Graduate Spotlight – Ryan Duda

Graduate Spotlight – Ryan Duda

Ryan is one of our spring 2021 graduates! He just graduated with a master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management. Ryan speaks fondly of both his academic and personal experience in our program. When asked about his favorite ACM&MS class, he says it’s too hard to pick his favorite! Ryan loved all his professors and course as each had its own place in his academic experience. He adds, “never judge a course by its title. Sometimes the topics you think you have little interest in will surprise you!” Ryan encourages other students to take advantage of every opportunity as you never know what the seeds you plant will turn into.

From Ryan’s perspective, “what makes the ACM&MS program so special is the people. Everyone cares about you so much and supports your every venture.” He says he has “never felt more celebrated and embraced as a student by both [his] professors and peers.” Ryan appreciates the flexibility and compassion that is integral to our program.

“The relationships you build add to your confidence in holding close the qualities that make you unique, and you leave a completely transformed person. You also have the freedom to craft your own education. It is truly a special program.”

Ryan told his professors that he wanted to leave the program knowing that he made a lasting impact–and what an impact he has made! This past spring semester, he had the opportunity to teach his own class. Ryan told us, “it was an incredible challenge that has left a profound impact on me. I fell in love with teaching; helping others frame the things I am passionate about through their own personal perspectives. Not only did this experience teach me how to be an effective educator, it taught me how to be an empathetic leader as I had to help my students receive a quality education while they navigated their individual unknowns of a pandemic.”

Ryan recently moved to Minneapolis with his partner and is hoping to settle there for some time. His work pre-graduation had been focused around making arts education more accessible, and he hopes to continue this work as he begins his career. Ryan is also interested in how arts and cultural organizations can use their resources to cultivate and transform their communities. Many congratulations, Ryan! We wish you all the best!