Ryan is a junior in the Honors Program at the University of Delaware with majors in Environmental Studies and Public Policy, and a minor in Sustainable Infrastructure with a concentration in Planning and Design. In addition, he will earn a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation. Ryan is a Community Engagement Scholar, pursuing an academic program that prepares students for lives as engaged citizens. His interest in understanding the impact of green development on lessening the Urban Heat Island Effect led him to a two-year project modeling the cooling impact of urban gardens. Ryan is part of an inter-disciplinary team using this model to study a cluster of culturally significant green spaces in the Norris Square Neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Ryan aspires to a career in urban planning and community development in which he can assure all citizens have access to healthy and attractive green spaces.
I have taken much interest in the intersection of social justice and environmental sustainability, specifically in urban environments. I had the opportunity to perform research for two consecutive summers under the University of Delaware Summer Fellows Undergraduate Research Program and studied the impact of green development on the Urban Heat Island Effect in Northern Philadelphia. One of the newly proposed solutions to reduce UHI is the presence of urban gardens. I am concentrating on a cluster of gardens known as Las Parcelas, located in North Philly, which are a part of the Norris Square Neighborhood Project which seeks to reintroduce culturally significant green spaces honoring Puerto Rican, Western African and Indigenous Taino heritage and modeling them for their cooling impact on the city. Ensuring that all citizens have access to green spaces that are both attractive and beneficial to the environment and their overall health is essential to reducing health and lifestyle disparities between rich and poor populations. I wish to work in the field of urban planning and community development upon my graduation from the University of Delaware and determine ways in which areas can become more equitable, economically sufficient and environmentally friendly in accordance with one another.