These four students represent the best of what EKU has to offer. They’re First-Year Leaders—embedded in our first-year seminars to mentor freshmen, organize campus events, and help new students feel like welcome members of the campus community. Aric, Curtis, Jade, and Meredith were each assigned to one of my classes this semester. They met weekly with our students, helped them set goals, gave them advice about campus resources, and they grew as leaders. It was a privilege to play a role in their co-curricular development and inspiring to watch them pay forward the help that was given to them during their first semesters. Dinner was on me this past Friday to thank them for a job well done.
Travis L. Martin, PhD, is founding director of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He has established several nationally recognized programs to support returning veterans in higher education and the non-profit sector. A scholar of American literature, psychoanalytic trauma theory, and social theory, Dr. Martin presents frequently at conferences and universities. He has published dozens of research articles and creative short works on veterans’ issues. A former sergeant in the U.S. Army, he served during two deployments in the Iraq War (2003-04 & 2005). His book War and Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation is slated for publication with the University Press of Kentucky in 2022. He resides in Richmond, KY.