Nestled in an office in Midland College’s (MC) Allison Fine Arts Building is a speech
instructor who is approaching the methods of teaching speech and communications in
a rather untraditional manner. Meredith Martin’s 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,” Martin admitted. “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,” Speech Department Chair Katherine
Allen said. “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,” student Dusty Ellis
said. “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 others who are interested in publishing research, Martin 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