Colleen Martin graduated from St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2000. She went on to become a contract biologist, researching marine mammals. After that, Colleen returned home to Chicago to become an aquarist at the John G. Shedd Aquarium. There,she worked in the Seahorse Symphony and was a scuba diver in the Wild Reef Shark Exhibit. In 2005, Colleen went back to school to get her Masters of Education from St. Xavier University.
Today, Colleen enjoys being a kindergarten room mom in her five-year-old son’s class. She has two young boys, and enjoys teaching them and children of all ages about the natural world — particularly how to explore it from their own backyards. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, Chicago Gaelic Park, and Attached Parenting – Chicago.
Five years ago, Colleen’s father was diagnosed with liver cancer and was quickly placed on the organ transplant list through Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Her brother Terrence underwent tests to find out if he was a match, and he was. Terrence told her family on Father’s Day 2009 that he would donate part of his liver to their father. The whole family was worried for both Colleen’s father and brother, but both men made it through their surgeries successfully. Terrence ended up donating 60% of his liver to his father, who is doing well with his new organ.
“I will always be grateful to Northwestern’s transplant team for taking care of my family during this difficult time in our lives,” Colleen has said. “And I will forever be proud of my brother who demonstrated a true act of love to save our father.”
Colleen shows her dedication to organ donation through her work with NMTAC. She hopes to create connections with fellow organ transplant families and celebrate the lives of both organ donors and organ transplant recipients. Colleen is also working on a children’s book about living donation and is designing a line of organ donation greeting cards.
“My five-year-old son wants to bring Papa and Uncle T to class for show and tell,” Colleen smirked. “He wants to show off their cool scars to his friends.”