May 28, 2014

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“Road Less Traveled By” Leads Student
To HCC, Cornell

BRIDGEPORT – Housatonic Community College graduate and Bridgeport resident Ryan Lee knows the proverbial “the road less traveled by.”

It’s the road that took Lee from his native Nebraska, to Alaska, to Bridgeport and to HCC. It’s the road that, in the Fall, will take him to Ithaca, NY and Cornell University, where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in the novel field of Biology and Society.

The 31-year-old Lee, who received a GED rather than the typical high school diploma, spent much of his 20s travelling. These journeys took him to Alaska, where he served as a deckhand on tour boats and whale-watch cruises.

It was here that he developed his fascination with the environment and the world of nature… and decided he would like to make this a career.

That meant a formal higher education. When he moved to Bridgeport, he felt it was the time and place to start. For a college, he selected Housatonic.

He’s glad he did. “I wanted to work toward getting a high quality education and Housatonic was the best in the area,” he said.

“Housatonic exceeded my expectations,” he added. “It was a great opportunity. All of my professors were great.”

Among the professors he praised were Honors Program advisor and English Prof. Rob Nelson, “who taught the best class I took;” Biology Prof. Tony Pappantoniou, “who helped me crystalize in my own mind what I wanted to do with my education;” Business Prof. Charles Meyrick, “a great teacher, one of the best HCC has,” and Chemistry Prof. Elizabeth Steeves, “an absolute dynamo of a professor.”

Cornell, an Ivy League school with a reputation for academic quality, presented an opportunity for him to craft his own study plan in an environment well suited for these studies. Ithaca, he said, is a naturalist”s dream.

Ultimately, Lee would like to work as an educator and a conservationist, blending field work, classroom teaching and writing. Like the narrator in the Robert frost poem “The Road Not Taken,&”; Lee, with his circuitous path to Ithaca, took the road less traveled by. And, for his career objectives, “that has made all the difference.”