Ryan Sumpter

Ryan Sumpter
By Sophia Werning

Ryan Sumpter

Throughout his undergraduate career at UNL’s College of Arts and Sciences, senior pre-med biochemistry major Ryan Sumpter has traveled the globe to further enhance his education and, at the same time, serve those less fortunate.

The son of a third generation Air Force officer, Ryan was born in Holland and moved several times before his parents and siblings settled in Papillion, Neb., where he attended high school. Ryan enrolled at UNL to pursue his dream: to follow in his father’s footsteps as a military medical doctor.

“I chose UNL because I received the Regents scholarship, and because I knew there would be endless opportunities to shadow and volunteer in the healthcare field,” Ryan explains. He also became immediately involved in UNL Connect – a student organization that exists to engage international students with American students in a social environment where they can celebrate global diversity and build genuine friendships across cultures.

Ryan’s many abroad destinations include six mission trips to Haiti, scholarly research in Argentina and China, and trips to Peru, Columbia, Uruguay, and the Dominican Republic, all the while maintaining a 3.96 GPA. Ryan’s passion for the people and cultures of the world have led him to learn eight languages, five of which he speaks fluently.

“None of the trips would have been possible without the scholarship support,” Ryan notes. “I am so humbled and grateful.” He adds that he is very appreciative to the college for helping him identify the many scholarships available for study abroad and experiential learning because most students cannot afford to pay for these opportunities out of pocket.

“During my undergraduate years, I allowed my experience of moving when I was younger to grow into a driving force that has propelled me to areas of the globe I would have never imagined,” Ryan says. “My studies, work, and travel in Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, and China have contributed to a unique background and invaluable set of interpersonal skills. Whether speaking directly in another individual's native language or using hand motions to bridge the language gap, I have the ability to make connections across all ranges of humanity.“

Ryan Sumpter

Ryan recently completed his Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and is busy applying to medical schools around the country, with his sights on beginning his career by serving in the military. “I hope to contribute to the field of international medicine as well after my time of military service, whether by serving someday with the World Health Organization or a smaller non-profit organization concentrated in one nation,” he says. Ryan adds that his study abroad experiences and foreign language studies while at UNL have prepared him well for work abroad.

“Fluently speaking Spanish, Haitian Creole, and English, along with proficiently speaking French and Portuguese allows me to effectively connect to a large population of patients across a broad cultural spectrum,” Ryan explains. “I desire to pair a medical education with linguistic abilities to better serve all kinds of individuals, meeting them in their cultural settings and comfort zones.” His passion to serve has compelled him to volunteer domestically at the People’s City Mission in Lincoln as well.  

Emphasizing his religious faith as “the most important thing in my life,” Ryan believes it is his calling is to practice medicine and provide quality, affordable healthcare in diverse, under-served, and often impoverished communities.

“I have prepared myself to pursue such a career through volunteering multiple times in a medical clinic in Haiti, by studying systems of healthcare and public health in Argentina, and volunteering for more than two and a half years at People's City Mission Free Health Clinic,” he explains. “All these experiences have sculpted my path to a career of serving others through general medicine.”

Ryan Sumpter

In particular, Ryan says that volunteering in Haiti Health Ministries' free medical clinic in Gressier, Haiti, exposed him in a raw and real manner to the broad spectrum of general medicine. “Seeing numerous cases of horrible diabetic ulcers, many cardiac and pulmonary diseases, and various parasitic infections made me realize the grave importance of general medicine in detecting and deterring such problems,” he notes.

When listening to Ryan talk about his many experiences traveling the globe as well as serving the needy in his own community, Ryan’s strong passion to live his life serving others shines through.

“I have learned to communicate and work with individuals from many different cultures and various paths of life,” Ryan explains. “It may sound cliché, but my desire is to go into medicine to serve humanity.”