Christopher Martin

Ankeny Centennial High School Student Impresses College Professors

Posted 4/3/2020

Christopher Martin named to DMACC Honors Program as a high school junior

“Christopher Martin is one of the most outstanding students I have encountered in my over 25 years of being a college professor.” 

That’s from DMACC Sociology Professor and DMACC Honors Program Director Dr. Laurie Linhart and a significant accomplishment considering Martin is still in high school, attending classes at Ankeny Centennial.

She calls Martin a unique DMACC Honors Program student. 

“I was so impressed with Christopher’s maturity, intelligence, accomplishments and potential that I encouraged him to apply,” Dr. Linhart said.

Dr. Linhart said Martin, who was enrolled in DMACC classes, contacted her during the summer before his junior year requesting a face-to-face meeting to discuss applying to the DMACC Honors Program. Since he was still in high school, his application had to be reviewed by the DMACC Honors Appeals Committee which quickly admitted him to the DMACC Honors Program.

Martin became the very first high school student in the six-year history of the program. He will graduate from Ankeny Centennial High School, DMACC and the DMACC Honors Program simultaneously in the spring 2020 semester. 

“I feel very honored to be DMACC’s first high-school student to concurrently study in the Honors Program,” Martin said. “I know that Dr. Linhart took a risk accepting me into the Program. I am very appreciative and fortunate that she gave me the opportunity to challenge myself and grow as a student.”

Martin said his age has also impacted his Honors experience.

“Now that I am 18, I can pass as a college student. However, when I first joined the program, some of my classmates could tell I looked younger than the typical student,” Martin said. “Usually about half-way through the semester, one of my classmates would lean over and ask me, ‘Just how old are you?’”

Martin said his DMACC professors have been supportive and challenging. He gave some examples.

“My Business Law I professor, Susan Mitchell, supervised a research paper I wrote, connected me with community leaders, and wrote a letter of recommendation for my college applications," Martin said. "My Introduction to Business professor, Harold Zarr, helped me establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, institute basic accounting practices, and write a mission statement for my organization. My Principles of Microeconomics professor, Jude Igbokwe, helped me study the economic feasibility of providing permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless persons. Finally, in my Introduction to Human Services class this semester, instructor Annie Wood-Long, was supervising research on homeless service-providers in Des Moines."

Dr. Linhart said Martin is a standout Honors program student. 

“His Honors project entails research into the economic impact of homelessness in the local community," she said. "This directly ties into the non-profit organization Christopher founded in 2018, Outreach of the Impoverished in the Des Moines Area, Inc."

He spent hours interviewing professionals in the field, homeless people and elected state and city officials. Based on these interviews and the literature he reviewed, Martin created a business plan with help from his DMACC economics professor, Dr. Linhart said.  

The website showcases his efforts. 

In addition, Martin plans to write a paper and present the information at an upcoming sociology conference and the end of the year Honors Program banquet.

Martin also presented on a panel at the Upper Midwest Regional Honors Conference in April of 2019, and traveled with other Honors Students to New Orleans with Dr. Linhart for the 2019 National Honors Academic Conference.

“It is rare for a high school student to be engaged at this level,” Dr. Linhart said. “I presented on the same panel and can testify to the excellent contribution Christopher made. He is a stellar student, both in the DMACC Honors Program as well as in the college classroom. He excels in everything he does. I have been a college professor for more than 25 years and Christopher is clearly one of the top students I have had the pleasure of working with. His passion for learning is infectious. Not only is Christopher an extraordinary student, he is also an extraordinary person of strong character. All of his accomplishments to date predict a brilliant future." 

Ankeny Centennial High School Principal Dr. Jen Lindaman echoed the laudatory comments about Martin.

“Christopher is not only a model student, but is a model human being,” Dr. Lindaman said. "He is most definitely dedicated and committed to his studies and is also determined to serve his community through serving others. Christopher is a student with whom anyone who has worked will remember and take great pride in as he continues his journey to learn, lead and serve others.”

Martin remains humble and appreciative of his experiences at DMACC.

“I am beyond grateful for the amazing education I have received at DMACC, filled with challenging coursework and amazing Honors professors who really care about me,” Martin said. “My Honors experiences have truly been the highlight of this past year.”  

Martin has been accepted at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago.

“Columbia University accepted me as a John Jay Scholar -- essentially, it's an Honors Program filled with the top 100 or so students of its entering class,” Martin said.  “I am leaning toward attending Columbia this fall, but I have until May 1 to think through all my options.”

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