We Are UNCW Telling our story, one Seahawk at a time.

Bethany Martin

May 3, 2018

Bethany Martin ’18 discovered a whole new world of opportunities through service learning at UNCW.

“I came here with no real knowledge of immigrants, refugees or teaching English,” said Martin, who plans to stay local and teach English as a second language after graduation. “Through exploring one opportunity, I found what I love. I am so thankful that UNCW has these open and meaningful connections with the community in Wilmington that provide students opportunities to try new things.”

Martin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an ESL focus and a Spanish minor, participated in service learning, which is community engagement that occurs as part of a credit-bearing academic course. One class she took, Psychological Foundations of Teaching, offered students volunteer opportunities related to poverty or education or an associated field. Martin chose to tutor kids from Burma, which she says allowed her to see much of her coursework in action and to understand her kids more deeply.

“Service learning is not only beneficial for the community but also allows students to step out of the classroom to learn from hands-on experiences,” Martin said. “Students can apply knowledge acquired in the university setting while serving in an outreach way. UNCW professors have all seemed very open and eager to the idea of creating more involvement like this for UNCW students.”

In addition to Martin’s academic service, she also worked with Go Passionately Serve (GPS), a Christian mission group on campus. While working with GPS, Martin tutored refugee children from Burma and helped feed the homeless. She also participated in mission trips to southeastern North Carolina, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Spain.

“What makes UNCW special to me is the opportunities that are here,” she said. “I found my passion by just volunteering one time.”

--Matt Stephenson ’20M