Wartburg gave me multiple research opportunities

By Katie Hirv ’22

For Ryan Bonthius ’21, his college search was fueled by his love for science, as well as his passion for athletics. His variety of interests made it seem as though he would have to choose one or the other, until he visited Wartburg.

“I have dreamed of becoming a physician for a very long time and wanted to attend a college where I could engage in a rigorous curriculum that would challenge me intellectually. At the same time, I wanted to engage in my many interests outside the classroom,” said Bonthius, the Outstanding Senior in biology. “By going to Wartburg, I could be challenged by an excellent array of courses and continue my athletic career on the Wartburg track and field team, join several on-campus organizations, and participate in many activities that I had never experienced before. When I discovered these many opportunities, I knew that attending Wartburg would be a great decision.”

Choosing Wartburg has allowed Bonthius to dig deeper into his love for science through multiple research opportunities.

“For the past year, I have participated on a research team investigating a particular gene within the insulin signaling pathway of Drosophila species (flies). Because of the similarities of the pathway between Drosophila and humans, our work is contributing to a greater understanding of the human insulin signaling pathway. Also, as part of the Wartburg Scholars program and with the assistance of a biology faculty member, I have conducted an extensive literature review regarding the current knowledge of COVID-19. These projects have enhanced my ability to generate, present, and synthesize scientific data,” said Bonthius. “I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Waverly Health Center, which is located only a few blocks from the Wartburg campus. During these volunteer opportunities, I have witnessed high-quality patient care, which I hope to replicate in my future career in medicine.”

Ryan Bonthius

As he looks ahead to his next step, Bonthius plans to begin medical school in the fall in his hometown of Iowa City.

“I will be attending the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine with the aspiration of becoming a pediatric cardiologist. Being on a pre-med track, I have been engaged in a curriculum that has prepared me for medical school and my future as a physician,” Bonthius said.

In addition to having incredible opportunities inside the classroom, Bonthius also has made life-long memories on the track team.

“During my freshman year, the men and women’s track and field teams both won the conference track meet at Coe College. It was an exhilarating experience, and I am honored and grateful for being a part of that team. Although the men’s team had the title firmly in grasp toward the end of the meet, the position of the women’s team was still in question. Following the final event, after several long minutes waiting for the officials to release the results, it was finally announced that the Wartburg men and women’s teams had both won, with the women’s team narrowly edging another team by one point. The emotion from the athletes and coaches at that moment was unlike anything that I had ever experienced,” said Bonthius.

As he prepares to graduate at the end of May, Bonthius reflected on his co-curricular and academic involvements.

“Do not hesitate to get involved on campus. Wartburg offers many valuable experiences and opportunities for students. These opportunities provide great ways to meet new people and experience new things,” Bonthius said.