Middlebury

Hometown: Manchester, MA

Major: Molecular Biology/Biochemistry

Minor: Spanish

Activities: GlobeMed, Community Advisor (CA), Developmental Biology Teacher’s Assistant (TA), performance acoustic guitar, Student Emergency Response Team (SERT)Tour Guide, Spanish-English Medical Interpreter (Open Door Clinic) Swing dance clubSpartan race competitor (as part of Mountain Club)

Why I wanted to become a Senior Fellow

Middlebury has largely facilitated my growth as an academic, a global citizen, and most importantly, as a person. Being someone who has profoundly benefited from this institution, I feel it is my obligation to both share my story with future Midd Kids and illuminate Middlebury’s strongest qualities. Additionally, the Senior Fellow program, in connecting current undergraduates with prospective students, creates the unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on the school’s growth.

What I did this summer

Since freshman year, I have been a member of GlobeMed, a university-led initiative that strengthens the movement for global health equity by empowering students and impoverished communities around the world. Each GlobeMed chapter is paired with a unique non-governmental organization already addressing health disparities in their respective setting. As the delegate from Middlebury, I will be travelling to Kigali, Rwanda to work as a graphic design intern with our partner, Gardens for Health International (GHI). In a nutshell, this amazing group integrates agriculture into the clinical treatment of chronic childhood malnutrition. My responsibilities on-site will center on developing visual training aids for beneficiaries and implementing an overhaul of GHI’s communications platform.

Favorite things

Favorite Class or professor

Within my major, Molecular Biology/Biochemistry, the field of reproductive biology discipline has become a passion of mine, something I owe completely to Associate Professor of Biology Catherine Combelles. In her capacity as an instructor, a mentor, and a colleague, Dr. Combelles combines professional credibility with an innately compassionate personality. Wedded together in and out of the classroom, such qualities underscore her ability to convey a love for what she does. Dr. Combelles leverages this attitude to draw the greatest level of engagement from her students. For me, it has been her humility that has stood out most. Rather than inflating herself with her innumerable achievements and expertise, Dr. Combelles demonstrates a genuine investment in the timid freshman all the way through the graduating senior. Don’t take my word for it though – The fact that she was awarded a tenure post this spring gives testament to her immense quality as a professor and person.

Favorite Vermont-based activity

I am a competitive freestyle skier born and bred in the Vermont mountains. Before I could even walk, my father, a former ski bum himself, introduced me to the sport at Killington Resort (just a short drive from Middlebury). Soon after, I became an athlete on the Killington Freestyle Team and haven't looked back. My career has taken me across national and international borders, but Vermont is undoutedbly the reason why I continue to love skiing today. 

Favorite Middlebury tradition or event

The Winter Carnival, one of Middlebury's oldest celebrations, is a three-day festival filled with ice scupltures, a 80's rock cover band, a formal ball, and many other unique traditions. Adding to the excitement are the collegiate ski races that take place at the Middlebury Snow Bowl and Rikert Nordic Center. For me, the event showcases the spirit and community of the Middlebury student body!

Favorite spot on campus

Middlebury maintains a three-acre organic garden developed for agriculture production, education and an absolutely stunning view. The outdoor classroom, in particular, invites students to work and (more likely) relax with a gorgeous Vermont backdrop. As I've thankfully learned, the farm is the perfect venue if you're ever trying to "get away." 

Favorite dining hall concoction

Dessert Panini, consisting of peanut butter, jelly, chocholate chips, apple slices, cinnamon, and topped with vanilla ice cream

How have you changed in the course of your time at Middlebury?

Where do I even begin? Coming into Middlebury, I was devoid of any real personal convictions or identity. Sure, I considered myself a well-rounded and bright young man, however I lacked any real impetus to think about who I was as a person. Three years later, having been exposed to a vibrant social and academic discourse, diverse backgrounds and some serious self-reflection, the person I am today bears no resemblance to the shaggy-haired Ryan of Freshman year. The way in which this school frames each of its many dimensions radically changed and continues to change my perspective of the world. In the end, Middlebury has imparted a greater sense of purpose in how I want to invest myself for the rest of my life.  

One thing every Middkid should do before they graduate

Go for a sunset/night swim on Lake Dunmore in the early fall, after all of the summer homes have been vacated. The purely natural lighting makes for an absolutely brilliant, star-filled sky!