His father’s career as a Navy nuclear engineer gave Ryan Manning ’17 an appreciation of science, and at WC, he’s combining it with his love of writing and English.
It’s pretty clear that Ryan Manning ’17 has a free-range kind of mind, one that’s precise enough to AP test out of general chemistry and, at the same time, creative enough to love the beautiful challenge of writing poetry. These diverse interests and skills, and Washington College’s Yellow Ribbon Program, are what drew him to Chestertown. And so far, he says, it’s been everything he’d hoped.
“There are just so many opportunities for me here,” says Manning, who is a double major in English and chemistry with a minor in creative writing. “I really love how small Washington College is. I know that bothers some people, but I love it. I’ve had an excellent first two semesters.”
Manning comes from a military family. His father enlisted in the Navy, ultimately becoming a nuclear engineer and serving as a Navy submariner. Growing up in Georgia, Manning moved with his family to Howard County, Md., when his dad took a job at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab after leaving active service.
When the time came to look at colleges, he sought places that had strong programs in English and chemistry, and family friends suggested he add WC to his long list of schools. During his visits to the campus, he said, “every time I talked to any of the faculty members or the students, everyone I met was just fantastic. And over the summer I came out for a creative writing seminar at the Lit House with Jehanne Dubrow, and then first semester I had her as my creative writing professor. It’s probably my favorite class I’ve ever taken in my whole educational career.”
Manning is spending his first college summer as an intern at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, where Dubrow is director, helping launch the Lit House’s new publication, Cherry Tree. “We’re learning how to use InDesign, the layout and publications program that professional designers use to make PDFs, books, magazines, etc.,” he says. “It’s really interesting stuff, and we’ve been encouraged to work on our own independent projects in the program as we learn to use it. I’m loving it so far, and I’m excited to learn more about the publication we’ll be working on.”
Manning says his father’s veteran’s benefits “are the only reasons I can even remotely consider coming here. He’s been able to provide me with an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had.”