University of Missouri–St. Louis junior Ryan Bradley is more than a year away from graduation, but he has already become the owner of a clothing company, manager of a scholarship trust and an award-winning break dancer.
Bradley, a resident of O’Fallon, Mo., began break dancing five years ago. He actively competes in battles and challenges all across the United States, and is widely known in that community as “Whispers” because of his soft-spoken nature.
As a scholarship recipient himself, Bradley, an accounting major, was concerned about the lack of scholarships available to those with talents outside of the normal academic or athletic realm.
“I know I work hard or harder than the average quarterback at breaking, but my talent isn’t recognized by any scholarship,” he said. “I wanted that to change.”
Bradley co-founded the T-shirt and accessory company Intelligence Reigns Supreme. IRS began in the fall of 2010 with one simple goal in mind, to recognize and support college students whose talents are not traditionally acknowledged by academic institutions. A percentage of all sales go toward endowing the scholarship trust.
“We give scholarships to those with extraordinary talents,” Bradley said. The first scholarship was awarded this past spring to a break dancer from Iowa. The hope is to grow the trust with the plan of awarding several scholarships a year.
As a break dancer himself, Bradley knows the dedication it takes to compete. He’s suffered numerous injuries including recently damaging the medial collateral ligament in his knee. But he also knows the reward. Not only has he won cash and titles in break dancing competitions, but he’s also gained respect.
“It’s like being famous for a little while,” he said. “You travel to these competitions in other cities and you’re like a celebrity, and then you come back and it’s back to being normal. It’s nice to have that excitement.”
But even Bradley’s normal life isn’t typical. Off the dance floor, he stays active as president of UMSL’s Delta Sigma Pi and a member of the Accounting Club, Student Investment Trust, Beta Alpha Psi, University Ambassadors and Student Policy Committee. He also completed an internship last summer with Express Scripts and is currently an intern in the consulting arm of Brown Smith Wallace in Olivette, Mo.