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. 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. Working on projects that meet the goals of the client and meet the needs of the community is key. A 2008 graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ryan completed a Master of Fine Art in Visual Communications Design at Purdue University in 2013 while simultaneously instructing undergraduate Art & Design courses in the Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Ryan Kough in the studio

Ryan was selected to participate in the highly acclaimed Camp Firebelly program as a camper in 2012. During the 10-day stay in the Chicago-based Firebelly design studio, she was able to contribute 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 10-day experience helped shape the community-driven research completed at Purdue University in addition to shaping the future passions Ryan has taken into her classroom and communities across the nation.

Ryan currently works with Juniata College students in the Integrated Media Arts Program to design real-world solutions that meet their community partner needs. 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.

Recent Research + Community Development

With a strong passion for developing sustainable relationships between those in the Huntingdon community and at Juniata College, Ryan works to build real-world experiences in the classroom through community partnerships. Students have most recently partnered with local organizations, including the Huntingdon Community Center and Huntingdon House organizations, through the Integrated Media Arts Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) designated courses. Implementing community-engaged learning courses at Juniata is not the only way Ryan dedicates much of her time and energy. She is the founder of ReInvision Huntingdon, a local revitalization nonprofit where she oversees the Huntingdon Community Food Garden initiative. Additionally, she has served the community by acting as a member on the Huntingdon County Arts Council Board of Directors, Strategic Alliance of Economic Growth Committee (SAEG), and the Huntingdon Landmarks Downtown Opportunities Committee to assist in energizing the local community.

For the love of wood type

Following a 2011 spring trip to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum for a letterpress workshop, Ryan grew a new love for typography in the form of wood type. Since then, she has returned to Two Rivers, WI, for workshops, the annual Wayzgoose Type Conference, and to work on multiple occasions as a Printer in Residence to support the museum by printing, sorting, and archiving the world’s largest collection of wood type. As of 2022, Ryan is restoring a Vandercook No. 2 Proofing Press and a Craftsmen Monarch Platen Press in her home studio. She is currently working to restore these historic artifacts and hopes to share her love of printing by offering letterpress and printmaking workshops to the community in the near future.