Ryan Squires has more than one cause for celebration. The captain of the Oregon State lacrosse team is gloating over a recent win against the U of O Ducks, the first in more than a decade. And, the biological engineering senior is getting ready to graduate after four years of hard work. Together the two accomplishments – while seemingly different – have taught Squires an important lesson in time management.
“Balancing my obligations as a student and an athlete really made me stay organized and focused,” he said, adding that he performs better as a student during the lacrosse season, even with the extra load.
His athletic and academic careers parallel in other ways – with each presenting challenges he had to overcome. As a student, he had aspirations of going to medical school before realizing Oregon State’s biological engineering program emphasizes bio-processing. The transition, he admitted, was a struggle. But he soon became comfortable in the lab and turned out a successful senior capstone project, which was featured at the recent Engineering Expo. His team investigated ways to stabilize a blood-clotting drug called Factor VIII, which is hard to keep in a solution and therefore difficult to produce. Working with bioengineering Professor Joseph McGuire, they tested different ways to stabilize the drug and increase its yield.
Likewise, he joined the lacrosse team as a freshman and during a time when the group was at the bottom of the league. But, with time and effort, the team finished with an impressive season by his senior year. “I think we had a 4 and 8 season my sophomore year here, and we went 13 and 4 this year,” he said.
The U of O game was a perfect end to his college lacrosse career. Going into the match, Squires said expectations were low, since his team had lost to the Ducks a few weeks prior. But when OSU was up by at least three goals at halftime, victory was in sight. Squires, who plays an attackman position, even scored a goal, and the win propelled them to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association’s nationals in South Carolina.
Looking back at his time as a student and athlete, Squires sees the two demanding roles as complementary rather than competing forces.
“If you break them down individually, you come to the same conclusion: that working with a good team can really get you places,” he said. “In engineering, you have to rely on your team, especially during your last couple of years here. You have to be able to trust them, and you have to be able to follow through. And you definitely need to be able to do that on the lacrosse field.”
— Abby P. Metzger