New Graduate Keeps Looking Up

Emily Keeler
Martin proudly holds her diploma at graduation.Martin proudly holds her diploma at graduation.

When new graduate Amanda Martin received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences she realized a dream: she became an alumna of The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. This dream was seven years in the making.


Martin graduated from high school in 2005 and enrolled at Ohio State. She was eager to learn pharmacy and to experience all Ohio State had to offer. Her dreams came crashing down when, two months after the quarter began, her older sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“My first quarter here was great,” said Martin. “Then in October my sister was rushed to the hospital with a tumor the size of a man’s fist.”

She became her sister’s main caregiver. An endless string of doctor visits across the state kept Martin and her sister constantly on the move. Life changed again when Martin and her partner, Frank, welcomed a son, Cameron. A second pregnancy soon followed for another son, Christian. However, this experience would be much different.

“I was in the middle of the quarter when I went into labor at 24 weeks and had to be hospitalized,” explained Martin. “After he was born, Christian got really sick and was in the hospital for over four months. We didn’t know if he was going to make it.”

The family came through and Christian eventually regained his health. Soon, a third son was welcomed. Connor was full-term, but Martin was confined to bed rest starting at 16 weeks. During this time Martin continued to provide for her sister as best she could and continued taking classes online.

Martin’s three boys: Connor, 3; Cameron, 6; and Christian, 5.Martin’s three boys: Connor, 3; Cameron, 6; and Christian, 5.

“I took my sister to appointments because I was the one she wanted to have with her. She’s my sister.”


In a life where so many responsibilities were vying for her attention, her grades began a steady decline.  The day after a major surgery for her sister, Martin faced a board that would decide her academic fate.

“That night I was with my sister as her tumor was removed, and the next morning I was meeting with the board,” said Martin. “I was dismissed from the college, and that is when I hit rock bottom. Being a pharmacy student at Ohio State was part of who I was. I felt like my identity was taken away.”

While many would give up, Martin is not one to let life get her down.

Said Martin, “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to regroup. I stepped back and visualized where I wanted to be, and that was back in pharmacy.”

The path back to pharmacy was not an overnight event. Martin first enrolled at Columbus State where she received top grades. She then transferred back to Ohio State where she earned her bachelor’s degree in December. What is her advice for anyone facing hard times?

“If there is a will, there is a way,” said Martin. “Positive thinking lifted me up. I knew what I wanted to do, and I found a path to get there. You just have to keep looking up.”

Martin continues to keep her head high. She hopes to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is a caring mother to Cameron, 6; Christian, 5; and Connor, 3.