My Legal Studies professor demonstrated the idea that your professors are human too. They’re there for your benefit and to help you succeed.
The daughter of small business owners, Ryly is familiar with the opportunities and challenges of running a business. As a first year Wharton student, Ryly plans to concentrate in finance and hopes to pursue a corporate career. This year, Ryly is taking a range of business classes, including Legal Studies 101, Operations, Information and Decisions (OIDD) 101, and Management 101. She appreciates her professors’ candid teaching styles, notably her Legal Studies professor, Amanda Shanor, who made the class feel more relaxed by demonstrating how much she cared for each of her students’ learning experiences. Similar to Ryly’s high school teachers, Professor Shanor was able to make the course feel personal. Ryly felt comfortable reaching out to Professor Shanor whenever she had questions about course material. This semester, Ryly is enjoying her Management 101 and OIDD 101 courses, each of which have professors that invigorate lecture-style classes with real-world experiences and case studies.
Ryly discovered Penn at College Horizons, a pre-college program that empowers Native American high school students in their college search and application process. During the week-long program, Ryly’s conversation with Penn Admissions counselor Tina Fragoso resonated with her. When she was accepted, Ryly visited Penn for the first time and fell in love with campus. As part of her transition to college, Ryly participated in the Successful Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP), which fosters community among students from historically underrepresented and rural backgrounds. Ryly felt a strong sense of camaraderie with her STEP peers and always knows that she can find support and confidence in the bonds she created early on at Penn.
Ryly is also an active member of Natives at Penn, a student organization for Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native students. Ryly feels a strong sense of belonging in the student group, and revels in the connection she has with a fellow Native student from Oklahoma who also attended College Horizons. Together, the students uplift Native student voices on campus and raise awareness of Native culture through events with faculty and alumni, campus demonstrations, and celebratory get-togethers, including the annual Powwow.
In her Oklahoma hometown and in Philadelphia, Ryly is driven to give back. In high school, Ryly acted as a mentor for underclassmen at her all-Native American boarding school and was personally inspired to increase the high school graduation rates for her fellow Native American students. At home during the pandemic, Ryly continued to volunteer with the Cherokee Nation. With limited interactive activities permitted, Ryly boxed and delivered food to elders in the community. At Penn, Ryly continues to prioritize service. She joined the Mentors Program, a Program Community in Riepe College House. Through this year-long initiative, Ryly completed training and will act as a role model for elementary, middle, or high school students in West Philadelphia. Ryly has made many friends in the Mentors Program, all of whom share her passion for service and mentoring.
First year Wharton students build their leadership skills through conversations with professors and alumni, self-reflection, and hands-on problem solving in Wharton 101: Business and You. Working in teams, students act as consultants for real-world clients in the Penn and larger Philadelphia communities. For Ryly and her Wharton 101 team, this meant developing a business plan for the Penn Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT). Ryly appreciated that the experience was truly collaborative with each team member responsible for a different deliverable. Ryly was the direct contact with the client and provided a step-by-step guide to implementing the final business plan. With everyone working at the highest level, Ryly and her team successfully completed their (still confidential) strategic plan for MERT, which will be implemented on campus shortly.