Laura Martin builds authentic relationships with community partners and EPIC-Network colleagues
Laura Martin, PhD
McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement
University of Mississippi
What is your favorite place in your local community?
The Whirlpool Trail here in Oxford
How did you first learn about EPIC-N?
A former University of Mississippi Chancellor brought the EPIC Model to campus, and I was invited to serve on a steering committee to determine how best to tailor the model to the unique dynamics of our campus and potential partner communities. Now I proudly serve as the the Director of M Partner.
What was your first interaction with a school-community partnership project?
My first exposure to community-campus partnerships was in Bilwi, Nicaragua. I participated on a service-learning trip during college, and it opened my eyes to a career path that I didn’t know existed. I loved working for international NGOs and, later, on statewide public policy issues, but ultimately found my way to place-based engagement in higher education.
What are some of the top priorities you are working on this year?
I am focused on building authentic relationships within the constraints of the pandemic. I am also looking to create sustainable collaborations that outlive the current phase of M Partner.
In what ways are you looking to engage, or work with others, either from within the EPIC-Network, or in general?
I have loved connecting with colleagues doing parallel work, particularly in rural communities and at public research universities. The EPIC-Network has some of the most generous scholars and practitioners that I have ever met, and I am always grateful to exchange ideas about building reciprocal partnerships, student development, co-curricular engagement models, and assessment.
Dr. Laura Martin brings nearly 15 years of experience working on poverty alleviation programs at the grassroots and public policy levels. After college, she facilitated service learning trips and managed a community development project in rural Nicaragua. Most recently, Laura worked as a Policy and Research Coordinator at the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, where she analyzed legislation and regulations impacting health centers, and coordinated trainings for a federal grant to conduct CHIP and Medicaid outreach and enrollment in the Rio Grande Valley. As Legislative Director for Texas State Representative Armando Walle, Dr. Martin developed legislation regarding juvenile justice and stemming the high school dropout rate.