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Growth and Happiness: Alumna Brittany Ryan’s Path to New Zealand
07.15.14 |
People measure success in different ways. If the metrics are happiness and growth, then Lebanon Valley College alumna Brittany Ryan ’11 has found a simple formula: being persistent and receptive.

After spending a semester in New Zealand through the study abroad program, Ryan knew her calling card was working abroad. However, before finding a job overseas, she first pursued work for the Hershey Company in Utica, New York. After a two-year stint in upstate New York, a lot of hard work, and some networking, an opportunity opened up at International Volunteer HQ in New Plymouth, New Zealand. There, along with roughly 20 co-workers, she funds volunteering projects in partnering nations.

New Zealand provided Ryan with a newfound happiness; the beauty of a foreign place once again mesmerized her. Yet, it was something else that separated the place from everywhere else. “The landscapes are beautiful, but what really makes this place special are the people here,” Ryan said. For her, the small cities and close community atmosphere are what make New Zealand resemble LVC.

When asked about her memories of the College, Ryan said, “The relationships form the fondest memories of LVC to me.” The bonds she created with professors, coaches, and friends allowed her to grow as an individual. “I look up to people like Dr. David Rudd (professor of business administration), Mary Pettice (associate professor of digital communications), Jill Russell (director of study abroad), and Jim Monos (head football coach),” Ryan said.” They helped me become the person I am today.”

Another part of Ryan’s growth came from the realization she had to be receptive to different points of views. Being a kicker for the football team provided her with the opportunity to become more open. “When you are in a team, you have to cooperate with people of all sorts.” Ryan explained, “Your teammates’ views might be completely different than yours, which makes you become more receptive to different perspectives.”

During her College years, Ryan was highly involved in multiple programs, but the one she spoke most highly of was studying abroad. “Studying abroad was by far the best thing I could’ve done for myself,” she stated. “The experiences not only helped me in the working world, but allowed me to expand my point of view.” Based on her experiences at LVC, she advises future generations of LVC students to develop their way of thinking by meeting new people and challenging their own views.

Ryan has accomplished a lot in her lifetime. She holds the NCAA points record for a female kicker, has held office positions in multiple on-campus organizations, and is achieving early success in her career. Accomplishments aside, what truly makes her successful is that she understands how to derive happiness from the small things in life, like biking to work, going out for wine with friends, or enjoying the landscapes of her new home. 

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