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The CavePhotographer

Ryan Maurer Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Perryopolis, Pennsylvania

The Horse Whisperer

Ryan Maurer finds beauty in rocket motors, firing up and lifting model rockets into the sky. He also finds beauty deep underground, in the caves he explores. And he finds beauty all over West Virginia’s rugged outdoor landscape. As a mechanical and aerospace engineering student at WVU, he’s found a community of friends who share his love for making and documenting beautiful discoveries.


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Ryan Maurer’s imagination carries him above the clouds, where rockets soar, and below the earth, to uncharted caverns. At WVU, he’s been able to pursue both his passions, while refining his ability to think, to see and to preserve his explorations for all time.

What is your career goal? 

Rocket motors, I really enjoy rocket motors.  Something in that area would be fantastic.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time? 

I don’t have free time!

What's your quote to live by? 

Someday we die. Today is not that day.

Where is your favorite view in West Virginia? 

Anything that needs to be lit up with a headlamp.

Favorite Morgantown restaurant? 

Black Bear Burritos

Favorite movie? 

“Apollo 13.”

Favorite song of all time? 

“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd 

If you could only visit one more place on campus, where would you go? 

Second Floor Computer Lab, with everyone in it!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 


If you were to title your own autobiography, what would it be? 

“Above and Below. “ I fly rockets and go caving.

What couldn’t you live without? 

My camera—it goes everywhere and does everything that I do.

Most valuable skill you have? 

I can visualize systems, both physical and abstract.

What about any hidden talents?​ 

Not sure, I can’t find them. 


Why did you choose to come to WVU? 

The outdoor community. I love engineering, but I love the outdoors more.

Why is WVU special to you?  

The community here is just fantastic. I don’t think you can find this anywhere else!

What's the favorite class you've taken at WVU? 

Dynamics. It’s also the most challenging class I’ve taken and the one I’ve learned the most from.

Who has been your favorite professor so far? 

Patrick Browning.

What's your most memorable moment at WVU? 

In October 2014, three friends and I photographed a gigantic underground room called Monster Cavern.  It was a hard 18-hour long cave trip, and we were four of less than 50 people to have ever seen the room.

What is WVU's hidden gem nobody knows about? 

Its outdoor community.

What advice would you give to a student thinking of coming to WVU? 

Don’t stay in Morgantown on the weekends. Go explore this beautiful state!

When I'm on campus, you can most likely find me … 

… in the second-floor engineering lab.

Where do you do your best studying? 


What advice would you give for surviving finals?  

Go have a nice relaxing day before finals.

What's your proudest accomplishment so far while at WVU? 

Starting the WVU Experimental Rocketry Club with two friends and going to Green River, Utah, two years later with one really, REALLY, big rocket.

Best thing about college life?  

You are mobile enough to do the best things of your life.

Worst thing about college life?  

The workload. It’s not hard — just heavy and non-stop.

How has WVU changed you? 

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.

What do you look forward to most as an alum?  

Helping the Student Grotto (caving club) and Experimental Rocketry Club.

Has WVU had an impact on your passion? 

Yes, it focused them into the outdoors.

What will you miss most about WVU when you graduate? 

This state. It’s gorgeous!

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