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Engineering Student Competing for Prestigious Scholarship

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two seniors and one recent graduate of the University of Kansas have been nominated to compete for prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, which provide for graduate study in Great Britain.

Christopher Winters Martin, a senior from Geneva, Ala., and Dodge City, Kan., is a disabled veteran and construction worker preparing for a career in environmental law and energy policy. His long-range goals include providing leadership in developing sustainable energy policies nationally and internationally. Martin is completing KU’s rigorous five-year architectural engineering program in four years.

With a Marshall scholarship, he would like to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable development at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. A National Merit Scholar when he graduated high school in Geneva, Ala., Martin studied chemical engineering at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for a year before joining the U.S. Marines. He served two and a half years as a company clerk before being honorably discharged for a medical disability.

Martin then worked four years in construction, framing houses or serving as a crew leader on larger projects before returning to college. Concerned about the environmental impact of the construction industry’s disposal of materials that could be recycled or restocked, Martin decided to seek a career that would provide opportunity to improve sustainability policies in the industry.

He enrolled in KU’s architectural engineering program and found his focus expanding to studying energy generation and transmission as well as energy economics and law. A year ago, he began working with Thomas Glavinich, director of KU’s architectural engineering and construction programs, to research alternative energy legislation and factors impeding the expansion of alternative energy in the United States.

That research led Martin to a summer internship with a member of the British Parliament, Ann McKechin of Glasgow, Scotland. His assignments included preparing reports on Scotland’s offshore wind industry and other clean energy policies in the United Kingdom. As chair of KU’s Student Environmental Advisory Board, Martin successfully introduced legislation in the Student Senate requiring LEED certification of new campus structures.

He is president of the student chapters of the Architectural Engineering Institute, the National Electrical Contractors Association and the Associated General Contractors Association and is treasurer for Emerging Green Builders, a student group at KU. He volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Café, a breakfast service for community residents in need. Martin has worked as a tutor and teacher in the math department. This fall, he is a teaching assistant for an architectural engineering honors research class. He is also designing a net zero lighting system for a community center in New Orleans through a partnership with a local engineering firm.

For the past two years, Martin has received scholarships from the Builders Association of Kansas City and the Heavy Constructors Association. He is a member of the University Honors Program and two national honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi, an interdisciplinary society, and Tau Beta Pi for engineering students. Martin is married to Lindsay (Gibbs) Martin, a spring 2007 KU graduate from Dodge City. He is the son of Scott and Diane Martin.

Another KU senior and a recent graduate have also been nominated to compete for prestigious scholarships.

Chantz Palmer Thomas, a senior majoring in microbiology and history from Lindsborg, is competing for both a Rhodes and a Marshall scholarship and Rachelle Briana Netzer, a spring 2010 graduate in political science from Lawrence, is competing for a Rhodes scholarship.

KU’s nominees for Marshall scholarships are competing in the Chicago region. Winners in the Chicago region will be selected following Nov. 9 and 10 interviews for finalists. Nominees selected for finalists interviews will travel to Chicago along with other competitors from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Winners have 12 days to accept or decline the offer.

Marshall scholarships were first offered in 1954 and may be used at any university in Britain.

KU students are nominated by faculty and staff. Final nominees are selected through the University Honors Program faculty and staff.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times