Ryan Gayman

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I was born and raised in the rural town of Newburg, located just outside Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  In high school I was involved with various activities outside of the classroom, including being the Varsity captain of my football team and the set designer for my school’s drama and music productions.  While I haven’t become a Division I athlete or an artist, these experiences taught me it’s important to pursue your interests even if they end up changing along the way.

As a first generation college student from a rural school district, the process of finding and applying to colleges was daunting.  After participating in a summer program at Johns Hopkins University, I became interested in medicine, and more specifically neuroscience.  This led me to the University of Pittsburgh, which possessed not only a stellar Neuroscience Department, but also opportunities for research and internships due to Pitt’s relationship and proximity to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Although I intended to major in Neuroscience, I discovered the field of Anthropology during my first semester at Pitt. Cultural Anthropology challenged my way of thinking, seeing complexity where once there was not, and questioning the orientation of my own assumptions. Pitt’s incredibly supportive Anthropology department embraced me into their community.

Pitt is so special because of this feeling of community that supportive staff, faculty and administration throughout the varying facets of academic and student life create and nurture. From the Office of First Year Experience, which is dedicated to welcoming all incoming students, to the student-driven organization Keep It Real, which tutors refugee youth in the Pittsburgh area, Pitt’s staff and student organizations provide everyone a niche that connects them to the larger Pitt community.

Finally, my “Pitt Pride”, as it is often called, consists of more than just pride and admiration to my Alma Mater for offering me the education, relationships, and experiences that will help me be successful in my future. Pitt Pride is about service to your peers and your community because as we say at Pitt, “the campus is our city, and the city is our campus.” The Office of Student Volunteer Outreach, countless service organizations, and Pitt Make A Difference Day give students the opportunity to impact their communities through the act of service. Hail to Pitt!