With three awards, tuxedo-clad Biology major Ryan Armbruster swept NCC’s award convocation on April 27.
Armbruster won the Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry and Pearson Education awards, as well as the evening’s highest honor – the Trustee Leadership Award.
Chemistry professor Bill Magilton was the first to present Armbruster with an award.
“Ryan is an outstanding student. He makes me bring my A-game to every class he’s attended with me,” Magilton said.
“Just the other night I was in Biochemistry and I was wondering, ‘why am I so far behind in the material?’ And I realized it’s because Ryan asks such inquisitive questions that we have such great discussions in the classroom all the time.”
Magilton also made note of Armbruster’s enjoyment of dressing well.
“One might think that Ryan dusted off this formalwear just for this occasion. But the first chemistry exam that Ryan came to in my class – this is what he wore,” he said. “It was great. Then he convinced an entire class to take a final in formalwear. We called it the prom of knowledge.”
Next, Biology professor Dr. Charlie Rinehimer presented Armbruster with the Pearson Award.
“[This award] is given to the student graduating from the Biological Sciences program with the highest GPA. Ryan’s GPA is 4.0,” Rinehimer said.
“Ryan’s done a great job here at the college. He’s a member of the Christian Fellowship Club, Phi Theta Kappa and was treasurer of the student senate. He’s transferring to Lehigh where he wants to pursue a degree, go to a medical school and become a surgeon. Then he wants to work with Doctors Without Borders.”
With an introduction from the college President Dr. Mark Erickson, Armbruster stepped up to the podium and delivered his acceptance speech for the Trustee Leadership Award.
“What this means for me, is that being here for two years with the various clubs I was a part of and here being active as a student, that my work was not discredited,” Armbruster said. “It was seen and I’m grateful for that.”
He also credited his faith and his professors for helping him learn what a leader was.
“What I’ve learned from [Scripture] is, I went from a manner of saying that leadership is about directing others and telling them what to do, [and] it flipped my perspective,” he said. “Because it told [me] that leadership was about serving others, and showing that I’m going to help others and encourage them in their path.”
Armbruster also said that meeting professor Magilton and Dr. Rinehimer taught him about humility and passion.
“Professor Magilton has a passion for chemistry, which I absolutely love,” he said. “For the first month, he’s so militant and resolute. Really, you almost feel scared for a little bit. But what you realize is that is not trying to scare you away, he’s trying to raise a bar, and he’s trying to show you what he loves.”
“I remember walking into my first class, a Biology class with Dr. Charlie… and I saw, ‘Wow, he’s a doctor, I need to separate myself from him… I need to present myself in a certain way that I cannot present myself to a friend.’ Walking into that class that day it was completely different. He said, ‘Hey guys, I’m Charlie, you can call me Dr. Charlie, professor Charlie, anything you want.’ Right there, my awareness of how to teach others really changed. Because all of a sudden, Dr. Charlie became a friend and became approachable.”
Armbruster defined what being a leader meant to him.
“Being a leader is being a servant,” he said. “A leader brings himself to the bottom with others and shows he is willing to take the climb with them to the top.”