Ryan Soderquist, Ambassador

Ryan Soderquist


Geography, Economics


Community and Regional Planning

Omaha, NE

Why you chose your major

I first looked at potential careers that seemed interesting and Urban Planning stood out. I enjoyed my geography classes in high school and learned that geography was a good major for urban planning, so I chose that as my first major. I added economics spring of my freshman year when I realized I was interested in that field of study after taking AP Macroeconomics in high school and Principles of Microeconomics that same spring semester my freshman year.

Favorite course

ECON-440 Regional Development. This course relates to both of my majors and my minor incredibly well. It provided a spatial analysis as to where different types of buildings and land-uses develop within cities, as well as the economics behind this. We worked on the final project throughout the semester, which was great as it was very hands-on and analysis heavy. My project entailed determining if there was a correlation between public investment in transportation infrastructure and GDP Growth within the city. It was one of the few courses that had a direct relation to what I want to go into once I graduate from college.

Research, education abroad, or internship experience

I studied abroad during the Summer of 2018 in London at the London School of Economics. My program was six weeks long and was led by API, an organization that partners with UNL and specializes in studying abroad. I took two, three week courses while I was there. One was 'The Future of Urban Cities' and the second session was 'Trade, Development, and the Environment.' Both of these courses were super fascinating and taught by some of the most knowledgeable people in their field. I also made sure to have time to explore the city of London, the UK, and even took a trip to Switzerland for a short weekend because travelling is so cheap in Europe. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again given the chance.

Other involvement

I am the current Geography Student Organization (GSO) President for the 2019-20 school year. I have been the Vice-President and Treasurer for the past two years, and it has been a great learning experience. It has taught me how to (and how not to) get people involved in an organization and keep them active, as well as hosting events that are open to every UNL Student and faculty member. It requires communicating with multiple parties to plan events and outings, as well as working through the bureaucracy of a large system such as the University. These are skills that I expect to become crucial once I begin my career, so I am happy to have a head start. More than simply developing skills for the future, having people come to our events and seeing them excited about all things Geography is by far the greatest reward for being part of the executive team for GSO.

Why you chose Nebraska

In-State tuition and the fact that it was close to home were huge selling points, but the largest factor is probably the campus itself. UNL has a lot of people which was a positive for me, plus the campus itself is fairly compact so it's relatively easy to walk across campus without feeling overwhelmed.

Student Ambassadors group

Student Ambassadors are undergraduate students who talk to prospective students, parents, alumni, and the general public about the college.