One of the unique attributes of my job is that I have the opportunity to work with all groups at SAU--students, faculty, staff, and administrators--on a daily basis. As a result, I believe that I am in a position to advocate for positive changes that will impact all campus constituencies.
Ryan's first study abroad experience occurred when he was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. He had never even flown on an airplane before, but he wanted to make the most of his college experience so he decided to study abroad in London. This semester abroad dramatically changed his life. He grew up in a small town with very little international perspective. Study abroad gave him more confidence and an unshakeable desire to do more international travel.
His study abroad experience inspired him to earn a Ph.D. in British and Irish History at Northwestern University. In grad school, he was able to spend a year in Liverpool studying Irish migration in England. It was challenging to live in a former Irish slum, but it was a rewarding experience because he lived like a regular working-class Scouser!
After earning his Ph.D., he came to St. Ambrose University to start the Irish Studies Program. Ryan helped establish the Carlow, Ireland program, which quickly became Ambrose's most popular study abroad destination. He has served as the director of international education since 2007. He sees his college self in many of his students. He always tell them that he would not be where he is today if he had not studied abroad in college.
As director of international education, my primary job is to collaborate with students, colleagues, and international partners to enact comprehensive internationalization at SAU so the university can faithfully adhere to its mission, values, and guiding principles.