travis-martinTravis L. Martin is a 2005 graduate of Mississippi Valley State University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology. In 2008, Travis graduated with a Masters in Education degree in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Also, in 2008, Travis came to the University of Georgia as a Residence Hall Director in University Housing.  In 2011, he became the Senior Coordinator of Greek Life working with the Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and coordinating the Greek Ambassadors Program in the Office of Greek Life within the Department of Student Life. He is currently a part-time student in the CSAA-D program. Travis is married to Sharon Martin, a Ph.D. student in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Georgia.

Where are you in the publishable paper or dissertation process?
I have received approval on my prospectus/proposal from my publishable paper advisory committee. I recently received approval from the University of Georgia Institutional Review Board’s Human Subjects Office to begin collecting data on my publishable paper research project. I have begun interviewing participants and collecting data and hope to defend the final project in the coming months.

Tell us about the study you are conducting or are planning to conduct.
I am currently looking at students who are members of historically Black fraternities and sororities to gain an understanding of how these students conceptualize their leadership development from being elected leaders in these organizations.

How did you decide on this topic?
There is lots of negative media attention given to fraternities and sororities (some rightfully so) and concerns about how these organizations affect the college environment on college campuses. There is little attention given to the positive contributions that these organizations bring to college campuses. Research that has been done on fraternities and sororities often do not include or account for the experiences of students who join historically Black fraternities and sororities.  Therefore, there is not a much empirical information on how these organizations contribute to the learning environment on college campuses.

What have you enjoyed about the process?
I have enjoyed learning qualitative research methods. Upon entering the program, I viewed research as a linear and rigid process but have learned that research can be done in various methods under various methodologies. I have also enjoyed the very supportive faculty who allow us to explore our interests through the creation of our personal research agenda outside of their established ones.

How have you grown as a scholar-practitioner through your work on this study?
Given that I work with the student population that I’m studying, it has allowed me to take a more calculated approach to working with students. My study has given me the opportunity to explore literature and theories that I wouldn’t have otherwise to inform my practice.

Give one piece of advice for someone who is going through this process, or about to start this journey.
My advice to anyone beginning the doctoral process is to follow your passions and to understand that the entire journey of pursuing a PhD is for you to find YOUR voice and to clearly define your philosophy of education. Pursuing doctoral education means that you are becoming the creator of knowledge as well as a consumer. Therefore, there is a certain level of self-authorship required to be successful as a doctoral student. Be serious but also enjoy your journey as you will learn more about who you are personally and professionally throughout the process.

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