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Martin Tomlinson

High School: 
Non-Traditional - 
Heilig-Geist-Gymnasium Würselen, Germany
The Oxbow School, Napa, CA 
IES Virrey Morcillo, Villarrobledo, Spain 
Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS  
Conserve School, Land O’Lakes, WI 
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO

Intended Major: Peace & Conflict Studies, Religion 

Possible Career: Human Rights Attorney

Words: Empathetic, Aware, Warm 

What impact do you want to have on the world?

I plan a career advocating for oppressed communities. I am very interested in the intersection between religion, politics and sexuality and how they impact violence and war. I hope to use this focus to research migration studies and the many causes of displacement. I am very moved by this issue; I want to raise awareness and help find global solutions.

Name a person you admire.

I admire Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. He is one of the most dedicated, impassioned and hard-working people I have ever met. He has argued many groundbreaking cases. I saw him speak twice at ACLU events. Following both events, he spent time talking with youth afterwards. He clearly wanted to shepherd the next generation of activists. Once, he gave me his card and told me to visit his office if I ever came to New York. Six months later, I e-mailed him and said I would be in New York for a seminar. I couldn’t believe it; he was in the middle of a big case, but he welcomed me to his office and took time out of his busy day to teach me about his work. His selfless dedication to making the world a more just place inspired me deeply.

What is something you are proud of in your life so far?

I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to contribute more than 1,000 service hours locally, nationally and abroad over the past 4 years. One experience that I loved was helping to transform an abandoned lot into a park for an underserved Kansas City neighborhood. Every time I pass that park, it serves as a visual reminder of the small impact I had on that community. I hope to make many more lasting contributions in my lifetime.

What was the most transformative class you have taken and/or what subjects do you want to explore deeply?

The most transformative class I have taken was a Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth Summer Program in 7th grade. I was presented with the opportunity to take my first college-level class. I chose to enroll in “Philosophy of the Mind,” and that decision has impacted my life’s trajectory immensely. The course forced me to think in new ways and presented me with subject matter that I was passionate about. That academic experience created a desire for growth and personal development that I will maintain and foster for the rest of my life.