To see confident senior Adam Ryding, you'd never know he once faced a crisis in deciding where to attend college. As a high school student from Damascus, Oregon, Adam initially had his sights set on attending a small highly-selective private college and even applied to an Ivy League school. But the UO soon won him over with a blend of affordable tuition, scholarship funding, and diverse campus resources.
In addition to the four-year Dean's Scholarship awarded to him, Adam has received scholarships from the Oregon Student Assistance Commission and from local Oregon businesses. And like all students who come to Oregon, Adam received a "hidden scholarship" from donors whose gifts keep his tuition costs down and fund the extra resources that make a college education complete. Now that Adam has spent nearly four years at the university, he's incredibly happy with the choice he made.
In his time on campus, Adam has taken advantage of the many opportunities available to students. He is currently finishing degrees in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy and Management with a focus in Non-Profit Management. He is the current Co-President of the Student Alumni Association, a former residential FIG leader, and former Vice President of Professional Activities for Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity. And as if these activities weren't enough, he also serves as a Student Ambassador and enjoys a variety of volunteer events. "Scholarships have allowed me to be heavily involved in volunteer and extracurricular activities like the Boys and Girls Club," he reflects.
In addition to the skills he's acquired, Adam notes that the classes he's taken in entrepreneurship have taught him what he wants out of post-graduation life. "There's a need to do work that makes you happy, allows you to pursue with curiosity, and that challenges you to go the extra mile. It isn't efficient to be unhappy" he says thoughtfully. "Ultimately, I'd like to work in a technological or environmental field. I'm interested in things like sustainability, energy or open source software." Classes in both the Lundquist College of Business and the School of Architecture and Allied Arts have taught him valuable lessons about "real-life application." Professors like John Godek and Andrew Nelson have "really encouraged me to get my feet wet and apply myself in everyday life" he says enthusiastically.
It isn't surprising given Adam's drive and poise to find that this first-generation college student is paying for college by himself through on-campus jobs and scholarships. In fact, he's made it a priority to graduate from college debt-free and acknowledges the donors who made this possible - ""It is difficult for students. We can so easily be overwhelmed by debt. But with my scholarships and other funds, debt isn't something looming over me."
As to life after graduation, Adam hopes to find a job back home in the Portland-metro region and looks forward to the day he can make the college experience meaningful for future students, as today's alumni have done for him. "We don't know how much is given to us. But once we know, we should take advantage of the resources that are here. And then as alumni, we can continue that favor to future students."