Ryan graduated from the College Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee with a concentration in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Management followed by a Master's in Sociology with a minor degree in Environmental Policy. While there he worked with great folks fighting for environmental justice in Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville’s campus initiatives and with Mountain Justice’s campaigns across Appalachia. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the dept. of Sociology at the University of Oregon. His research interests are the dialectical relationship of society and nature, energy issues, and the political economy of resource extraction.