Coordinator of the Month: Ryan Fightmaster

Posted 04/17/2014 | By HealthCorps

Name: Ryan Fightmaster

Age: 24

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

College Attended / Major: University of Oklahoma, Entrepreneurship and Venture Management

HealthCorps School Placement: ASTEC Charter Schools in Oklahoma City

Fun Fact: I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for a year and love it. Never thought that I could give up cheese fries for fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes but it just feels right.

Jeffrey Hartinger: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?

Ryan Fightmaster: Graduation was on the horizon. I had already been accepted to medical school but was searching for a true motivation to attend, other than going back to school because all of my friends were… Then I got the call. While in college, I worked for the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center doing research and a person there had heard about the coordinator gig with HealthCorps. I looked up HealthCorps online and thought, “Yeah, that looks pretty cool but I think I’m good.”

A few days later it hit me while I was walking down the street, “This HealthCorps job could change the rest of your life man. You have to apply.” I did and the rest is history, as they say. Best decision of my life.

JH: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?

RF: Watching students find a connection with physical activity. It started with a small group of us running on the weekends. Then we began competing in 5K races. Our students then launched a First 5K club that aimed to recruit more runners. Now 25 runners meet each week to train in the local neighborhoods. They ran as a team in the relay race of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Diego, a junior, ran 17 miles of the marathon with only training for six miles!

JH: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?

RF: Living with diabetes is close to my heart. I was diagnosed with type 1 at nine years old. That’s undoubtedly shaped who I am today and my future. Right now I’m working on a lifestyle blog with another person with diabetes that’s set to launch anytime! Our goal is inspire diabetics to live a real, fulfilled life based on what they want, not what’s expected of them. Check out DiabetesDailyGrind.com soon.

Running allows me to see things, which connects me with nature. I’m running my first marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on April 29th.  No expectations. Just looking to enjoy all 26 miles.

JH: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?

RF: Medicine found its way back into the path. After I accepted the coordinator position at HealthCorps, the University of Oklahoma granted me a two-year deferment. With interests in internal medicine, preventative care, and integrative medicine, I hope to explore those avenues during the next four years.

HealthCorps showed me the power of relationships and lifestyle change when you commit to believing in people. That’s the motivation I was searching for two years ago.

JH: What is one thing you have learned from your placement that you will be able to carry with you as you move forward in life?

We all need someone to believe in us. We are capable of anything. Too often, our students don’t have that person in their ear telling them, “You can do this. I believe in you.” When young people have that kind of backing, it changes everything.

We want to thank Ryan Fightmaster for his exceptional work and congratulate him for being this month’s coordinator of the month.

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