Some college kids go to Cancun. Kevin Martin went to Rwanda.
Genocide. Bosnia. Rwanda. Kevin Martin pursued some heavy subject matter — and far-flung classrooms — during his time at The University of Texas at Austin.
Through a competitive international program, the history, government and humanities honors student conducted research on the role of leadership in genocide while living among — and advocating on behalf of — people who had lived through the atrocities he was studying.
“My experiences in Bosnia and Rwanda have fundamentally transformed my outlook on life, my belief systems, the way I treat others and maintain relationships, the way I engage in work,” says Martin, who graduated in 2011.
They also made a real impact on his academic success, reflecting a trend among students at The University of Texas at Austin. According to a 2010 survey, undergraduates who conduct research in the field tend to thrive in the classroom.
That was evident in Martin’s thesis, which his adviser, Sociology Professor Sheldon Ekland-Olson, described as “the single best” he’s ever received.
“When I think back over the first semesters when Kevin and I had contact and this work he has now produced,” Ekland-Olson says, “I can only marvel at the skills and well-grounded perspective he has developed.”