Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Ryan Powell: champion runner, and rural scholarship recipient

Hailing from Devonport in Tasmania, Ryan Powell’s only travel thus far has taken him to the Australian mainland. But Sydney is glad to have him, and has shown it by awarding him with both a UNSW scholarship and one of Warrane College’s rural scholarships.

In his first year of university, Ryan is studying engineering – something that’s interested him since around Grade 9 or 10.

“Our maths teacher got us to search up jobs that involved maths… Came across engineering, just investigated it from there,” he said.

His ideal job is amongst the renewable energy sector, he said. “I want to do something that’s helpful to society; something that’s meaningful.”

And renewable energy isn’t all he’s passionate about. As it turns out, Ryan placed fourth in the Australian Junior Championships for running back in 2014 – something he regards as the hardest and most rewarding thing he’s ever done.

“It was probably a few years of training, and six months of really intense training,” he said. “And it all came together like I never expected… Shows what you can achieve with a bit of hard work.”

For Ryan, a ‘bit of hard work’ involved running every day for an hour or two. But it obviously paid off, with another big achievement being his win of the Victorian state five-kilometre championships in 2013. In this case he even broke the Tasmanian under-16 five-kilometre record, which had stood since 1988!

It’s no surprise then that he runs cross country for the college.

The youngest of three kids, Ryan has a sister and a brother. His parents are in Tassie, but he visits on semester breaks and they drop into Sydney maybe once a semester. When asked who inspires him, it’s his parents who made the cut.

“They both didn’t have much growing up but made the most of their opportunities, and now allow me and my siblings to have the opportunities we have,” said Ryan.

Apart from college life and running, Ryan loves watching sport and getting to the beach. He’s keen to travel to Germany one day; a place he’s always had a fascination with. In fact, if he could pick a new skill, he’d be keen to learn another language: either German or Mandarin.

“I think Mandarin would be really useful in the workplace, if you were working internationally. And German just because of my fascination with Germany…I think the German language is pretty interesting.”

So why did he initially decide to apply to Warrane? “It just looked like a place where everyone knew each other,” said Ryan. “And obviously they were really good with their sport, and academically as well.”

And after settling in, “absolutely love it” were Ryan’s words of choice to express how he’s enjoying living at Warrane. “Everyone knows each other, and everyone goes above and beyond to help you. That’s probably what I was most shocked about – the older guys there, if you’re struggling with anything, they do everything they can to help you out.”