Outstanding Grad: Ryan Martin, College of Health and Human Sciences

Ryan Martin giving a speech at the 2019 HESFest on May 6th (Photo: Sarah Ross)
Ryan Martin giving a speech at the 2019 HESFest on May 6 (Photo: Sarah Ross)

Ryan Martin may not have taken a traditional road to CSU, but he sure made the most of his time here.

Born in Chicago and raised in Littleton, Martin did not immediately enroll in school like most high school graduates. Instead, he enlisted into the army, serving as a Combat Medical Specialist.

Military life

Martin served as the clinical supervisor for his battalion and as a trauma medicine lead instructor while stationed in the U.S.  Martin led a team of five other medics to provide health services for hundreds of soldiers, including primary care appointments, vaccination drives, and combat lifesaver and causality care classes for non-medical military personnel.  Over the course of his four-year enlistment, Ryan earned a Certificate of Achievement for his clinical work and teaching.

In addition to his work in the U.S., Ryan was also deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 where he was the sole medic for approximately 50 U.S. soldiers, 100 Afghan soldiers, and 12 Afghan interpreters. His team successfully accomplished over 150 missions in Western Afghanistan.  He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal for his work during this time.

Transitioning from the military to CSU

Transitioning from the military lifestyle to civilian life and a rigorous education presented challenges for Martin. However, it was that military transition that led him to CSU for his education.

Ryan Martin, CSU Graduate, stands with his girlfriend Lisa Hirt, also a CSU graduate (Photo from: Ryan Martin)
Ryan Martin, CSU Graduate, stands with his girlfriend Lisa Hirt, also a CSU graduate (Photo from: Ryan Martin)

“Reintegration from military life was challenging, but I was ultimately able to use the lessons of responsibility and leadership from the Army and apply them toward my education,” Martin said. “After my enlistment in the Army, I was drawn to CSU for the incredible network of veteran students and how well the University strives to promote the diversity that adult learners and veterans bring to the campus. I also have many family members who have attended CSU, so it was a natural choice.”

The discipline and lessons he learned in the military helped him graduate with a 3.97 GPA, allowing him to graduate Magna Cum Laude last Friday in the College of Health and Human Sciences Undergraduate commencement. Martin’s scholastic and extracurricular achievements have been recognized by his receipt of the Delano F. Scott Scholarship as well as the Linger Scholarship.

Becoming a part of campus life

During his time at CSU, Martin dove in and has been an active member of the CSU and credits the Adult Learner and Veteran Services office for their help in making his transition into his new community as smooth as possible.

“The Adult Learner and Veteran Services office was very helpful in creating an inclusive environment for people who do not easily fit in with their younger classmates,” Martin said. “They are always holding social events and helping students make their time at CSU as successful as possible. I was fortunate enough to help unfold the flag with other veterans and service members for the first game played in the new stadium, which allowed me to create a lasting memory and make connections with some amazing people.“

Ryan Martin (Photo: Ryan Martin)
Ryan Martin (Photo from: Wendy DeYoung)

Martin has also been active with various on-campus organizations and charities while pursuing his education, including an active membership in the Wellness Club and volunteering regularly with My Heroes Equine Physical Therapy for children and adults with disabilities.  He also assisted in the development of recruitment and orientation materials for new incoming and transfer HES students.

“I have been involved in the Wellness Club since my junior year,” said Martin. “I have also been able to share my experiences at CSU with incoming students in my major to help them make the most of their time here.”

Proud to be a CSU Ram, even after graduation

Martin has been accepted to and will be attending, the University of Colorado Physical Therapy School this summer, where he hopes to continue to conquer any challenges put in his path. Martin is excited to represent the Rams in the Buffalo territory.

“I will start the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus this summer,” said Martin. “I am very excited to jump right in and show them what CSU graduates are capable of. It will be a challenging three years, but the Department of Health and Exercise Science has prepared me to welcome that challenge.”

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.