Ryan Baucom

This Pirate loves chemistry and
helping fellow students love chemistry.

This Pirate shares his love of chemistry with fellow students.

As a double major in chemistry and biochemistry, Honors College student and EC Scholar Ryan Baucom works hard to do well in his studies. But that doesn't stop the East Carolina University senior from helping others succeed through his work at the Pirate Tutoring Center.

“Tutoring provides me with an opportunity to help a fellow Pirate learn chemistry,” said Baucom. “It’s a good feeling when you help another student understand something. I feel like I get more out of it than the people I’m helping.”

Baucom said instructing students also helps him remember the general chemistry concepts he learned during his freshman year. “I took chemistry in high school and for some reason it clicked. I like knowing why things work instead of just memorizing information,” he said.

Tutoring influenced Baucom’s decision to become a teaching assistant in the chemistry department. “I instruct the techniques of each experiment and assist the senior instructor in making sure the lab runs smoothly and safely,” he said. “Being a teaching assistant is another opportunity for me to help other students learn and enjoy chemistry.”  

An aspiring physician, Baucom already has hands-on experience in the medical field. During his freshman and sophomore years at ECU he spent 300 hours volunteering as an EMT with Winterville’s EMS. “That was a wonderful opportunity where I was able to enhance my medical education while also giving back to the community,” he said.

This past summer Baucom did a six-week internship at the East Carolina Heart Institute, which he said strengthened his desire to go into medicine. “I got to see open-heart surgeries multiple times a week, which was really good experience,” he said. “I picked up on a lot and I know that will help me when I get in medical school.”

Baucom has already applied to ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. “I am not sure what type of medical doctor I would like to become, but I am considering family medicine, emergency medicine, or cardiology,” he said.

He hopes eventually to practice medicine near his hometown of Marshville.

Why do you want to be a physician?
I would like to be a physician so I can have a career in a field that interests and challenges me, while also benefiting those around me. Physicians are able to help others on a daily basis and there is nothing I would like to do more than improve the lives of others while doing something I love. The science behind medicine is fascinating, and it is amazing how complex the human body is. This is a field where I will constantly be learning more each day, and that is something I look forward to.

As a double major, how have you maintained a 4.0 GPA?
Double majoring in biochemistry and chemistry can be quite a daunting task at times. Most of my classes are high level science courses with labs and it can be difficult to learn material for three or four science courses at one time while also writing lab reports each week. I do enjoy the sciences, though, and I like how I am able to relate what I learn in biochemistry to what I have learned through my chemistry courses.

I have maintained my grades as an undergraduate by allocating study time, staying organized and paying attention in class. There have certainly been courses that have been challenging, such as physical chemistry or quantitative analysis, but I have put in the required amount of study time to understand the material. I try to always give 110 percent when it comes to my school work and if I do not understand a concept after studying, I make sure to ask for assistance.

What is it like being part of ECU’s Honors College?
Being part of the Honors College is like attending a small college at a large university. I love attending a large university with sports and programs that smaller schools do not offer.

The Honors College provides a community where I know most faculty personally. I am able to take seminar courses that are discussion based and contain less than 20 students.

Why did you choose to come to ECU?
During my campus tour and visit to the Honors College, the Pirates were welcoming and down to earth. I knew that ECU would provide me with the resources to become a strong applicant to medical school. I have experienced a rigorous curriculum at ECU, while also learning the importance of serving the community and enjoying the college experience. 

Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Grace Haskin


College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Majors: Biochemistry and Chemistry

Age: 20

Class:  Senior

Hometown: Marshville, North Carolina

Hobbies & Interests: Hunting, fishing and skiing

Clubs & Organizations: Honors College, EC Scholar and Pirate Tutoring Center crew


Hangout: My apartment

Place on Campus: Science and Technology Building

Place to Eat: Plaza Azteca

Class:  CHEM 2250 - Quantitative Analysis, taught by Dr. Anthony Kennedy. This is one of the first classes that challenged me as a student and taught me how to truly study.

Websites: Pandora

TV Show: Breaking Bad

Music genres: Country and classic rock

Movie: Forrest Gump


Most Influential Professor: Dr. Katie O’Connor from ECU Honors College. Although I have only taken one course with her, she has taught me many skills that I would not obtain in a normal classroom such as professionalism, time management, organization, etiquette and compassion.

Dream Job:  Possibly an emergency physician, but I’m still unsure what area of medicine I want to go into.

You Can’t Live Without: My dogs, Paisley and Annabelle

Role Models: My parents, Wayne and Nikki Baucom

Words to Live By: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Advice to Fellow Students:  You should find a balance between your social and academic life where you can have fun with friends as well as be successful as a college student.

Something cool about ECU:  We have a ton of resources for students on campus such as the Pirate Tutoring Center, or the University Writing Center. I also would have liked to know that there is free printing in any lab on campus.

Words of Wisdom

“...Find a balance between your social and academic life where you can have fun with friends as well as be successful as a college student.”

– Ryan Baucom