By Harry Jacobson-Beyer–
The summer before his freshman year Ryan Moran, a U of L Junior, and his cohorts in the James Graham Brown Fellows program travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia. It was the first time Moran had been abroad. “It taught me how to travel and travel well,” Moran said. And it was a cultural immersion experience that set the tone for Moran’s studies at the University of Louisville.
According to Carmen Mitchell, one of Moran’s peers in the Brown Fellows Program, one of the travel lessons he learned, after a day of hiking in Vietnam, was to make sure you have a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen because “on a day we went hiking he had the worst sunburn.”
Mitchell also told me that he bought a rolex knock-off from a local market in Saigon and “it broke an hour later,” she said. What a great lesson for an economics major.
The James Graham Brown Fellows Program began awarding scholarships in 2009. Each year the Fellows Program provides tuition, books, housing, board, and a stipend, to 20 students, ten each at the University of Louisville and Centre College. In addition every student in the Fellows Program has the opportunity to study abroad and to have internships.
The Fellows program is not limited to Kentucky students but, one of its goals, according to Moran, “is to create strong ambassadors of the University and of the state.”
The Fellows Program receives hundreds of applications a year from which 30 are chosen for two days of extensive interviews on the U of L campus (and another 30 at Centre College). From those 30 ten are selected to receive scholarships. Applicants must have a minimum ACT score of 31, a high GPA, and a strong involvement in high school activities.
Mitchell met Moran for the first time at these interviews. She was drawn to him because “he had a dynamic and outgoing personality and I wanted to hang out with him,” she said. And since then they have become good friends.
Moran, who is majoring in economics, accounting, and finance with a minor in international business and marketing, is a native of Alexandria, KY. He and his older sister are the first of their family to go to college. He attended Campbell County High School where he was on the academic team and participated in quick recall competitions.
In addition to the trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, under the auspices of the Fellows Program, Moran has travelled to India and China. The summer after his freshman year he went to Bangalore, India where he took classes and earned 11 credits. One of the classes he took, with two other students, was in international marketing.
“We didn’t need an entire classroom so we went to a coffee shop and we discussed international marketing for two hours every day and it was an amazing experience,” Moran said. They also were able to take impromptu field trips and observed international marketing in play. Moran went on to say that he was able to take some “really neat” classes he wouldn’t have time to take at the university. To fulfill his U of L PE requirement he took a class in Yoga. “Yoga is a whole lot more difficult than people expect. In America, yoga is something that is enjoyable whereas in India if you are enjoying it you are doing something wrong,” Moran chuckled.”
Moran also didn’t let the Rolex watch incident curb his enthusiasm for shopping. “He came back to the states from Bangalore with a half-dozen, quality, button-down dress shirts,” Grubb said.
This past summer Moran travelled to Singapore, China where he interned and studied at a private educational institution. His classmates were students from around the world, all of whom spoke English. He made many friends and has stayed in electronic contact with some of them.
Trips abroad are not the only travel opportunities for the Fellows Program students. During the fall semester this year the students went to New York City for three days. They met with people who work and live in New York City. “We got to meet lawyers and financiers who had connections with Louisville. We got to pick their brains and socialize.” Moran remarked.
Mitchell observed that “Ryan was totally in his element when we toured Goldman Sachs,” which is not surprising for an economics major.
Prior to the trip as part of their networking experience, the students had to make contacts with organizations in their field and arrange a tour or a meeting during their free time. Moran contacted and met David Rosegarten, Senior Vice President of Wealth Management at New York’s UBS office and holds the designation of Certified Investment Management Analyst. According to Andrew Grubb, Moran’s Brown Fellows advisor/mentor, “Ryan had one of the best outcomes of everybody.”
The group also had lunch at the Yale Club, met the artist Peter Max and toured his studio, and saw a Broadway play. After the play they walked to Times Square and “Ryan was the first to notice the Naked Cowboy, a New York City Street performer,” Mitchell said. “We were caught up in the spectacle that is Times Square after dark.”
In an aside Moran remarked, “Interestingly enough I had more trouble with the New York subway than I did with the Shanghai subway. And only one of those maps were in English.”
“Sometimes my dad says ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’ so I guess I don’t have to find out yet.”
And so for Ryan, who is on a road of discovery, the journey continues.
Photos courtesy Ryan Moran