Nothing makes parents prouder than their children’s success.
And Ryan Sullivan’s parents have a lot to be proud of when it comes to him.
From an early age, the University of Rhode Island geology major from Forked
River, New Jersey, has made wise choices that have led to life and school
success, including being named a 2013 National Ground Research and Educational
Foundation Len Assante Scholarship Fund Award winner.
Sullivan was involved in Boy Scouts for years culminating in
earning the rank of Eagle Scout. While he loves camping, hunting, and fishing,
his takeaway was far more than that. “Scouts teaches you a higher standing of
living. It instilled in me a set of morals that you don’t always find in young
people,” he said.
His love of the outdoors also contributed to his decision to
enroll in a special high school called MATES — the Marine Academy of Technology
and Environmental Science. “This school was an outlet where I could pursue my
education and environmental interests. We had a research vessel and were in the
field at least once a week,” Sullivan said.
It was at MATES that he got involved in the Envirothon,
which combines in-class and hands-on environmental education in a competition
that involves problem-solving as well as written field tests. His school team
won the state competition and competed at the national level.
Also during high school, Sullivan joined NGWA and its
affiliate, the New Jersey Ground Water Association, at the prompting of a
family connection, former NGWA President Art Becker, MGWC, CPG. “My father is
part of a fishing club where Art Becker is a member. I met with him a few
times, and he said I should join. It’s good to get my name and face in there,”
It was also in high school that Sullivan first developed an
interest in groundwater remediation through a class and is considering it as a
possible career path along with working for a soil conservation district, which
he’ll be doing this summer through the federal Natural Resources Conservation
Like many other New Jersey residents, Sullivan experienced
the power and destructive force of the environment during Superstorm Sandy in
2012. “You see storms on TV all the time, but you can’t really [understand] it
until you have refugees living in your house, lose a boat, and work on the
oceanfront,” he said. “It’s eye opening to see a storm affect a community like
that and see everyone come together.” Sullivan’s aunt, uncle, and cousin lived
with his family while his dad, a carpenter, helped repair their home.
It seems family and the great outdoors are inextricably
linked in Sullivan’s life. Asked what he enjoys most for relaxation and fun, he
was quick to answer, “Every year my father and I go bowhunting in North Jersey.
Spending time with dad in the outdoors is a big part of it.”
about the NGWREF Len Assante Scholarship Fund and how you can make a donation
to help kids like Sullivan achieve their dreams.
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