Building things, working with his hands, playing football and giving back to the community that raised him are the things that make Liam Ryan ’21 the happiest.
Coming to NC State University has provided him with opportunities to do all those things and more. Ryan is an offensive lineman on the Wolfpack football team and a technology, engineering, and design education student in the NC State College of Education.
When Ryan arrived at NC State he was in exploratory studies because he wasn’t sure what career path he wanted to take. His roommate and former teammate was a technology, engineering, and design education major and encouraged him to try it out. When Ryan took Technology and Design Education 110, he was hooked.
Originally wanting to major in engineering or medicine, Ryan found technology, engineering, and design education with a minor in graphic communications to be the next best thing. It allowed him to tap into his strengths.
“I like the whole idea of learning how to use my hands and building things. You also learn how to use graphic communications software like Solid Works, Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite, but you also get to dabble in every facet of engineering,” Ryan said. “I’m kind of a gear head, so I really like knowing how things are made and how things are built. If I can take it apart and put it back together again, I have a sense of accomplishment.”
That sense of accomplishment carries over to the football field. Ryan wasn’t recruited out of Cary High School. He attended Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, a college preparatory school, after high school to improve his film. That decision gave him the opportunity to walk on at NC State, just down the road from his hometown — Cary, N.C.
“To come to a school of this caliber, I couldn’t let that slip through my hands,” he said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for me to play 10 minutes away from where I grew up, and I love every second of it.”
NC State has provided Ryan with the opportunity to give back to the community that raised him — something he values more than anything. Through football and the NC State College of Education, Ryan has volunteered with Learning Together, an all-inclusive school for young children with developmental, educational and health needs, and Gigi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center for individuals of all ages, families and communities.
“I love the platform that it gives me to give back to the community. I never thought I would be in this position,” Ryan said. “To see how much this university means to people in this area, ‘Why would I not give back to the area that I grew up in?’ I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”
Not only does he give back to his community but he lends a hand to his freshman teammates by applying the skills he’s gained in the classroom — taking on more of a leadership role.
“I’ve gotten an understanding of how people work and I understand that there are different learning styles,” he said. “Learning how to teach the plays based on how people understand things and showing them what we do based on certain alignments. It all translates to coaching, which I have an ambition of being a coach one day.”
When Ryan graduates, he would like to stay involved with the sport that has given him so much through a coaching career.
“The NC State College of Education has given me so many opportunities to learn and show my skill set as a student,” he said. “Being able to apply teaching methods to the young guys on the team — teaching them the playbook and learning different approaches on how to teach them and how to be an effective leader — those are the things I’ve learned from the NC State College of Education on top of just being able to perfect the craft of working with my hands.”