Ryan believes in design as a tool for social activism.

Driven by the power of personal conversation and interaction, she imagines every association within a community as part of the Community Design Ecosystem. A system where all stakeholders have a equal say in the conversation and work collaboratively. Rethinking design as problem-solving model, Ryan’s passion lies in creating situations for community members and designers to become involved on a personal level to create sustainable, long-term design solutions. This is where her commitment to design and her passion for the community connected to create a local nonprofit focused on community revitalization. ReInvision Huntingdon was started in 2015 in her hometown of Huntingdon, PA with the goal of making space for all members to bring ideas. 

A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, began her career as an Art Director publishing the Purdue Alumnus magazine while supporting graphic needs of the association and their international alumni clubs. She later completed a Master of Fine Art in Visual Communications Design at Purdue University while simultaneously instructing Art & Design courses in the Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Ryan was selected to participate in the highly acclaimed Camp Firebelly program in the Chicago-based Firebelly design studio. During the 10-day stay she was able to contribute as part of a team to several community-driven nonprofits, including Project Nia, You Are Beautiful, and even crafted a winning signature cocktail recipe for Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. This  experience helped shape her future career focused on community-driven research. Ryan has since shaped many graduating classes of student designers who have taken their passions into new communities around the world. 

Photo by Shania Lunsford. 2024.

Ryan currently runs the IMA Studio, a interdisciplinary studio focused on community engaged learning at Juniata College. Students in the Integrated Media Arts Program design real-world solutions that meet the needs of community partners. With the hope to make a positive contribution on future designers, Ryan hopes to educate the next generation of designers in the most meaningful way, teaching each student ways to use their imagination to make a difference in the world in addition to their local communities.

If you would like to know more about Ryan’s research and teaching experience, please download a current copy of her Curriculum Vitae.