Student Story

Fletcher T. Ryan

Colorado Springs, CO
Student: MS in Engineering

Fletcher Ryan

"The U of A was an excellent opportunity for me. It’s online, it’s reputable, and it’s cost effective."

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Fletcher T. Ryan, an engineer and second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, believes in expanding his skills—both professional and personal. For the professional, he is studying for a Master of Science in Engineering degree from the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. For the personal, he volunteers.

“A formal education gives you the tools to design and develop ideas and things, where a non-traditional education, that which you learn from experience and through others, allows you the benefit of learning compassion, understanding and an appreciation for investing in a cause greater than yourself,” Ryan said. “The U of A was an excellent opportunity for me. It’s online, it’s reputable, and it’s cost effective.”

While building his engineering skills through formal education, Ryan boosted his interpersonal skills as a long-time healthcare volunteer. He is currently volunteering as a patient care ambassador, where he visits with patients, helps them navigate hospitals, and transports them to appointments.

“Volunteering is a large part of my life, and I have learned so much about people and about myself – things a formal education may not have been able to give me,” Ryan said. &dquo;I have learned to be a better person because of it.”

Ryan was one of seven people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Ryan said he feels connected with Manning, for whom the scholarship is named, because they share a passion for lifelong learning.

“It has been about giving the time I have and growing from my experiences with volunteering,” he said. “I feel I reflect some of the values (Manning) had. I was stoked when I found out I got the scholarship.”

At the time of his death, Manning was studying in a UofA doctoral program and managing UofA independent study programs, a forerunner of today’s Self-Paced Online Courses.