Making an Impact Inside and Outside of the Classroom

Student. Problem solver. Speechmaker. Adventurer. Leader. For ISD student Ryan Moody, the list of titles could seemingly go on forever. The soon-to-be Energy Systems Engineering (ESE) graduate has already accepted a job with Shell Oil in Houston, where she?ll begin work as a Subsea Process Engineer in August after spending the summer backpacking in South America. An active member of both the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Minority Engineering Students, she recently attended the NSBE National Convention in Boston on an ISD travel grant. Ryan is now in the process of wrapping up her ESE Capstone Project focused on recommended changes to the EPA?s Clean Power Plan—a project she says tries to quantify potential savings and benefits that might be gained from inter-state collaboration. Oh, and did we mention she will be the College of Engineering?s Student Commencement Speaker this spring? Needless to say, Ryan is anything but one-dimensional.

“I don?t have a ton of free time,” she says, unsurprisingly.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from U-M, Ryan—who has always loved solving problems—was attracted to the interdisciplinary curriculum ISD had to offer, enabling her to take MBA-level courses through the Ross School of Business and courses in the School of Natural Resources and Environment for a “much more well-rounded education than a purely technical Master?s would provide.” She was also drawn to ISD?s projected-oriented coursework, which—often centered on real societal and environmental problems—turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

“In my undergraduate studies, professors would calculate interim deadlines for my classmates and I as an outline for the method by which we needed to solve the problem,” she said. “In ISD, we hear about issues that policy makers and environmentalists are struggling with and are then asked what we think, given certain data. We set our own timelines, we corroborate our own sources, and we build our own cases for why our solution is right.”

It?s with that focus on real, practical problem-solving that Ryan heads to Shell in August, ready to apply her breadth of engineering skills to ?one of the industries that is really helping shape the future and helping meeting world energy needs.?

In addition to her formal education and career, Ryan has taken advantage of opportunities beyond the realm of mere numbers and problem sets. Her recent trip to Boston for the NSBE National Convention offered a unique chance to interact with engineers from around the country facing similar challenges and pursuing similar goals.

?I feel very fortunate to attend a school that finds the mission NSBE is championing—increasing the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, achieve professionally, and positively impact the community—enough to send me,? she said.

And Ryan herself puts that mission statement into practice. After graduating, she hopes to resume tutoring in under-served middle or high schools in an effort to increase the pool of minority students interested in pursuing STEM careers.

?I?m motivated by the opportunity to bring together my technical skills and interests on work that positively impacts people?s lives.?

If ISD?s goal is to educate well-rounded thinkers with interdisciplinary skills, then Ryan is undoubtedly an example of success. Her academic focus has prepared her for a challenging and rewarding career in the energy sector, while her engagement outside of the classroom has helped shape Ryan into a dynamic leader and professional.

?My experience in ISD has been very positive,? she says. ?I feel very well prepared to begin my career after graduation.?