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Ceres man, 20, youngest grad at CSUS commencement
Of the 2,000 students earning their undergraduate degree at CSU Stanislaus on May 27, Ryan Maharaj stood out as being the youngest. Only 20, Ryan earned his bachelor of arts in Communication Studies with a GPA of 3.8.

Maharaj possesses many unique talents. He is one of the few dancers in the area who practices the Bollywood style of dance. Ryan learns a variety of movements from Bollywood films and uses that knowledge to create his own choreographies for various Indian songs. Ryan has had the opportunity to share his passion for Bollywood dance for the past three years at MJC's Choreographer's Showcase as well as CSU Stanislaus Dance Concert.

Additionally, Ryan has performed at CSU Stanislaus' "Warriors with Talent" show where he took second place.

Passionate about video making, Ryan frequent collaborates with friends on video projects which are viewable on his YouTube account "RyClaps."

Recently, Ryan had the privilege of collaborating with local poet and MJC English Professor Sam Pierstorff on a video poem which premiered at the Ill List Poetry Slam at the State Theatre in Modesto and also took second place in MJC's Celebration of Humanities contest.

Ryan participated on the MJC Speech and Debate team from fall 2008 to spring 2010. During this time he won numerous regional awards for his outstanding performances in informative speaking, poetry interpretation, and debate. Interestingly, his informative speech was on the Bollywood film industry and his poetry was taken from Sam Pierstorff. He was also given the chance to judge a high school speech and debate tournament held in Santa Clara December 2008.

Maharaj is an alumnus of YES Company. He performed in the 2007 production of Seussical the Musical and the 2008 production of The Wizard of Oz as well as in the Ambassador program.

Ryan has actively participated in the community as well. He served as Youth Director for a short time at Central General Baptist Church in Ceres (Jan. 2010 to August 2010). During this time he created and organized a monthly Sunday evening service ran by the youth and young adults. These services would consist of music, skits, poetry, speeches, and more.

During the summer of 2010 Ryan volunteered his time in the Human Resources Department at Samaritan Village in Hughson. He has also volunteered as an ambassador volunteer at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.