For many students, being “pre-med” is an all-encompassing role—keeping the GPR high, fitting in the research, the shadowing, the volunteer service and studying for the MCAT takes all their time and seemingly every breath. For University Scholar and newly elected MSC President Ryan Trantham, that is just the beginning.
Trantham’s connection to the MSC began even before he started at Texas A&M when he was chosen for the Champe Fitzhugh Jr. International Leadership Seminar co-sponsored by Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) and the MSC the summer before his freshman year. This intensive two and a half week experience in Tuscany with 25 other top incoming freshmen gave Trantham the opportunity to bond and grow with the other “Italy fish”, but more importantly introduced him to two juniors who were peer leaders for the trip—Eric Blackman representing the MSC and Chris Davis representing HUR. Watching Eric and Chris handle their responsibilities gave Trantham insight into the attributes he wanted to emulate and embody as a person and a leader. Two years later, Trantham was back in Tuscany as the MSC peer leader for the Champe Fitzhugh seminar and as a role model for a new generation of Italy fish.
Being a role model comes naturally to Trantham, but is also the result of thoughtful choices and synergistic experiences. His application and interview for a position in the University Scholars program the spring semester of his freshman year was outstanding, and one of the “no-brainer” decisions made by the committee as they selected a mere ten students from the freshman class for this intensive Honors program. Being a University Scholar challenged Trantham to think in new ways and more broadly and deeply than ever before. The emphasis on intellectual exploration where it is “OK” not to have the answer has allowed Trantham to take a closer look at his own goals and plans and exposed him to ideas and issues he might not have experienced otherwise. His involvement with the MSC has given him a different perspective—working with 2000 student members to develop and produce programming requires a much more “corporate” attitude with timely concrete answers, specific logistical frameworks and critical risk assessment and containment the order of the day.
In combination with programming by the Jordan Institute and Wiley Lecture Series at the MSC, where he is currently VP of Educational Exploration programming, Trantham delved deeply into the knotty problems of public health policy and the political aspects of healthcare. These discussions led to a new long term personal goal: medical practice in pursuit of credibility to affect the national and international conversation about healthcare, and a new short term goal: a Business minor so that he can understand the business side of healthcare as well as the science. Trantham’s goals also made applying for the position of MSC President a natural fit as he learns to balance different voices in public conversations and lead complex organizations.
So how does Trantham view his Honors experience and how it will contribute to his presidency? “Being involved in Honors at Texas A&M has put me in situations through which I was challenged to assess my beliefs, perspective, and knowledge of the world at large.” Trantham says, “Doing so has helped me grow as a leader, student, and critical thinker – three roles that I will play every day during my term as MSC President.” Congratulations Mr. President!