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Student Profile: Ryan TerLouw ’07

Ryan TerLouw frequently uses the word passion when discussing his college experiences. As a student at Hope, he combines his passion for academics and athletics with a love of challenge.

“I’m a fairly adventurous person,” he says. “When it came down to making a college decision, I just felt Hope offered the best ‘adventure’ and most opportunities for me.”

TerLouw is majoring in chemistry and minoring in neuroscience and mathematics, in keeping with his interest in becoming a doctor. “Becoming a doctor started out as a childhood dream, but as I’ve grown up I’ve realized that I have a passion for it and that people are my inspiration,” he says.

He has appreciated his academic experience.

“It’s definitely a rigorous program,” he says. “The material isn’t easy and by no means do professors water it down. I’m convinced that I’m getting a solid education.”

That education has included participating in summer student research, an experience that challenges one to think independently.

In both his classes and his research work, he appreciates Hope professors’ commitment to their students, a quality exemplified by their approachability outside the lecture hall.

“On any given day, I usually talk personally with three or four professors,” he says. “It’s very conducive to learning as well as just getting advice from someone who’s been through the same academic struggles you’re dealing with.”

While medicine may be the central goal for TerLouw, another of his motivating passions is running. “It’s challenging and I’m a competitor,” he explains. Joining the college’s cross country and track teams, however, has been about more than the opportunity to push himself.

“It’s great to have a whole other set of friends and teammates outside of academics. It keeps a sense of balance and perspective on school,” he says. “Laughter is one of the greatest things about running, it’s something so simple but so important and there’s never a shortage on the cross or track teams. For me, running is an outlet; letting me widen my perspective, learn more about myself, and most importantly just have fun.”

As he strives to reach his goals, TerLouw maintains a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities he has had, both at Hope and elsewhere. “I’ve received a lot of blessings, both academically and athletically, by friends and family as well as coaches and professors. For them, I am very grateful,” he says. “Hope is providing me with a reputable education, but perhaps more important are the experiences outside the classroom which allow me to become the person I want to be.”

This profile was written by Melissa Sexton, a 2005 Hope College graduate from Kalamazoo, Mich., for the 2005-06 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.