Scholarship helps pre-med student serve others

Sophomore Ryan Snyder was inspired to pursue a career in chemistry when he took AP Chemistry as a high school senior. He researched medicinal and drug design applications for quantum dot nanoparticles as part of a final project. This sparked his curiosity about the basic building blocks of organic and organometallic chemistry, and he found himself thinking about how these elements "can be used as molecular Legos, using reaction pathways to build structures that pioneer major innovations in the medical field."

Ryan was accepted into the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State while his mother was fighting breast cancer, and he wondered whether pursuing his degree was selfish in the face of mounting medical bills. The Monteith College Endowed Scholarship enabled Ryan to continue his education despite the financial challenges.

"I couldn't help but feel some degree of guilt as I attended college while my mother was undergoing treatment for breast cancer," he said. "I felt like I was sucking money away from my mom's treatment. However, because of this scholarship, a great deal of stress has been lifted from myself and my family, and for that I am eternally grateful."

Ryan excelled in his freshman year as a biochemistry and chemical biology major. He earned a spot on the dean's list both semesters and was named Pre-Medical Student of the Month in May 2020. He has volunteered at the Cass Community Clinic, providing basic care for underserved Detroit residents, and he led a public health research initiative on infant mortality.

A classical violinist, Ryan volunteers to play for patients at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. His best experience at Wayne State came right after he performed a concert with the Detroit Medical Orchestra. He was invited to shadow a fellow musician in urologic oncology at Karmanos Cancer Institute, observing a nine-hour surgical procedure. "The urologist is a classically trained musician as am I, and I was able to prepare an operating playlist, essentially making me the operating room's personal DJ. It was an experience that validated my purpose in the operating theatre and the clinical setting."

Ryan's goals are to obtain a doctorate in allopathic medicine and pursue a career as a surgeon scientist in urology, plastic/reconstructive surgery or otolaryngology. "It is my aspiration to construct a medical career that incorporates a balance of drug design research and individualistic patient care to make myself a better informed surgeon and clinician," he said. Ryan hopes to use his skills in an urban setting like Detroit.

Scholarship support helps passionate students like Ryan pursue their goals despite financial challenges.
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