‘My family is everything, and I won’t let the past hold us back’

A woman in her 40s with long blond hair is pictured in black and white, facing forward and smiling.

Amber Martin (MS psychology ’21, Purdue Global) earned her master’s in forensic psychology and is now working on her JD through Purdue Global Law School. (Purdue University photo/Kelsey Lefever)

Amber Martin created opportunities for herself and her family with a psychology degree from Purdue Global

Her family would say that Amber Martin (MS psychology ’21, Purdue Global) is one of the busiest people they know.  

She routinely balances jobs, her five kids’ extracurriculars, their homework and her own homework. She started her master’s degree with Purdue Global when the youngest of her children was 6 months old — the same year her oldest graduated high school. Add to that: Right now, she’s halfway through her Juris Doctor at Purdue Global Law School

But they’ll also attest to the fact that she always finds time to paint a bedroom if one of the kids expresses a new vision for their space. She doesn’t consider herself too busy to host and cook holiday dinners with her husband, Seth, for their extended family and friends, often upward of 20 people. Or help her fellow football parents serve breakfast for the entire varsity team the morning after a game. Or help her in-laws move, or jump start her brother-in-law’s car. 

If that list gives you heart palpitations, you’re not alone. She gets asked all the time: “How in the world can you make all that happen? What keeps you going?” 

She has one response: Her whole life, as she explored many different careers, the single constant was her dream of raising empowered kids. And now it’s a dream she shares with Seth. For them, everything goes back to that. 

“I don’t want it to be me, the reason the two of us would have to say no to things they want to try. I don’t want their dreams to be quashed because I couldn’t contribute enough,” she says. 

When she looked at her work and felt stuck, she saw opportunities. One, she could make a move that would boost their combined income and help provide the kids with a world full of options. And two, she could show them what it looks like to deal with your ghosts and get yourself unstuck.  

I don’t want … to be the reason we’d have to say no to things my kids want to try. I don’t want their dreams to be quashed because I couldn’t contribute enough.

Amber Martin 
MS psychology ’21, Purdue Global 
JD ’25, Purdue Global Law School 

Building a family and a future 

The journey that led Amber to Purdue Global involved a lot of pit stops. 

Choosing her major out of high school was easy. She’d always been fascinated by psychology, so at 17, she decisively chose her major. She planned to earn her bachelor’s in psychology and then move on to grad school.  

When she discussed her plans to earn a master’s degree in psychology with her academic advisor, she trusted she’d be guided toward resources for the application process. Or advised to take one course over another, or maybe receive recommendations for entrance exam texts to study for.  

She gave Amber none of those things. Unbelievably, the advisor dismissed her plan without explanation. 

Taken aback and feeling utterly betrayed, 20-year-old Amber threw her whole plan away and found comfort in a new major — theater. She’d always had a love for plays and movies, and a shift to something more lighthearted provided relief. 

In the meantime, she was waiting tables to pay the bills. That’s where, after enduring such a blatant display of disapproval from her advisor, Amber found her biggest cheerleader. 

Seth was her manager. When Amber graduated with her theater degree, she became a manager, too. Then he left to go back to school. Then he came back, and they were both managers.  

Then they were more than that.  

And ever since, they’ve been a team. Amber credits her ability to accomplish all that she does to his unwavering belief in her and their shared drive to prioritize family over anything else. 

“He’s such a strong supporter,” she says. “I’m thankful to have a true partner. Not everyone has that.” 

They continued in the restaurant business together, and Amber found a way to carve out a professional niche for herself. 

“I worked my way up to a regional director role that included promotions and marketing,” she says. It was the early 2000s, and she took advantage of the moment — websites were just starting to become a necessity for businesses to remain competitive, so Amber learned how to update them. 

Then, babies two and three came along. 

Team Martin held steady to their goals, and Amber’s tech savvy proved useful. She discovered the world of institutional review boards (IRB), which work to ensure scientific studies of humans are held to a high ethical standard, when she found that a local IRB was looking for help updating their website. The job was hers, but working closely with the IRB’s mission inspired her. She eventually became certified as an IRB professional herself, but even so, Amber started to realize she’d need a master’s degree to continue moving forward.  

Then, babies four and five.  

Finally, in 2019, when their oldest started her own college degree, Amber landed on a plan. By then, she’d realized she was being haunted by the ghost of the psychology degree she never finished. She knew what she had to do.  

“I don’t like people telling me I can’t do things,” Amber says. “But when I’m told I can’t do something, it gives me the motivation to prove them wrong.” 

It was time. 

Amber Martin

I asked myself, ‘Why can’t I do this? What’s stopping me from studying psychology?’

Amber Martin MS psychology ’21, Purdue Global
JD ’25, Purdue Global Law School 

A master’s degree to move her forward 

Purdue Global was at the top of her list. The master’s program in psychology looked doable for a working adult, run by highly skilled faculty and backed by a respected university — all major selling points for her. 

“I asked myself, ‘Why can’t I do this? What’s stopping me from studying psychology?’” Her journey had taken her across different kinds of work, but maybe she could lean into the multidisciplinary nature of her resume. 

“Forensic psychology interested me because it’s not just helping to solve crimes, like you’d see on TV,” she says. “You have a lot of options, like serving at state institutions or as an expert for family court and speak to what you know about relationships, and how those things affect children developmentally.” 

This degree from Purdue Global would pull together all her experience. The public speaking from theater. The people skills from waiting tables and managing restaurants. The ability to assess the quality and ethics of research processes, along with their effects on people, which she developed working with IRBs. Even the experiential understanding of child development she’d earned from parenting five kids.  

‘You can change your mind’ 

As she neared graduation, she wondered what was next, until Seth suggested Purdue Global Law School. The idea didn’t click right away — she couldn’t picture herself as a litigator — but he held steady in his belief that she’d be great at it. 

Eventually, she started to see what he meant. Her degree in forensic psychology dovetailed nicely into law, and career path options were not limited to litigation. In fact, it built on what they were trying to accomplish all along — keeping as many options open as possible. Understanding of the law would only expand what she could do. 

“It’s exciting to know it’s not lost, what I worked so hard for,” she says.  

And she pushes forward, both inspired by her family and empowered by them. 

“Seth and I want the kids to be able to achieve everything they want to achieve and have the world open to them,” she says. “We try to teach by example. I want to show them that they don’t have to settle with one thing or another, and if they change their minds, if they want to go from theater to forensic psychology to law, they can do it and be successful.”