Meet Your Fellow Gustie: Addie Ryan
Most of us here at Gustavus go about our daily lives with attention focused on when we’ll get homework done or what we’ll do the next weekend. Our thoughts rarely stray from what’s happening on campus, but this week’s featured Gustie, Allison (Addie) Ryan, has her mind on other matters. Addie graduated from Gustavus in January with majors in French and international management, and is currently awaiting a year of study in Morocco as a part of her recently-awarded Fulbright scholarship.
A native of St. Paul, Addie is the oldest of four siblings. She describes herself as an involved, active, caring and passionate person. Perhaps above all, Addie is inquisitive and loves learning new things. Her three greatest passions are music, language and traveling. These interests have brought her all over the globe, including places such as Tanzania, France, Germany, Switzerland, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Spain, Ireland, England, China and Morocco.
Even though Addie has graduated, she still lives in St. Peter and remains very active in campus life. Addie participates in both the French and geography clubs while also volunteering with Study Buddies. She works for Gustavus Technology Services part-time and also puts time into an internship at Kids Against Hunger in Mankato, where she mostly performs office work. Among her many other interests, Addie likes to play tennis and has recently started teaching herself to play the guitar.
By receiving the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, Addie has become the fifth Gustavus student since 1996 to be named a Fulbright scholar. The scholarship program grants American students the opportunity to study in other countries to promote an exchange of international understanding. The program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals per year to more than 130 countries, where they lecture and conduct research in a variety of academic and professional fields. “I was pretty much in disbelief,” said Addie, on the initial news of her accomplishment. “I knew it would be slim chances for me to get it because so many people apply and very few are actually selected. I’m still in shock over it.”
Addie will study economics and learn Arabic while attending the Dhar el Mehraz University in the city of Fez, Morocco. As a part of the Fulbright scholarship, she will be doing research on microfinance as it affects Moroccan women. Microfinance refers to the provision of financial services to low-income clients, especially in the form of low-interest loans for entrepreneurs. Addie’s interest in this field was inspired by the work of Muhammad Yunus—a 2006 Nobel Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Her research will involve visiting various banks and businesses to assess how funds are being used.
Addie first became interested in Morocco through her Economic Development and World Resources course taught by professor Henry Hays. Her interest peaked when she traveled to Morocco while studying abroad in France during the spring semester of her junior year. Addie thanks Hays and her French adviser, Laurent Dechery, for helping her with the Fulbright application process. Coincidentally, Dechery is also the Fulbright adviser at Gustavus. “Laurent helped me get an early start on the application process last summer and Henry helped me a lot with the topic of my research,” said Addie. “Without help from both of them this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Thinking about what lies beyond her year in Morocco is difficult, but Addie thinks she may want to go to graduate school for a degree in international development. Whatever she decides to do, it seems fairly certain that Addie will be involving herself on an international level. Looking back on past years at Gustavus, Addie said, “I have really enjoyed the whole Gustavus experience, and I feel very fortunate to have had the resources and friendships that are present here at GAC.”
Photo by: Alex Stassen