William Woods biology graduate earns Faculty Award

Joan Ryan
Joan Ryan

According to faculty at William Woods University, Joanie Ryan has an inquisitive mind and a true passion for the pursuit of knowledge. These qualities earned her the prestigious Faculty Award at WWU.

The Faculty Award is given to the graduate magna cum laude or summa cum laude “who, in the estimation of the faculty of William Woods, has shown exemplary devotion and commitment to the life of the mind.”

“She truly embodies the essence of the Faculty Award due to her ‘exemplary devotion and commitment to the life of the mind’ as evidenced by obtaining a 4.0 GPA while enrolled in the Honors Program as a biology major with minors in chemistry, physics and equestrian science,” her nomination read.

Ryan, who is from Longmont, Colorado, was recognized for her academic dedication during the Academic Convocation at William Woods University April 20.

In addition to being an outstanding student who is a constant contributor to intellectual class discussions, Ryan has been involved in a wide variety of activities. As a first-year student, she started a work-study position in the biology department and joined Alpha Phi, Campus Activities Board, Biology Club, Dressage Club, Pre-Vet Club and became a University Ambassador.

During her sophomore year she completed a Mentor-Mentee project with Jean Kraus looking at problem-based learning of equine health issues for the equestrian science students. Through her work-study, she started learning molecular techniques, which ultimately led to her becoming a Cox Scholar with Dr. Nicholas Pullen for the remainder of her college career.

Ryan has been inducted into Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa and Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society. She has held multiple leadership positions across campus, including Alpha Phi director of administration, new member educator, and chapter president; Panhellenic president; Biology Club treasurer and vice president; Omicron Delta Kappa vice president of programming; and Beta Beta Beta treasurer and president.

Her goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in microbiology and pursue a research-based career studying infectious diseases, thus committing to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.