Ryan Saba worked as a research assistant at Horn Point Lab starting in the Fall of 2013. He was an enthusiastic, happy, and motivated person. He was known to make people laugh and always had a smile on his face. Unfortunately, I never met Ryan. He tragically died in a car accident near the lab on July 13, 2014. Hoping Ryan and his view on life could serve as an example for other inspiring young scientists, his parents started the Ryan Saba Memorial Endowment Fund. Every year, Ryan’s parents generously support a current Horn Point Lab graduate student in the pursuit of his or her professional goals. This year, I submitted an essay where I described how my career aspirations will benefit the environmental arena and how I intended to use funds if awarded the Ryan Saba Student Fellowship.
I was very pleased to have been selected as the 2019 Ryan Saba Student Fellowship recipient. I was humbled and grateful to receive such a meaningful award and enjoyed meeting Ryan’s parents during the award ceremony. His dad gave me a book of stories about Ryan, written by his many friends he attended college with. After reading it, I feel like I personally know him. His friends said he was “deeply caring”, “full of life”, and “thrived off of others’ laughter and smiles”. The stories also comically describe the great lengths Ryan would go to achieve laughter from others.
Someone like Ryan is special. In a stressful and sometimes unfair world, Ryan saw the good in everything. He made the most of his life and genuinely enjoyed it. I will strive to live life like Ryan, and will continue to honor him through my PhD work and towards my goal of becoming a college professor. This award will support me as I attend an intensive satellite remote sensing training program this summer where I will get valuable hands-on training for my dissertation research. The resources and tools I learn from this course will undoubtedly enhance my dissertation research and career, and for that I am very grateful.