Just a few years ago, Ryan Henyard was making outreach trips as a presenter in high schools. Working for U-M’s Center for Educational Outreach, he visited schools to talk about opportunities at the university. Henyard started to think about the various ways he saw technology being used in these schools and he began to notice how education intersects with larger policies. “I took a chance to ask U-M faculty what it would look like if someone wanted to go into a field to address the needs that I saw, and a lot of them pointed toward moving into a program for higher education.”
Soon, Henyard became a part-time CSHPE master’s student with a concentration in student access and success. “The opportunity to work with some of the best faculty in the business was a major attractor,” he explains. “The idea that I could talk with faculty who helped transform education in a number of ways was really attractive to me, and also having the ability to make change here at Michigan.”
Henyard explains that his success is partly due to opportunities he received at U-M, starting as an undergraduate. He aims to build pathways for students with stories like his to be able to get into higher education and he has been able to apply his coursework directly to his work life. “Being able to go to class on Monday and apply what you learned on Tuesday is an amazing feeling.”
The program provided him a foundation to help him work more closely with underrepresented and underserved students while also giving him the opportunity to collaborate with scholars. He’s discovering new ways of thinking about problems and looking forward to publishing and working closely with programs like Wolverine Pathways that create pipelines for higher education. “These are things that are really only available to Michigan students,” he says.