Student Highlight: Ryan Walsh ’17


Hey guys! I’m Eimi (pronounced ‘Amy’) and I’m your correspondent for Student Highlight this year, a column dedicated to highlighting the scholars who attend this institution. While I’ve deduced that there’s no ‘typical’ Brown student, I hope to share a small glimpse into the wonderful and diverse individuals of this community.

I first knew about Ryan’s physical existence met Ryan my freshman spring when I took MUSC 0400 (Introduction to Music Theory). We were both in the same section and seeing this was music theory and our TA was a pianist/choral accompanist, there was quite a lot of singing involved, more than I would’ve liked. Thus, Ryan and my first interactions were characterized by singing musical intervals to each other… isn’t that how we all want our first interactions with friends to be like?

My sophomore year, I came home to my suite one day to find my roommate Michelle working on an orgo problem set with a friend, who was (surprise surprise) Ryan. I generally keep to myself and music theory the year before was no exception; he was surprised to see that I had a lot more to offer than just pitches and intervals as we got to know each other via Michelle. Needless to say, we now interact with words and sentences.

Ryan is probably the most unpredictable person I know. I really can’t guess what he’s thinking or what he’s about to say at any given time. One time last semester, he came up to me in the dining hall and asked if he should write about Mariah Carey for an article (I gave my honest opinion and told him I thought she was last relevant about 5 years ago). The other suggestions he offered were Blake Lively and the shipping of 2 One Direction members (I suggested Blake Lively). But one thing that is always predictable about Ryan is his kindness and his ambition coupled with a lack of competitiveness. Don’t we all love nice, smart, humble people? It’s no wonder Ryan is so well-liked by everybody.

Name: Ryan Walsh

Hometown: Clarendon Hills, IL

Concentration: Biology, French and Francophone Studies (also pre-vet)

What classes are you taking this semester? Biology of Reproduction (BIOL 1330), Adventures of the Avant-Garde (COLT 1813O), Pouvoirs de la scène: le theater du XVIIe siècle (FREN 1040B), Un semester avec Proust: introduction à la recherche (FREN 1210E), Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics (PHYS 0060)

 Favorite class thus far? Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (ENGL 0180). It was super fun and also the first time I got to write non-academically about my own life in a way that wasn’t selling myself (read: college applications). The professor was nice, friendly and fashionable; we still talk. Adventures of the Avant-Garde (COLT 1813O) is looking promising as well. It focuses on experimental art of the 20th century when people weren’t painting things as they looked, which led to the birth of modern art. Also, the professor has an Irish accent.

 What do you do on or off campus? I’m a part of BRYTE (Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment) and work with 3 kids. Last week, we took a nature walk into the woods, which was really nice. I am also a Meiklejohn, a French conversation TA, a writer for the Brown Daily Herald, and coordinator of the French DUG where I coordinate a bunch of events like going to the French Film Festival and visiting museums for French-guided tours. I don’t do research on campus, but that’s definitely a huge part of my life. Last summer, I did stem cell research at Harvard, this summer I’m doing marine biology research at Cape Cod, and I was just in Japan with a professor at Brown for a conference on marine fertilization, development, and regeneration of marine organisms. Kind of along these veins, I’ll be presenting a paper I wrote last year for a French class at a French conference at Harvard in front of undergraduate students and professors. Lots coming up, but I’m really excited! 

Favorite place on or around campus and favorite place study spot? Dave’s Coffee. There are these little slots on the wall full of interesting books and knick-knacks that I like to look at. The coffee there is amazing, the people are nice, and they’ve got good gluten-free vegan baked goods. I like the Rock reading room for studying and the Leung Gallery for writing papers.

Favorite Brown memory or experience? Last semester, I emerged from Sayles on the first night of finals after studying there until midnight and I just saw the Naked Donut Run proceed in front of me, like 50 absolutely naked bodies running across campus in the middle of winter. It was amazing.  

Why Brown? You get to choose whatever you want and people are incredibly passionate about coursework or whatever it is that they do on campus. They’re also fashionable and come from all over the world. Being nested in Providence is nice, because it’s a city but not big and crowded. Having a big French program was also important in my decision to come here because I knew I wanted to study that. Brown’s also really helpful with finding jobs and just taking care of the undergraduates well, which isn’t always the case with big state schools and more graduate-oriented schools.

If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be? A chandelier, because no one can touch.

Know someone who should be featured or want to get in touch with a highlighted student? Send me an email at!



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