Ryan Michael Poehling Memorial Fellowship

Fund Purpose
GA: support a fellowship in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to assist graduate students majoring in Geography; donor requests that the recipients be selected by the Department each December.

Ryan Michael Poehling

Ryan Michael Poehling was a brave and intelligent young man. Born March 21, 1973 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, he encountered a life-altering experience at an early age. While only 16 years old, he was diagnosed with a cancer, Epithelial Sarcoma, which modern medicine—even today’s—knows little about. Through surgery, treatment, inner spirit and determination, Ryan won the battle.

Ryan went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, graduating with honors in 1995. He followed his dreams and goals to the University of Florida, where he entered as a master’s degree student in geography. In 1997, Ryan graduated with the highest honors and was chosen as Student of the Year. He was also the youngest person ever nominated for teacher of the year.

His master’s degree behind him, Ryan’s next goal was his Ph.D. Ryan set to work and had competed all of the requirements except one. As he neared the task of defending his dissertation, he was diagnosed again with the same cancer. Still, he pressed on and presented his dissertation but passed away on December 17, 2000 before finishing. His doctorate was awarded to him posthumously during UF’s commencement ceremony on May 15, 2001. The Ryan Michael Poehling Charitable Foundation established this fund in 2005 in his loving memory to help UF students achieve their educational and professional aspirations.

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