January 3, 2008

Ryan Clark ’08 Wins Scholarship from North American Nature Photography Association

He will attend national conference Feb. 27–March 2

Ryan Clark ’08 (Sellersville, Pa.) is very well-rounded student. He is pursuing a B.S. in civil engineering and an A.B. in international studies and is also an avid photographer.

He recently became one of 10 applicants from across the country to win a scholarship from the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) to attend its 14th annual conference for nature photographers Feb. 27 – March 2 in San Destin, Fla. Nature photographers from across the country and all levels of expertise come to this conference to hear or give lectures and improve their skills in all areas of photography.

Surprisingly, though, photography is merely a hobby that Clark took up fairly recently.

“I began taking pictures with a simple point and shoot camera with some manual functions—i.e. aperture and shutter speed could be adjusted—when I lived in Spain during sophomore year, which extended through the summer of 2006,” explains Clark. “The winter after returning from Spain, I bought my first digital single-lens reflex (dSLR) camera—a Nikon D200. Since then, I’ve been shooting with two close friends of mine and we often go on photography trips. These trips are either to a local state park or something a bit bigger like going to Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.

As well as a providing a start for his photography hobby, the eight months Clark spent in Spain enabled him to become proficient in Spanish, fulfilling the language requirement for his international studies major.

“I’ve also been to Honduras twice with EWB (Engineers Without Borders) in which case I took many photos to capture the cultural aspects of the communities we were helping,” he continues.

Clark believes that having such diverse interests is a key aspect to a liberal arts education. “It broadens your knowledge. While engineering and international studies are interesting, there are many other things out there to experience and learn,” he continues. “Having an interest in these other activities certainly improves character since you have more knowledge about life.”

As of now, Clark plans to enter the workforce upon graduating in May and later attend graduate school for engineering. Throughout his endeavors, he will continue to shoot photos.

“Photography will most likely be with me all the way as it is a favorite hobby of mine,” he says. “Hopefully, the international studies degree will allow me to travel, in which case, the camera will become an invaluable part of my life.”

Along with Engineers Without Borders, Clark is a member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES). In October, he traveled to Harrisburg to present research at the Undergraduate Research Conference at the state capitol building.

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