my research more accessible to a greater audience.”
The journal, published December 2009, came about when members of the school were looking at different honor societies and their benefits to see if they wanted to become an affiliate.
“The only aspect about the honor societies that we didn’t have was a journal,” says Bill L. Smith, director of the Martin School, adding the cost to join an honor society was roughly equal to printing a journal. “Fortunately the student work here is high enough we can support our own journal; our students produce excellent work.”
He adds the journal also helps students and the University to highlight undergraduate achievements and prepares students for higher levels of academia.
“It gave me more confidence to pursue publishing my other undergraduate papers,” says Castelin. “I’m also more confident in my critical thinking, as well as my organizational skills to write a proposal and paper. They’re skills that not every student possesses as they first enter graduate school.”
The journal accepts blind submissions from a selection of the Martin School senior capstone class and the Martin Scholar program, which were boiled down to four policy papers from the capstone class and two Martin Scholar papers for the first journal edition.
“It’s a showcase for the highest quality papers,” says co-editor Chad Mann. “It’s the culmination of your collegiate career.”
Mann and Alexis Olson were juniors when they became editors. They are now beginning their own capstone class papers. While the journal took a lot of work to build from scratch, they said the experience has been eye opening by learning new skills and seeing the work involved in writing the papers themselves.
“Writing papers like these aren’t something we have a lot experience in, so it was good to take a look at and decide which were the best,” says Olson. “If people really want to know what good papers involve, they should check out the journal online.”
Topics in the journal include “Population Growth and Islam: Family Planning in the Middle East and North Africa,” “The Legal Status of the U.S. Base in Guantanamo Bay,” and “Africa’s Language Situation: A Space for New Ethic Constructs.”
About the Martin School:
The Martin School of International Studies administers an undergraduate major and minor in International Studies at The University of Idaho. This interdisciplinary program is designed to prepare students for success in the evolving international community.
An international studies degree will provide the global perspective and competitive edge in careers that will help students meet the challenges of tomorrow.