Martin Scholars


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Program Overview

The purpose of the Martin Scholars program is to inspire and develop a future generation of leaders among today’s outstanding Communication majors at the College of Charleston. The program develops a select group of senior Communication majors through a combination of exposure to effective communication leaders who serve as mentors and teachers, networking opportunities with Communication alumni and the Department of Communication National Advisory Council members, and experiential learning.

Mentoring the next generation of leaders—by parents, teachers, coaches, employers and all who encourage and inspire us to do great things—is a critical force in shaping an enlightened society. The Martin Scholars will be taught, counseled, shaped and influenced by seasoned communication veterans. In turn they will further develop their own skills, insights and abilities to serve in this valued role as they launch their communication careers.

The Scholars will participate in a variety of activities, including:

  • Weekly Meetings: Martin Scholars meet one a week during the Fall and Spring semester. Speakers will include local members of the National Advisory Council and other leaders from the communications function as global, regional and local companies such as Boeing, Santee Cooper, Rawle Murdy, Blackbaud, Chernoff Newman, Lou Hammond Associates and other organizations.
  • Mentor program: All Martin Scholars will be paired with a mentor, such as a local communications executive or a member of the Department of Communication National Advisory Council, for the academic year.
  • Communication Department Spring Break Trip: Martin Scholars will participate in the Department of Communication annual spring break trip to New York and Washington. They will attend two special dinners, one in New York and one in Washington, with local CofC alumni and members of the National Advisory Council.
  • National Advisory Council dinners: Martin Scholars will be invited to attend special dinners each semester during the Council's visit to campus.
  • Martin Scholars Alumni Network: Graduates of the Martin Scholars program will be invited to meet at least once a year and will also be invited to attend some of the weekly meetings with current participants.
  • Participant Expectations: The Martin Scholars will be expected to participate actively in all sessions, including regular meetings; they will be required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA; they will be expected to communicate regularly with their mentors; they will be expected to participate in the Spring Break trip, including the special dinners arranged for them; they will be expected to serve as departmental ambassadors in meaningful ways throughout the year.


  • 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


Wanda and Tom Martin

History of the Program

The Martin Scholars Program was initiated in spring 2016 by Thomas and Wanda Martin. Read the full article about the creation of the program in The College Today. See below for excerpts:

Created to inspire future generations of leaders and mentors among outstanding communication majors and minors at the College of Charleston, the Martin Scholars Program provides invaluable networking opportunities for students to meet with leaders in the communication profession. In turn, the Martin Scholars and the outreach they do will build positive awareness of the Department of Communication and the College of Charleston.
Tom Martin, who first became involved with the College when he joined the Department of Communication Advisory Council in 2004, has served as the communication department’s executive-in-residence since 2007, when he retired from his post as senior vice president of corporate relations at ITT Corporation, a global engineering company. Now that he’s in the classroom, his top priorities are improving students’ writing skills and decision-making skills so that they are ready to navigate the real world strategically, ethically and credibly. He also encourages students to focus on giving back, and leads a spring break networking trip for students to Washington, D.C. and New York City.
And he and Wanda, who serves as a literacy tutor with the Reading Partners at James Simons Elementary, are leading by example. The Martins believe that one of the most important forces shaping a progressive society is the mentoring of future generations by parents, teachers, coaches, employers and others who encourage and inspire great things. By creating the Martin Scholars Program, they hope to inspire the future generation of mentors among today’s outstanding communication students at the College.

Introducing the 2020-2021 Martin Scholars

Martin Scholars, Class of 2020-2021

Congratulations to the 13 seniors selected as the 2020-2021 class of Martin Scholars: Jada Davis, Catherine Flanders, Avery Gavornik, Charlie Havens, Madison McGraw Heid, Megan Llewellyn, Marley Lucas, Alaysha Maple, Annie Perkins, Grace Peyton, Damian Porter, Celie Shankman, and Fern Wooden. Meet our newest Martin Scholars and learn what inspires each of them:

2020-2021 Martin Scholars Mentors

Josh Benser, Content and Brand Manager, Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Melissa Delaney
, Writer and Editor, Delaney Editorial
Michael Fanning, Director, Sustainable Development, Michelin (retired)
Mary Garrett, Global Marketer, Board Director
Peter LaMotte, Senior Vice President, Chernoff-Newman
Chris Piedmont, Senior Account Manager, FrazierHieby
Margaret Pilarski, Strategist, Outline Communication
Emily Randisi, Creative Account Manager, Obviouslee Marketing
Julia Race, Director of Strategy, Integral
Hayes Roth, Principal, H.A. Roth Consulting
Andy Snyder, Director of Business Development, Deskey
Tara Stewart, Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications, HCA Healthcare
Cat Taylor, Partner, Byrdhouse Public Relations
Jeff Webster, Director of PR and Social Media, Rawle Murdy
Carly Westerman, Director, Brunswick Group
Jon Yarian, Managing Partner, Outline Communication

Martin Scholars Alumni Spotlight

Spring 2018 Reception-Martin Scholars AlumniThe Martin Scholars Program hosted its first alumni reception at the end of the spring 2018 semester. At this event, Martin Scholars alumni gathered with the graduating Martin Scholars seniors as well as the incoming class of Martin Scholars. The program founded in 2016 has flourished, and it now boasts a total of 57 students who are Martin Scholars, including alumni and current seniors. Looking forward to many more Martin Scholars alumni receptions!