Since high school, Ryan has been passionate about medicine and specifically neuroscience. At Penn, Ryan is in the Life Sciences and Management (LSM) Coordinated Dual-Degree program; he will graduate with degrees from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School of Business. Ryan’s College major BBB, or Biological Basis of Behavior, and his Wharton concentration, Healthcare Management, are an ideal fit for his interests. Not only does Ryan want to practice medicine but he wants to do so in the military health system where he would ultimately like to improve care by moving into a command, policy, or leadership position.
Ryan’s mentors on and off campus have encouraged him on this journey. After learning about Ryan’s interests, Professor Adam Grant, a renowned Wharton professor and author, connected Ryan to the former U.S. Surgeon General. Another opportunity came during a summer internship with the Defense Health Agency, which led to ongoing mentorship from Vice Admiral Bono, a doctor at the top of the military system.
Penn fosters Ryan’s interdisciplinary perspective towards his studies and extracurricular commitments. Ryan took the multidisciplinary course Brain Science and Business with Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor Michael Platt. Inspired by Dr. Platt’s expertise in neuro-economics, Ryan attended office hours to discuss his work and the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, which Platt founded to study the connection between brain science and business. This meeting led to another with Dr. Zab Johnson, Executive Director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, and resulted in Ryan founding the student group for Wharton Neuroscience. The group has been very successful with a community of over 340 people and incredible interest (and not enough seats) at their initial meeting.
Ryan became a residential advisor (RA) in his junior year to support fellow Penn students, especially freshmen experiencing myriad life changes. As a mentor and leader, Ryan is available for his students whenever challenges, ranging from homesickness to choosing a major, arise.
As an RA in Ware College House, Ryan leads the Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program, one of several residential communities at Penn. Specifically, the Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program connects residents to entrepreneurial resources, job opportunities, and a wide network of innovators including the CEO of Saxbys, the former Head of U.S. Medical for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the CEO of the University of Virginia Health System.
The twelve College Houses bring together undergraduates, faculty, staff, and graduate students to form vibrant residential communities within the larger context of our renowned urban campus, right in the heart of historic Philadelphia. Read more here.
LSM seniors complete the LSM Capstone, a project-based and team-oriented course where students develop a business and marketing plan for scientific innovations, such as small molecules, medical devices, and cell and gene therapies. The course is led by Dr. Steven Nichtberger, a former physician who is well known in the biotech community. For his project, Ryan chose to work on an implantable brain device that improves the memory of patients with traumatic brain injuries. As the semester progresses, Ryan and his team will create a holistic strategy for this product that spans the approval process and clinical trials to investments, marketing, and assessing patient value. The project culminates in a 60-minute presentation in front of 150 experts and investors in business and science, including the founder of LSM and former CEO of Merck, Dr. Roy Vagelos.
LSM is an undergraduate dual-degree program administered jointly between Penn's College of Arts & Sciences and the Wharton School. Students pursue an interdisciplinary curriculum combining bioscience and business, leading to the completion of two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in a life science major, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics. The LSM program aims to foster creativity, entrepreneurialism, insight, and principled decision-making. Read more here.
Ryan’s intellectual interests led to a two-year research experience with Dr. Jose Pascual, a trauma surgeon at Penn Presbyterian. Dr. Pascual’s lab looks at traumatic brain injuries, which aligns with Ryan’s interests in neuroscience, military medicine, and sports, given that he plays on the Varsity Sprint Football team. Specifically, Ryan’s research used mouse models to determine how a concomitant injury, such as a bone or lung injury, affects a traumatic brain injury. In multi-trauma accidents, including those that the military experience like car accidents or explosions, individuals often incur more than just a head injury. Ryan used laboratory tests to compare the performance of mice with traumatic brain injury only to mice with multi-trauma injuries. The lab studies confirmed that multiple injuries have a detrimental effect on the brain. From there, the team worked on ways to improve brain injury outcomes including treating the secondary injury with anti-inflammatory agents, which reduce harm to the traumatic brain injury.
Penn is one of the nation's top research universities, not only generating important new knowledge in the fields of medicine, technology, business, science, and more, but applying this knowledge to improve the lives of individuals and communities at home and around the world. Penn's commitment to research allows students the unique opportunity of pursuing hands-on research projects as early as freshman year. A host of funding opportunities ensure that all students have access to the resources that will help them hone and develop their research skills, and better understand the mechanisms through which publishing their work is possible.
Learn more about Research at Penn.
Even before arriving on campus, Ryan knew he wanted to be a tour guide with the Kite and Key Society, Penn’s oldest and largest service organization. Kite and Key members are often the first students that prospective Quakers meet when they arrive on campus, and Ryan was excited about sharing Penn with them. Accepted as a tour guide in his freshman year, Ryan became more involved in Kite and Key as the hosting coordinator. In this role, Ryan assessed the current day hosting program and proposed the Chat and Chew program, a successful and growing initiative that allows current students to take prospective students to lunch in Penn’s dining halls. From there, Ryan became the president of Kite and Key. Together with his board, Ryan enhanced tour guide training, created a more equitable tour guide selection process, and expanded their social media presence. As a senior, Ryan is now Kite and Key’s President Emeritus.