As a high school student from a small town in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country, Ryan Schmucker never considered a career in medicine until he job-shadowed a local surgeon.
“I was completely hooked from that point. I was just fascinated. I began to see medicine as something I could really enjoy doing. It’s working with people, it’s serving people, and there’s also never a dull moment—you’re constantly challenged.”
During college, Ryan spent his summers working in a hospital as a phlebotomist, doing research with a cardiologist, and, the summer before his senior year, volunteering for two months in a clinic in Haiti.
“That was just completely life-changing. We would see 150 to 200 patients a day. What struck me is that we were putting a Band-Aid on a bigger problem. Their socio-economic conditions were just horrible. Initially, I was really frustrated, but then I thought, ‘No one else is helping these patients. They need something. They need some sort of medical care.’ It’s motivated me to find ways to try to change the conditions that people live in.”
In addition to his work in Haiti, Ryan has volunteered at a hospital in Peru and an orphanage in Russia. He was initially drawn to the Boonshoft School of Medicine for its unique opportunities to continue pursuing his passion for global health, including an international health curricular track and the Global Health Initiatives student organization.
“I didn’t encounter any other program like the one at Wright State,” Ryan said. “I also loved the small class size here. When I interviewed here, it really seemed like a community. The students I interacted with seemed like they knew each other and were friends. And not only that, but just the feel I got from the faculty and staff I interacted with—you don’t find that everywhere.”
When he was awarded a tuition scholarship in 2008, Ryan was able to take the first steps toward fulfilling his dream of becoming a surgeon and making a difference in the lives of those in need.
“I was thankful for it. It’s a huge blessing.”
Boonshoft School of Medicine
Class of 2012
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Photo: As an undergraduate, second-year student Ryan Schmucker spent two months volunteering at a health clinic in rural Haiti.