Senior Spotlight: “California Girl” Danyelle Martin

By Andrea Clarke
Elm Staff Writer

Danyelle Martin is not your stereotypical California girl. Born and raised in Morongo Valley near L.A., Danyelle is the first in her family to graduate from college. Her mother works on a military base as a child caretaker and her father is an auto-mechanic. Both were hesitant at the idea of their only child going to school on the east coast, but Martin had no doubt in her mind.

“I definitely think I belong on the east coast. I love the four seasons. The leaves change colors here, there’s flowers, and there’s grass,” said Martin. Of the four seasons her favorite is spring “because it rains and back home rain means life.”

She is an international studies major with a special interest in Asia. She studied abroad in Tokyo during the spring of her sophomore year, “[which] is the best time to visit because it’s cherry blossom season,” said Martin. While abroad she took classes in Sumi-e (ink painting), tea ceremony, and Kabuki (traditional Japanese theatre).

Her senior thesis explores cyber warfare on an international level and how it threatens conceptions of state power as a new dimension of war. When asked about the laborious thesis process, Martin replied, “sometimes I hated it but I loved my topic. I’m definitely proud of myself. When I printed [all 56 pages] out for the first time it was very exciting…I got it done early so I could enjoy my last bits of college life.”
Martin discovered her passion for international studies during her sophomore year of high school.

“My teacher had us do UN role playing and presented us with a pandemic crisis that we had to solve on an international level,” said Martin. At WC, Martin found that “all the professors here are pretty awesome for different reasons [but] Professor Wade challenged me the most.”

Martin has earned acceptance into the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa, and Pi Sigma Alpha. She is also a course mentor in Computer Science and a Zone 1 Resident Area Director. As an RA, she has experienced many interesting moments at WAC, one of which included a drunken couple on Halloween trying to plant a dead twig in the ground.

During first semester freshman year, Martin worked at Kent County Middle School as an aid to the guidance counselor there.

“My mom was a teacher so it was a field I felt very comfortable in–I knew how to help teachers, so I thought it’d be a good fit,” said Martin. She also landed a paid summer internship in Maryland with the National Security Scholarship Program. The internship is advertised every fall and she highly encourages students to look into it. It is hosted through Independent Maryland Colleges and she was awarded a $15,000 scholarship as a result.

The program has also helped in figuring out her post-graduation plans. The Department of Defense has offered her a job but “that’s all I can say,” said Martin. No words are needed, though, to understand the clear excitement and anticipation she feels towards her future position.

WC has also given Martin fellow senior Kenny Higgins, “the love of my life.” They met at the Kelly Bell Band concert at freshman orientation and have been dating ever since. “He’s my best friend,” said Martin, and together enjoy movie nights, hiking, and canoeing. “He likes building things and I like painting things so make something random and I’ll paint it.”

While life after college seems very promising and exciting for Martin, she is still sad to be leaving. “I have mixed feelings. I mean, I think it’s definitely time to go into the real world. It’s just, there’s a community here you’re not going to find [out there],” said Martin.

Despite its small size, Washington College “broadened my horizons. I’ve learned a lot here, about myself, about people.” Her guidance counselor in high school thought her goals and future plans were “unrealistic and that in a year I’d be back in California because I couldn’t handle it. A lot of people thought I wouldn’t be able to make it.”

A few weeks ago, Martin sent out graduation invitations to friends and family back in California. She made sure her guidance counselor got one, too.

May 6, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 25

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