Loras Education Leads Alum to Jamaica

Where can a liberal arts education take you?  How about Jamaica? Ryan Hanlon (’03), has just been appointed as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, through the U.S. State Department.

“As a foreign service officer, I am part of the United States Diplomatic Corps and function to positively represent the United States of America while supporting our mission to ‘promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad’. It is at once the culmination of my personal, professional and academic endeavors, as well as the beginning of a great opportunity for me and my family,” explained Hanlon.

“Loras provided me both the initiative and desire to explore the world while maintaining a strong connection to Iowa. Through Loras I was able to explore the southwest United States during a mobile geology course, receive world class lectures on 19th century art in Paris with Prof. Alan Garfield and interact with exchange students from Colombia, all presented through the context of a fantastic liberal arts education and the Loras and Dubuque community. After these experiences at Loras, I realized the world was full of opportunities, even for a kid from rural Iowa; I just had to reach out and find them.”

Hanlon enlisted in the Army after graduating from Loras and served three years before leaving active military duty to pursue his dream of a law degree. Before returning to Iowa to attend Drake University Law School in Des Moines, his path took him to Afghanistan, where he worked for a year as a site manager for World Wide Language Resources, a company providing linguist support to military and government agencies.

With law and masters of public administration degrees now in hand, Hanlon is excited to embark on a new chapter, while embracing his Iowa and Loras foundation.

“Loras encourages personal exploration and independence while providing a long-lasting and sustainable connection to the community,” he notes. “My path was not what I expected when I came to Loras, but I’m grateful for those who have supported me as I’ve realized my dreams. My first assignment will take my family and me to the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, for two years, and then anywhere in the world is a possibility!”
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