Trinity University

06/13/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/13/2024 18:00

Trinity Student Snags “Unbelievable” Harvard Opportunity

One of the most essential things Blaine Martin '25 has learned at Trinity is to believe in himself and his abilities to effect positive change.

At first, he couldn't believe he was selected to be a student at Trinity. "I always viewed a place like Trinity as being out of my reach. I remember thinking, 'If I even get into this school, it would be a miracle,'" says Martin, a double major in Political Scienceand International Studiesand a Spanishminor from Midland, TX.

Now, Martin is capping off an unbelievable run of high-powered internships and experiences over the past couple of years that have led him across Washington, D.C., and Europe and finally to a prestigious six-week public policy program at Harvard this summer.

Martin is one of the fifteen fellows in the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Kennedy School's branch of the Public Policy & International Affairs Program (PPIA). At the six PPIA partner institutions, the 149 fellows, selected from thousands of applicants worldwide, will receive six weeks of free, rigorous summer programming that prepares participants for advanced graduate schooling and careers in public service and leadership in both domestic and global affairs.

The PPIA program is just the latest in a line of high-impact, hands-on learning opportunities Martin has experienced at Trinity.

As part of a two-internship stint in D.C., Blaine Martin '25 got to work closely with figures such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, while experiencing the heart of policy making and advocacy in the nation's capital.

In the Summer of 2023, Martin was selected for the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2023 Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG), working within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, researching ways to center climate-positive decision-making in infrastructure projects. That fall, Blaine shifted to an internship with the Secretary of Commerce's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs for the semester through the White House Liaison Internship Program he completed while in the Abroad at A.U. program at American University. Within this internship, Martin researched a variety of topics ranging from creating a framework for Space Commerce, building the domestic semiconductor industry through the CHIPS and Sciences Act, and economic stimulus programs in Tribal Nations and other under-recognized communities.

The following spring, Martin whisked off to a study abroad opportunity in Freiburg, Germany, with the IES European Union Policy Program. There, as a Student Ambassador for his cohort, he learned the intricacies of the complex political system that comprises the European Union, focusing on human rights in the context of International Law. If this wasn't enough, he completed his first marathon in Freiburg after training and vlogging his experience throughout the semester. Now, heading off to Harvard, Martin is bringing a wealth of experiences that many other undergraduates might not have.

"At Trinity, I've been excited to have experiences that allow me to make an impact," Martin says. "Not just reading about it or thinking of ways to change things in a theoretical sense, but being able to make those changes."

As part of the IES European Union Policy Program, Blaine Martin '25 learned the political intricacies of the European Union.

Martin says he came to Trinity with a strong idea of what he stands for. "I've always been very interested in politics and passionate about social justice- advocating for people."

And at Trinity, Martin found a strong group of supporters who stood up for him-his impassioned political science faculty, and other University staffers.

"Dr. [Katsuo] Nishikawa, Dr. [Rosa] Aloisi, Dr. [Juan] Sepulveda, LadyStacie Rimes-Boyd J.D., Gina Pham, (the list goes on, rather extensively), they've all been amazing in supporting my journey," Martin says. "I would not be where I am without all the letters of recommendation, words of advice, and the connections they're constantly making. I know that if I hadn't gone to Trinity and met all these amazing people, I would not have had any of the opportunities I currently have. My professors and mentors made me realize that I could do all the seemingly impossible things and achieve my ultimate goals. No matter the dream I proposed, they always helped me get there. They always believed and invested in me. This success story I am telling today is only possible because of them."

Following Oprah's advice on finding the 'next right move,' for one's life, Martin recalls simply "going up to each of these people, saying, 'I want to have some enriching and effective experiences. Can you help me get there?'" Martin stated, "I knew that finding the next right move for my life would stem from asking, jumping in, and seeing where each intentional decision led me."

And these faculty responded. Martin started with opportunities like interning with the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio and joining the Alvarez Scholarship programafter his freshman year before heading off on this recent stint spanning two semesters, two continents, and three major political science programs.

It's actually hard for Martin to recount everything he's done outside the classroom at Trinity. "I'm realizing I've lived an entire lifetime since I've come to campus. I haven't even had time to make a LinkedIn post about any of this yet."

That's life as a Trinity student, where the University's unique blend of big-school opportunities and small-school faculty focus enhances the liberal arts' well-rounded curricular approach and opens doors to hands-on learning outside of the classroom.

In fact, Martin spends a lot of his time thinking about how to apply his real-world experience to the classroom - not the other way around. But Martin says his internships and journeys abroad have also left him with a deeper appreciation for his studies.

"The work you do within the classroom is very theory-focused, such as trying to find the best practices for policy making," Martin says. "But then, through all my experiences, given how fast the world changes, I realized that many people in these policy circles need others with the most recent theoretical analyses surrounding a problem. Simply offering another angle to view a problem can provide many potential new solutions. Having the theoretical background from Trinity and the courage to speak up when needed, even as an intern, helped to show me that although I was the youngest and least professionally experienced person in the room, they still valued my voice and input. It was life-changing. Never underestimate your potential impact"

Blaine Martin '25 is coming off a two-semester run of incredible hands-on experiences in the policymaking world.

When Martin finally returns to campus in Fall 2024, he will have plenty to say.

As a newly elected senator for Trinity SGA, he has many initiatives planned, but he wants to focus on pushing for adding more Indigenous voices and other traditionally under-recognized voices to the library's collection and exploring the possibility of a sustainability initiative that prompts more eco-centric design in future University projects. (Martin has a deep love for bees and butterflies, for example, and wants to see more pollinator-friendly plants around campus.)

"I'm never silent, especially when it matters," Martin says. "I'm known for talking…a lot. Whenever I speak up, I think my main goal is to impact those around me positively. To make a small ripple in one space will always lead to monumental waves in another. Simply put, be that ripple of hope for the world. It is important to speak up when we see injustice because unless someone actually stands up and tries to change inequitable systems and institutions, they never will."

And when Martin graduates next spring, he's already set his sights on his next unbelievable stop: Harvard.

"Before I got into Trinity, I said. 'I'll never get into school there, yet here I am, four years later." Martin says. "So this spring, I'm looking at Harvard and saying, 'Oh, it'd be a miracle to get in there. Now, I have my plane ticket booked for this summer program, and that's a big step towards making it to law school or graduate school there one day.

"Exchanging one maroon shirt for another," Martin adds, "that would be a dream come true."

Jeremiah Gerlach is the brand journalist for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.