Over the past few weeks, Ryan has joined the Biocitizen NY team as a volunteer for the Our Place Summerschool. He is currently entering his senior year of high school at the University School in Cleveland, Ohio and, this summer, he took it upon himself to travel across the country, rent an apartment, and live alone for the first time in his life — just so that he could be a part of this special project. As someone always looking for a challenge, Ryan was eager to get involved with Biocitizen NY and reached out to our directors to see if there might be a way to get him in the field. Eventually, Ryan joined us as a volunteer and junior staff member where he worked with students, learned and taught basic environmental philosophy, and even drafted content pieces for our blog. We have loved having Ryan with us this season and look forward to watching him grow as a leader.

At the University School, Ryan takes courses such as AP United States History, AP Men and Women, and Post-AP Spanish, as well as being a member of his school’s ice hockey team. Additionally, Ryan is part of the Strnad Fellowship program, which is a selective program that provides students with funding for an independent project. Ryan’s project uses photography and printmaking to create prints using on various media (such as plastic, metal, glass, and fine paper) by using an array of printmaking techniques. His project displays his creative passions for fine art and technical skills. Ryan is looking to pursue a degree in international business and Spanish, and he looked to Biocitizen to supplement and contextualize these interests through the interactive and immersive education style of field environmental philosophy that is uniquely practiced here.

Personal Statement

When I was younger, I acknowledged the presence and power of the great outdoors, but it wasn’t until I started high school that I began to really make an effort to engage with my physical surrounds and try to understand my relationship with it. My curiosity of the unknown led me to spend free periods roaming the acres surrounding my school. During lunch periods and free blocks, I would venture into the woods to explore the area beyond our school’s coveted trout hatchery. There, I began to appreciate the opportunity I had to discover the flora and fauna that surrounded our campus. My love of nature blossomed from there and prompted me to travel to Mongolia experience a completely new culture. There, I learned about a unique nomadic culture that depended upon nature and learned to work within the natural processes to survive. My experiences discovering rural areas, such as those the Mongolians lived upon, as well as, the area in which my school was built upon, helped develop a deep interest in understanding my place.

I am, therefore, extremely excited to volunteer with Biocitizen NY this summer. I look forward to sharing my fascination with nature and its interconnections with the Our Place students and to taking this unique opportunity to learn and teach about our collective impact on an urban ecosystem.


Source: Biocitizen, Inc. – New York, NY

About the author

Ursa is the Assistant Director of Biocitizen NY. She is also currently studying Political Science and Human Rights at Columbia University.