Headed for a career in dental medicine
On a camping trip with his mother on the west coast, Ryan Stitt made an invaluable connection. He struck up a conversation with a man who had the same kind of tent that he and his mother were using. And they found they had at least one other interest in common – dentistry.
Not long after, Stitt was shadowing his new mentor in San Francisco at the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry. He observed surgeries and procedures up close and became sure this was the career for him.
Stitt, 17, will be one of 19 students entering ECU in August as EC Scholars – the most prestigious academic scholarship program the university offers.
He also completed training in robotics and engineering at Wake Technical Community College, to gain a basic understanding of engineering principles as a foundation for dentistry studies.
“A dental career combines my fascination for engineering with my passion for health sciences and caring to those in need,” Stitt wrote on his application materials.
His desire to serve others is something that runs throughout his high school accomplishments. While attending Fuquay-Varina High School, he participated in the Society of St. Andrews, which provides fruits and vegetables for needy families in the community, and the Key Club.
At WakeMed’s Long-term Nursing Facility, Stitt logged more than 100 volunteer hours working to enhance the physical and emotional wellbeing of patients with severe head, neck or spinal cord injuries. For that effort, he was honored as the first recipient of State Farm’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes a local resident for demonstrated concern and involvement with the community.
“It’s not like outpatient care where you go in with a broken arm or something,” he said of his work with WakeMed. “These people are there for a long time. And after three years, I’ve made connections there. They’re like my friends.
“It’s extremely rewarding not just for yourself but for others. If you were ever in need, you’d want someone there to help you.”
He feels like his interest in service and scholarship makes him a good fit for the EC Scholars program.
“Being an EC Scholar means being a leader and role model for the rest of my class and community,” he said.
Stitt is the son of Lauren Marmor.
-- Steve Tuttle and Kathryn Kennedy