Natalie Martinez: Carpinteria High Senior Accepted into Eight-Year Medical Track at Brown

By Stella Haffner   |   April 23, 2024
Natalie studying chemistry

“I didn’t always know I wanted to be a doctor. Actually, I hadn’t really considered medicine until my sister was diagnosed,” says 17-year-old Natalie Martinez.

Natalie and her family are Carpinteria locals. On the weekend, they enjoy hiking the Franklin Trail and visiting family in Ventura. But their lives were upended when Natalie’s 13-year-old sister, Evelyn, was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune condition that can cause serious damage to the blood vessels. 

“During her final days one of her health care providers came up to me. She told me stories about Evelyn while she had been in inpatient care. That nurse did what she could to really connect. She was so sweet. That was the turning point for me.”

From then on, Natalie knew she wanted to pursue medicine. She was accepted into a high school connect program with UCSB in partnership with Mission Scholars on a full scholarship to investigate disparities in access to healthcare based on patient demographics. This time at UCSB gave Natalie the opportunity to appreciate the complex landscape of medical sciences.

Natalie Martinez is headed to Brown!

“When Evelyn was diagnosed, I was able to see first-hand how a disease manifests inside a human body,” says Natalie. “I know my sister didn’t always have doctors that listened to her – I know a lot of people don’t – so it was really special finally seeing her being treated by a team who saw her as a person, who saw beyond her illness. I knew that she was getting the care she deserved when I saw how compassionate her healthcare providers were. They showed me the type of healthcare I aspire to provide.”

As Natalie’s interest in pediatric medicine grew, her résumé grew with equal speed. By junior year Natalie was ready to set her compass to her dream school: Brown University. 

With a mere 5% acceptance rate, Natalie was competing with over 50,000 other applicants for a prestigious position in the Brown 2028 undergraduate class. She was prepared for disappointment the day the admission decision landed in her inbox. But at the time the letter arrived, Natalie was walking into the testing room for her final exam of the semester. Admission decisions were going to have to wait. 

When the exam was over, Natalie raced home to her grandmother’s house, a short five-minute walk (or an even shorter two minute Brown-application-decision-in-my-inbox sprint) away from the high school. With her friends and family all tuning in on Facetime for the big decision, Natalie felt restless.

“I remember minutes before, I just could not sit down! I was pacing around. I was just so, so nervous.”

But there it was. Not only had Natalie been accepted into Brown’s undergraduate program, she had also been granted automatic acceptance into their graduate medical program – a sign of sincere confidence from the Brown admission’s team. 

It is not an honor Natalie takes lightly. She is resolute in becoming the type of doctor that made her sister’s treatment bearable. But despite the big responsibilities lining up in Natalie’s future, she is unfazed by the pressure of her chosen field. 

“I know it’s something I really want to do. I am not afraid of the serious subject matter. It is a motivating force for me.”

But her academic ambitions are only one of the many things Natalie is looking forward to when she joins the Brown cohort this autumn. She says she will miss the close-knit community of Carpinteria and, of course, her açai bowls at Lucky Llama, but Natalie is thrilled to meet new people and excited to experience east coast seasons including, hopefully, some snow.  


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