Dec 01, 2017

Columbia State Announces Fall 2017 Commencement Ceremony and Speaker

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Dec. 1, 2017) - - - Columbia State Community College is pleased to announce that alumna Natalie Martin will deliver the commencement address to the graduating class during the fall 2017 commencement ceremony that will take place Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.

"Natalie Martin is a great example of the quality education received by a Columbia State graduate," said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. "She demonstrates where hard work and determination can take you. We are excited to have her back at Columbia State."

Martin, a 2014 graduate, felt a calling to the concrete industry because of how much time she spent with her uncles who ran a construction company. Growing up in California, she spent many weekends on jobsites where her uncles were pouring house slabs, shotcreting swimming pools and pouring concrete for Disneyland attractions.

"My favorite memory is sitting on the hood of my uncle's truck holding an umbrella with the design plans rolled out in front of me," Martin said. "My uncles were arguing about how much color to put into the concrete that would create the famous Grizzly Mountain at Disneyland."

After pursuing a career in photography, cosmetology and eventually being a stay-at-home mom, Martin realized her true passion was in concrete and enrolled at Columbia State as an adult learner where she earned a general transfer Associate of Science degree. Martin continued her education at Middle Tennessee State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in concrete industry management.

At MTSU, Martin had several internship opportunities including lab technician for STALITE, engineer coordinator for Wirtgen Group-Kleeman, quality control technician for Preferred Materials Ready Mix and quality assurance for Constructionarium where she had the opportunity to work on a concrete research project based in England. In addition to her degrees and work experience, Martin currently holds certificates in CIM including ACI Concrete Field-Testing Grade I and Concrete Flatwork Finisher and technician.

Currently a territory manager at STALITE Structural Lightweight Aggregate, Martin partners with the department of transportation, structural engineers, general contractors, concrete producers and professors to provide them with education and design materials for lightweight concrete, jobsite setup, lab support and project cost analysis. In addition to her job duties, Martin travels around the country speaking to student groups at a variety of high schools, universities and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) clubs.

Martin credits her passion of leadership to Columbia State because of her heavy involvement and leadership in several student organizations including the Columbia State Student Government Association, President's Leadership Society, STEM Club and Phi Theta Kappa. While at Columbia State, Martin was awarded the Ricky Martin Memorial Leadership Award.

When her hands aren't in concrete, you can find her cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, shopping and cheering for her three children - Emilio, Nathanial and Christopher.

The commencement ceremony will take place in the Webster Athletic Center on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. Family and friends are encouraged to arrive early as seats are filled on a first-come basis. Overflow seating will be directed to the Ledbetter Auditorium, located in the Frank G. Clement Building.

For security purposes, the following items are prohibited at the event: balloons, glass containers, laser pointers, drones, musical instruments, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, alcohol or illegal substances. For a full list of prohibited items, please visit

Natalie Martin
Photo Caption:
Natalie Martin, Columbia State alumna and 2017 fall commencement speaker.