Cailin Ryrie '11
Unbound to Suburbia
Although Senior Cailin Ryrie grew up in one the largest suburbs outside of Boston, she was eager to leave her life of conveniences behind. “There’s a lot of materialistic value on things where I’m from; I wanted to go somewhere that had more inner value,” she says. That’s when GMC made a good first impression.
“I remember going to a college fair where I saw GMC’s table sandwiched between these two large universities—Ohio State and Florida State. It was very welcoming.” During the windy drive in from Newton, Mass., Cailin remembers her folks’ light-hearted skepticism; although they weren’t sure if a rural environment was what Cailin was looking for, she certainly was.
“I had an intuitive feeling that I wanted to go here. Half-way through my tour I said to myself: ‘This is it’,” she says.
Similar to her desire to immerse herself in a new environment, Cailin’s academic interests centered on studying and helping people who came from drastically different backgrounds than her.
“Social work appealed to me because it applies to everything. You can examine anything through the social or anthropological lens,” she says.
Putting her convictions to work over the next four years, Cailin consistently made the dean’s and president’s lists, received the Academic Achievement Award in Sociology/Anthropology in Spring 2010, served as Vice President of the Anthropology club, and is currently the UTA (undergraduate teaching assistant) for a class in Women’s Studies.
Recently, Cailin has interned at the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter.
“I told them bluntly that I wanted to be on the crisis and social network side of things,” she says.
Cailin says that the work is often difficult, but always rewarding. “It’s traumatizing sometimes, but you have to remember that it’s not about you. These people are getting help.”
Last spring, Cailin also took her studies abroad to Roehampton University in London. A class in refugee studies stood out in particular. “It was a reminder that there are human needs in every situation,” she says.
Cailin reflected on some of the more profound lessons learned from her time at GMC: “I started asking myself, ‘Why do people have the problems they have?’ And I had this big realization that problems don’t ever just happen—they’re part of a systemic process.”
After graduating, Cailin has plans for graduate school, aiming to earn a degree in clinical social work. Ultimately, her true goal is to be a real support block for those in need. “In terms of underprivileged populations, I don’t want to work or present myself as an outsider—someone who just comes in, ‘fixes’ something, then leaves. I want to be someone who works from within.”
In her view, that’s the key to helping those in need and furthering the cause for social sustainability.
By Chad Skiles ‘12