Ryan Neese (re)discovers his passion, charts a course to become a dietician

Ryan Nees

After being out of school for over a decade, Ryan Neese decided to attend Evergreen and pursue his passion for science and nutrition.

“I’ve been working as an early childhood educator for more than 10 years,” he says. “So, I decided I would like to further my education in the sciences.”

After researching several universities and schools, Neese found Evergreen. Evergreen’s innovative policies on evaluations, interdisciplinary programs, and self-directed curriculum attracted him to the college.

“It was what I was looking for in a school,” he says. “I had no idea what I wanted to do coming back to school. It gave me some flexibility to figure that out.”

Neese decided to jump right into science. His interest in hiking and the outdoors motivated him to study environmental studies until he realized his true passion was nutrition. Now, to prep for further nutrition studies, he is enrolled in the year-long Integrated Natural Sciences (INS) program studying biology, chemistry, and geology.

“I enjoy understanding how everything in the natural world works, knowing the history behind it, how it builds up and helps us explain new things,” he says.

When he isn’t studying, Neese enjoys working at the campus Children’s Center. For most of his career, he has worked with children, from infants to age 12, including kids with special needs.

“It’s really familiar and comfortable for me,” he says. “It definitely lightens up my week when I’m swamped with reading and papers to write.”

Next year at Evergreen, Neese will continue to earn graduate school prerequisites, such as biochemistry and organic chemistry, in hopes of moving on to the University of Washington’s Master of Science in Nutrition program. Neese plans to eventually become a registered dietician and work in a clinical sector.

 “I want to help people manage and prevent chronic diseases through health and lifestyle changes,” he says.