Marcus at the Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls.

Marcus’ Bio

  • Major: Economics and Political Science
  • Hometown: Brockport, New York

Marcus Catlin wasn’t exactly sure what he was signing up for, only that it sounded intriguing. As it turns out, UB’s undergraduate academies are the perfect complement to his double major.

The Undergraduate Academies are living and learning communities that bring together university students, faculty and staff to focus on three broad issues: civic engagement, global perspectives and research exploration. Marcus discovered the civic engagement academy while going through the admissions process and applied for a spot in a freshman seminar.

“The academy seminars are set in a small group, so you’re with professors one on one. That’s helped me gain a better relationship with them than I would in a class with hundreds of people in it.”

“I saw that they offered something in civic engagement, and I thought that would be something that would be good to get involved in, so I filled out the application,” Marcus said. “I didn’t think anything of it. But then I came here, and it ended up being something that’s really great.”

Marcus and friends after the annual UB Dodge Bulls game.

Marcus and friends after the annual UB Dodge Bulls game.

“The nice thing about the academies is that you really have no obligation to do anything, unless you're in one of the seminars. It’s just something that’s there for you to enrich your experiences and meet new people, including faculty.”

Since completing a pair of seminars as a freshman, Marcus has stayed involved in the program, going on field trips and attending lectures. He’s also part of the residential component of the academies, serving as an academic assistant on a residence hall floor reserved exclusively for academy students.

Marcus and friends at Oozefest.

Playing at the Oozefest, UB’s annual mud volleyball tournament.

“Being a member of the civic engagement academy has been great because of the sense of community that came with it,” Marcus said. “Getting involved in the academies has allowed me to become closer with faculty and made UB seem like a much smaller place.”

Voted Student Council president in high school, Marcus has turned up the activity at UB. In addition to his two majors and his work with the academies, he is a member of the Honors College; volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters; joined the True Blue organization, supporting UB athletics; and was elected a SUNY delegate by the student body, representing UB’s student government at the state level.

Marcus considered attending an Ivy League school and was on the waitlist at Columbia and University of Chicago. But the combination of UB’s low cost, vast resources and outstanding academic reputation made him feel more than comfortable with his choice.

“I was always under the impression that it’s not necessarily where you go; it’s what you do while you’re there,” Marcus said. “I thought UB had the resources to help me succeed. There are a lot of really good professors at UB and there are a lot of really smart people doing really great things in research. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of those resources and those faculty members.”

Last updated: November 10, 2014 4:59 pm EST