Ryan Callahan

Favorite Quote:

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

I was in the Ambassador program from 2014-2017. I graduated from Blair high school in 2017. Since then I went to UC Davis and graduated with a double major in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I didn’t start off knowing what I wanted to major in and eventually found my way to Civil and Environmental in my junior year. Throughout college I was responsible for my own finances and worked my way through school. Though it was a struggle, it taught me how to prioritize things when there is conflict and how to advocate for myself. Throughout school, I was eventually able to land paid, year-long, internships in fields I was interested. This made blending my needs for money and a desire to grow in my field easier and removed what was often a conflict of interest between needing to work and needing to focus on school. These experiences led me to winning fellowships, first as a Harkins Fellow for Entrepreneurship. The fellowship allowed my to develop a business idea, that implements a circular economy between established businesses and startups, and learn from others doing the same. Then I became a Bonnie Reiss UCOP Carbon Neutrality Fellow, where I spent a year working with the UC Davis Health Center to identify and implement projects to achieve carbon neutrality for the campus. After graduating I accepted an offer to work as an Environmental Planner at Kimley-Horn and was lucky to be able to take some time off for travel between starting work and finishing school. Currently, my work is helping clients meet environmental regulations and helping jurisdictions develop Climate Vulnerability Assessments.

My advice for current Youth Ambassadors:

No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s a job, school, or even just being with friends, throw yourself 100% into the moment. Especially with any job or schoolwork make sure you put in real effort from yourself to accomplish what you need for the day, even if it isn’t something you see for yourself long-term. It will pay dividends both in the short term and for your future. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for work in a field/job that you want when you have no experience in it. As long as you come with the mindset of “I may not know much but I want to learn about this” people will eventually give you a shot.