Savannah Martin has achieved a lot in her four years at Oklahoma State University, from receiving the Women for OSU scholarship her freshman year to being one of the 16 College of Arts and Sciences students named Seniors of Significance this year. Her passion for service and research has allowed her to experience all that OSU has to offer.
“One thing that I think is so cool about OSU is that there is always an avenue to pursue your passions,” Martin said.
For Martin, getting involved has meant pursuing executive positions in the organizations that she is most passionate about, including the CAS Student Council and Blue Key.
“I ran myself dry the first two years and then I really started to reinvest in things that I enjoy doing personally, so that I could maintain involvement in what I truly wanted to do. It does seem like a lot but because I enjoy all of it, it doesn't seem like a heavy load,” Martin said.
Her true passion is research. Martin was accepted into the CAS Freshman Research Scholars, where she worked outside of her microbiology major to study how the disease Tan-spot effects wheat crops. Yet after working with plants for a year, she decided to declare herself a pre-med major, because she missed the interactions with people.
“The Freshman Research Scholars is what helped me to decide where I wanted to go and showed me my passion for research,” Martin said.
The path has not been easy. She wears hearing aids and has to adapt to succeed. Yet, she does not let her hearing disability define her, nor has she let it hinder her.
“I think that while it is definitely a barrier and something that I overcome, it has taught me a lot in the way of patience, perseverance and adaptability,” Martin said.
The Duncan, Oklahoma, native threw herself into working with the Duncan school district in high school to help educators learn how to best teach students with hearing disabilities. That passion for helping people has extended into her plans after graduation. Once she graduates with her microbiology degree in May, Martin plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in rural medicine.
“I am really passionate about rural health care. It is an area that is incredibly underserved,” she said. “I don't know if that means I will be in primary care, because that is really needed. I mean, everything is needed in rural health care. So, I have a variety of options.”
Martin works in the lab of Tyrrell Conway, head of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. He describes her as a hard worker with an aptitude for biomedical research.
“Working in schools with students who have disabilities is only one of many activities that make Savannah special,” Conway said. “She also makes really good cinnamon rolls. Baking is her stress reliever when finals are over. Savannah learned skills such as lip reading to cope with her own hearing disability. Being hearing disabled myself, I respect her for not letting her hearing loss define her. Her undergraduate research training will make her first year of medical school go much easier.”
Martin credits so much of her success to the amazing mentors that she has had at OSU.
“OSU is a very, ‘If you want to get there, we will help you get there’ university,” Martin said. “All of my mentors and all of the faculty and staff here have been extremely encouraging and are just 100 percent there to back and be behind the students. I have had incredible mentors. That is one of my most cherished things about being here at OSU.”