Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


James Martin graduates from FAU at 17-years-old

James Martin anxiously awaits his turn on-stage with lights and cameras pointed at him. He isn’t nervous, just excited to walk the stage with fellow graduates over five years older than him.

Martin graduated from FAU on Aug. 6, earning his bachelor’s degree in biology with a 3.9 GPA — at the age of 17. He shared the stage with more than 1,600 other undergraduates, joining 130,650 alumni that have graduated since FAU’s first class in 1964.

While many students his age are preparing for college, Martin is looking for grad schools to complete his master’s degree. He also recently accepted a job at Princeton University, according to CBS 12.

David Binninger, the Associate Chair of the Biological Sciences Department and Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at FAU, has known Martin since he took Binninger’s Genetics class in fall 2011.

“James attended class regularly and usually had one or two specific questions for me after each class,”  Binninger wrote in an e-mail interview with the UP.  “This is a large class (more than 300 students), but he was not intimidated by the class size. James earned a solid ‘A’ for the course.”

Martin was homeschooled for most of his early life. “His early years he was a little lazy, he would daydream a lot, but when he was 12 or 13 he got really serious,” Joan Martin, James’s mother, said in a video interview with WPTV.

James admits he wasn’t always as motivated then as he is now.

“There’s been some nights… there’s been some nights man where I’m just like… ‘ugh,’ “Martin says about starting FAU at 14-years-old.

“I really got to know him when he joined my lab for his undergraduate research and he did an outstanding job,” Binninger told the UP. “Most people would probably assume James was a graduate student instead of an undergraduate from the long hours he worked in the lab.”

According to Binninger, Martin applied to “two highly competitive summer internship programs, one at Princeton and the other at Cornell’s medical school.” Martin was accepted to both and ultimately decided on Princeton, which recently ranked sixth out of 400 in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Martin planned on starting his graduate studies in the fall, but was asked back to Princeton for a job finishing his research.

“In a couple years hopefully I’ll be getting my PhD, so that would be a blessing but in eight years I’ll be a professor somewhere,” said Martin.

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About the Contributor
Austen Erblat
Austen Erblat, Staff Reporter
Austen is an interdisciplinary studies major with a pre-law focus and a commercial music business minor. He joined the UP in 2013 as a news writer and has held positions including news editor, managing editor and senior editor.