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
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
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