Ryan Selvaggio 2015-2016
Selvaggio, an Ingram Scholar, Co-President of Habitat for Humanity, former Co-President of Grassroots, and current Head Resident of Carmichael Towers grew up in Marietta, GA and will be graduating from Peabody College in May with a degree in Human and Organizational Development. His interest in education and fostering innovative collaboration and partnerships inside communities stemmed from a summer project in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013 in which he worked to develop stronger relations between the school and the community; this interest has continued and deepened through his involvement in many nonprofit service organizations on and off campus, relationships with the Humphrey Fellowship Program’s Fellows and Staff, and teaching and internship opportunities in local Nashville public schools.
Through his fellowship project, “Turning Mirrors into Windows: Understanding International Models of Collaboration in Education from Teachers, School Leaders, and Community Leaders,” Selvaggio will be traveling to fifteen countries on five continents to examine how these various countries implement their educational systems and how, even in struggling educational systems, these countries have innovative approaches to collaborative, community engaged educational practices. Through a partnership with the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program here at Vanderbilt, a U.S. Department of State program in which educational professionals from designated countries come to Vanderbilt for leadership development and professional collaboration, Selvaggio has established contacts with current and past Fellows that he will work with as jumping off points and resources for his exploration into this theme in these countries. Through a series of observational protocols, surveys, and internal reflection tools, Selvaggio will meet with various members of the community to better understand the strengths and needs of their educational systems and how each community is using innovation and collaboration to go against educational disparities in their own unique ways.
“Ever since I returned back from my experiences in South Africa and reflected upon my time working in the middle of a partnership between a nonprofit and many stakeholders at a high school in Cape Town, I realized that even in areas of the most pronounced educational disparities, systems that work together to bring systemic change and various stakeholders to the table are truly the partnerships that will change the world. I am so thankful to Mr. Keegan, the Keegan Fellow Alums, and members of the selection committee for allowing me the humbling opportunity to travel around the world and see how communities are changing lives every day through their unique social constructs and innovative approaches to educational growth. I am also so grateful for the support of Nancy Dickson and Shannon White and the Humphrey Fellowship Program, Erika Larson and Clive Mentzel and the Office of Active Citizenship and Service, and my advisor Professor Mitchell Korn for all of their support, guidance, and advice they have brought to me during this process. I cannot wait for this next year of observation and immersion in order to come back to the United States a more confident, experienced, culturally attuned educational leader as I continue my career of sustained service to the incredible students of this country and world,” Selvaggio said.