Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ryan Buchanan ’18 is a fifth-generation service member and a first-generation college graduate—and now he’s giving back to his community in his first term as a State Representative.

Buchanan served four years in the Navy, joining right after graduating from high school in Virginia. After earning an associate degree in criminal justice, Buchanan and his wife found their way to New Hampshire to be closer to his family. He had started working towards his bachelor’s degree in Virginia, and he decided to continue that path at UNH Manchester

“My dad was always limited by his earning potential because he didn’t go to college,” Buchanan says. “If I wanted to have a better life for my kids, I knew I needed to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree.” 

During his time at UNH Manchester, Buchanan welcomed students to campus as an Orientation Leader, helped others in their job search as a Career Peer, planned student while working with the Student Involvement office and was a strong voice advocating for his fellow student veterans. His involvement in and contributions to the college community earned him the Ryan M. Pitts ‘13 Scholarship, which provides financial support to students who are veterans of military service.

We caught up with Buchanan to see what he's been up to since earning his B.A. in Business with a focus in accounting in 2018.

What are you doing now?

I am working on my first term as a State Representative, representing the people of Concord Ward 6. I sit on the State and Federal Relations and Veteran Affairs Committees. I am currently working on getting money out of politics, increasing the funding to our public-school systems (including UNH), and other social-economic issues. I am also a Municipal Auditor for Melanson Heath.

Outside of work, I have also begun playing Dungeons & Dragons for the first time with my niece, nephew, wife, and oldest son. I have been spending a lot of time with my two boys and my wife when I have free time.

What was the most rewarding part of your UNH Manchester experience?

The other students. They were and still are some of the best people, and I am blown away by the caliber of people that go to UNH Manchester. I also have to say the professors as well, and I feel I cannot mention one and not the other because I feel that they are so interlinked with each other. I go back to UNH Manchester to engage with the professors from time to time, and they truly make it a university that anyone would be proud to be a part of.

How do you feel your time at UNH has had an impact on where you are today?

My time at UNH Manchester helped me build a better understanding of the workings of businesses and how to grow and manage people and opportunities.

If you could give one bit of advice to incoming UNH Manchester students, what would it be?

Do not miss your time to bond and grow. There are tons of events, groups, and activities to get involved in, and if all you do is come to class and go home, you are only hurting yourself and taking away from your experience. 

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Learning does not end when you finish your program. You are always taking in new information, leave yourself open enough to listen. Your research does not end when you have your degree. Always question information and its source so that when you speak, it is from a position of knowledge and facts—because you never stop being a Wildcat.