Q & A with Alumna Kendra Ryan

Alumna Kendra Ryan graduated from the School of Marine Affairs in 2006, and recently received her PhD in Marine Sciences. She has crafted a multi-disciplinary, multi-interest career in Colorado and Africa. We had a chance to catch up with Kendra and hear about her many interests, her time at SMA, and advice she has for current SMEA students.

Can you give us a brief description of what you do?

I hold several occupations:

First, I am self-employed. I own/manage a yoga studio in a small destination vacation, mountain town in Colorado. My other instructors and I teach studio classes, private classes, and wellness classes for local businesses. I specialize in working with veterans and first responders.

Second, I am a Commander in U.S. Navy Reserves. I currently work for Naval Forces Africa, primarily coordinating and participating in U.S. Navy reserve support in southeast Africa.

Finally, I am a renewable energy consultant. I just finished my PhD in Marine Sciences, focusing on barriers to offshore wind energy development and the integration of this sector through marine spatial planning.

What do you like best about your job?

I love the diversity of my various jobs. As a small business, I am very involved in my community and its issues. With my jobs as a Navy Reservist and a consultant, I am involved in national and international issues.

How did SMA (now SMEA) help you prepare?

I loved the breadth of classes in the program – from ecology to economics to law to policy. With an engineering undergraduate degree, the School of Marine Affairs really prepared me to work as a scientist doing marine mammal research for the four years after my MMA degree, and then to undertake an environmental policy PhD. Plus, the connections I made during my time at UW have been invaluable. For example, I met a professor at a workshop in Rhode Island and interviewed one of my classmates for my research.

If you had one piece of advice for current SMEA students, what would it be?

Be open to opportunities and change. I have lived around the world and been fortunate to have some incredible experiences, just through talking to people and being open to synergies of ideas.