Ryan Spelman ’20

Curiosity Keeps Runner on the Move
Ryan Spelman


Ryan Spelman ’20 came to UNH with a deep curiosity for the world around him and a desire to study science. There is no doubt that the busy biology major from Franklin, Massachusetts, who is also on the UNH cross country and track teams, is making the most of his time on campus.

COLSA: Looking back on your time at UNH so far, what are you most proud of and why?

Ryan Spelman: I am most proud of my involvement with the research going on here at UNH. I have been involved in Dr. Poleatewich's Plant Pathology Lab since the spring semester of my sophomore year. I have taken on multiple independent projects, studying the effects of biochemical inducers on the suppression of disease in apple trees as well as cucumbers. Through my research experience, I have had the opportunity to work in the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses as well as a traditional laboratory setting. This work has helped me apply the biological concepts I learn in my classes in a real-life research situation. It has also given me the opportunity to give back to the local community, as our research aims to help local farmers increase their yields by reducing the impact of disease in their agricultural system. The whole experience has been extremely rewarding. 

COLSA: What motivates you?

Spelman: I am most motivated by curiosity. At UNH, my curiosity for the world around me has manifested in excitement to explore the biological sciences and allowed me to take advantage of the academic and extracurricular activities offered at UNH.

COLSA: Why did you choose your major?

Spelman: I chose to be a biology major because it allowed me to explore a wide range of subjects within the sciences. Coming into college, I did not know exactly what avenue of science I wanted to pursue, but the biology program has allowed me to explore within the life sciences and offered me the flexibility to choose courses that align with my various interests. The biology program has given me the opportunity to find my niche organically and is designed to allow students to find something that really excites them and run with it!

COLSA: Any advice for students interested in your major?

Spelman: Take advantage of the research and extension opportunities available to students in the program.
Get to know your professors, and if one of your professors conducts research that interests you, ask how you can get involved! The faculty really encourages undergraduate research and extension experiences, and the majority of professors will be thrilled to provide you with these opportunities. Just ask!

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Spelman: I plan to pursue a masters degree in education here at UNH after completing my degree in biology. My goal is to become a high school biology teacher. And of course, simply continue to explore and learn about the world around me!

COLSA: How is UNH preparing you to achieve your goals?

 UNH’s focus on promoting experience outside of the classroom has given me the skills and confidence to be successful in my field after graduation.

COLSA: What do you love most about UNH?

Spelman: The best part of UNH is the sense of community. I have met some of the most ambitious people here at UNH, and every one of them has encouraged that ambition among our community. The environment here is often extremely supportive; the student body and faculty are constantly working to ensure every student's voice is heard – a unique experience for a school of our size.

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