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Campus News

March 26th, 2024

Busch's leap of faith rewarded

Garrett College 17-year-old set to earn dual degrees


Photo by John Rudd
Ryan Busch, 17, will graduate from Garrett College in May with degrees in engineering and math/science. He will attend West Virginia University in the fall.

Ryan Busch admits the decision was a leap of faith.

"I wasn't sure how it was going to go, making the move from high school to college at age 16," said Busch. "It obviously took some adjustments, but it went really well."

With "really well" being something of an understatement.

Busch, 17, currently sports a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and is on target to graduate from Garrett College in May. A Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member, Busch will earn dual degrees in engineering and math/science.

"Ryan is an exceptional student," said Assistant Professor Joel Bostic, who had Busch as a student in his Chemistry II class. "He thoroughly engages with the material, asks insightful questions, and is eager for challenging problems."

"It's been quite a pleasure to have Ryan as my student," said Dr. Jeff Reitz, mathematics professor, who had Ryan in his Calculus II class.

"We often have fun – yes, fun! – in class exploring the nuances of higher mathematics," added Reitz. "We also have enjoyable chats about other things after class."

Dr. Kelli Sisler, a GC administrator who also teaches courses within the engineering program, said Busch is "an excellent and engaged student."

"I can't wait to see what Ryan conquers in the field of engineering," added Sisler.

Busch is transferring in the fall to West Virginia University, where he's already been accepted into both the honors college and electrical engineering program.

"WVU accepted all of my Garrett College credits and I'll be done in two years," said Busch, who then hopes to attend Loma Linda (CA) University and study in LLU's dual M.D./Ph.D. medical science program. According to the LLU website, the program's graduates are "physician-scientists who are involved in biomedical research as well as clinical practices."

"My eventual goal is to combine knowledge in electrical engineering and medicine to work with the nervous system," explained Busch. "You have a lot more room to work directly with patients and in a lab doing research with that degree."

Melissa Wass, who as director of admissions also serves as Busch's academic advisor, said he is "an extremely driven student who has set lofty goals for himself and is well on his way to surpassing those." Wass added that it's been "truly amazing to witness" Busch successfully moving through such a challenging double-major.

"He always presents himself with a smile and a positive attitude," said Wass, "which has made it such an honor to work with him."

Busch – who moved here with parents Nickie and Ralph Busch in 2022 – said his parents "were super-supportive of me coming to Garrett College."

"I've had the pleasure of meeting his wonderful parents," said Reitz. "It seems to me that Ryan, with their guidance, is seeking a career of fulfillment and service. I am honored to play a small part in that process."

Busch said his interest in engineering comes at least partially from his father, who is an engineer.

"He got me working with some electronics kits," said Busch. "He would also take me along to work sometimes, so I had some practical knowledge of what went on in engineering. I even got to build and test some equipment from a young age.

"I also enjoy solving problems," he continued. "Part of why I wanted to do engineering is you get taught a really good process for problem-solving as part of your education."

Busch – whose family already had a second home in Garrett County – said the close proximity to Garrett College played a role in their decision to move here.

"We were thinking about moving up here," recalled Busch. "My Dad found information on the college website on dual enrollment, the great scholarship program, and the engineering program."

Busch, who was homeschooled, said he would "encourage other homeschoolers to take more advantage of high school dual enrollment" through GC.

Busch said he's "learned a lot" during his time at Garrett College.

"It gave me the environment where I was able to get ahead and succeed," said Busch. "Even though I started college two years early, everyone has been really helpful and very inclusive."