A knee injury sidelined student-athlete Ryan McNulty, of Jacksonville, Fla., from playing baseball next spring, but he is not wasting time bemoaning his situation. After finding out that he would be unable to play, he turned his attention to an academic opportunity that will take him on the road to the nation's capital beginning in January.
McNulty, a junior political science major, has been selected to spend the spring 2012 semester in the nation's capital through the Washington Semester internship program of the University of South Carolina Honors College. To qualify, McNulty had to meet certain academic requirements and submit to a rigorous application process that included a written essay and an interview by members of the Honors College selection committee.
The internship, which is part of Lander's Honors International Program, is a paid position and, in addition to earning course credits, McNulty will witness firsthand the workings of the federal government. Most interns spend a semester working in the office of a member of their state's congressional delegation. They also can sample cultural opportunities available in the nation's capital when they are not working or attending evening classes.
McNulty said he would like to work in the Treasury or Commerce department or another federal agency that deals with economic issues. He said, "I have a passion for politics and a fascination for the economics of business. My goal is a career that combines both in a single job." He said the Washington semester will open up possibilities of graduate school and job opportunities.
McNulty is an outfielder on Lander's baseball team and he decided to apply for the Washington internship after finding out he would not be able to play ball this spring. Last April, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during a team workout and underwent surgery in May. Now, he is undergoing formal rehabilitation under the supervision of Lander trainer Brian Wells.
The 21-year-old McNulty, who bears a striking resemblance to actor Russell Crowe, said he would consider playing professional baseball if drafted, but it would not discourage him from pursuing his career goals.
He holds a unique national NCAA award that he earned during last year's baseball season when, according to the association's 2010 statistics, he led the nation in being hit by pitches. That season, he came to bat 200 times and had the dubious distinction of being hit in 28 of those appearances, more than any other college baseball player in the country. Asked why he was such a target for opposing pitchers he admitted to a habit of, in baseball parlance, "crowding the plate."
In addition to his academic and athletic pursuits, McNulty is a volunteer tutor at Greenwood High School, working with a group of four to six students twice a week.
His grade point average of 4.0 has earned him membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science national honor society. He has won Lander's 2011 baseball academic award and been named to the President's List and the Peach Belt Conference Gold Level Honor Roll in each of his three years at Lander.
He is vice president of Lander's Political Science Association and a member of the university's People to People chapter.
McNulty is the fifth of five Lander students who applied for the Washington Semester internship, all of whom were accepted. The first was Jeremy Babb, of North Augusta, followed by Andrew Willis, of Willington and Ty Grogan and Conner Lewis, of Greenwood. All four spent semesters working in congressional offices.