• July 19, 2019

GOOD NEWS: Speech teacher’s publication solicited by academic journal - Odessa American: Good News

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GOOD NEWS: Speech teacher’s publication solicited by academic journal

Paper analyzes communication strategy in Star Trek: Insurrection

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 3:00 am

MIDLAND Nestled in an office in Midland College’s Allison Fine Arts Building is a speech instructor who is approaching the methods of teaching speech and communications in a rather untraditional manner. Her work and body of research are now being publicized in conference and national academic journals.

“I am a Trekkie, I love science fiction and fantasy,” said Meredith Martin, instructor at MC. “I have always wanted to write a paper on the character Data from Star Trek, and after taking a film studies class as part of my doctoral coursework, I finally decided to do it. I did not think I was onto anything, but I submitted the paper to a conference for fun. To my surprise, it was accepted. I presented the paper, and then the editor for The Journal for Strategic Innovation and Sustainability sent me an email saying they were reviewing top papers, and they would like me to submit mine to their journal. My work has been published in many conference publications but not ever in a journal. I never thought I was going to be a researcher, but I fell in love with research when I was earning my master’s degree.”

It is very rare for publishers of journals to actually approach a writer asking for an article. Most writers and researchers submit unsolicited articles to journals in hopes that they will be accepted.

The Journal for Strategic Innovation and Sustainability is a multi-disciplinary publication that addresses the many challenges of managing innovation and sustainability. Martin’s article entitled “Data’s Voice: A Posthumanist Conversation” analyzes artificial intelligence communication strategies in the movie Star Trek: Insurrection.

“Meredith is a remarkable and indefatigable researcher,” said Katherine Allen, chair of the Speech Department. “I would love to have everyone know how smart, tenacious and passionate she is about her discipline.”

Martin teaches public speaking, interpersonal communication and business and professional communication at MC. She started as an adjunct in 2013 and became full-time in 2014. Her students say she is very supportive.

“She makes herself available and always pushes you to improve,” said student Dusty Ellis. “In just one semester, my speech skills improved enormously. A couple of weeks after taking her class I was at a student conference, and I was able to get up in front of 500 people to participate in an impromptu activity on stage. I had not been able to do that before. That experience is when I first realized that Ms. Martin’s speech class was really changing me.”

“I love working with students and watching them grow and face their biggest fear — speaking in front of an audience,” Martin said. “Most people are terrified of giving speeches. It is one of the hardest things to do. I have watched many of my students come in at the beginning of the semester scared to death, but by the end I enjoy seeing them develop the coping skills to survive and thrive.”

In addition to teaching Martin is a student herself. She will receive her doctorate in the history and theory of rhetoric from Texas Women’s University in 2021. To balance it all she follows a strict schedule.

“When I am at work the first thing I take care of are my students. grading and emails,” Martin said. “When I am done with that, I shift over to my homework. I am lucky that I am good at concentrating on things for long periods of time, so I block out five to eight hours to write a paper when I know one is due. I know my process, and I have integrated it into my schedule. Outside of it all, I make sure I take plenty of time to rest because if not, it’s easy to get stressed.”

For those interested in following Martin’s footsteps, she says the first step is having the determination to follow through.

“It is going to be challenging, but do not quit,” Martin said. “You are going to get pushed and pulled in directions you never imagined — emotionally and intellectually. You are going to be forced to confront ideologies that are the complete opposite of what you believe, but having the courage to engage with them and understand them can open up a whole new world. Trust the process because if your instincts tell you that you are on to something, the truth is that you probably are. You have to be brave enough to put it out there. There are so many ideas untouched and unexplored, and there is always something to find; that is the beauty of rhetorical analysis.”

Martin’s dream job is to be a writer and motivational speaker who travels the world lecturing on her books.

“I am an idealist; I want to change the world, and I am thankful to be doing some of that with my students at MC,” Martin said. “I want to take everything my students know about communication and language, and instead of looking at it as a way to divide people, I want to teach them to find a way to bring harmony back so we can all work together. There is no skill that is more marketable than communicating in this effective way.”

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