Ryan Brown says he received a lot of guidance along the way in his life and now it's his turn to do that mentoring for others.

Ryan Brown says he received a lot of guidance along the way in his life and now it’s his turn to do that mentoring for others.

Brown was making his mark in his community long before he became an adult. Back when he was a student he said he took classes that earned him dual credit, preparing him for success at college. Starting when he was just in junior high school he attended summer camps and Sunday Academies that emphasized Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. It was through Cankdeska Cikana Community College that he got involved with PEEC and NATURE camps that sparked in him an interest in and an aptitude for engineering. In fact, he is the first graduate of the PEEC program which is a collaboration with the tribal colleges of ND and North Dakota State University. Add to those experiences his involvement with American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) which he continues now as a professional and lifetime member.

He’s grateful for his parents and all the mentors who helped him on his journey, the 24-year-old told the Journal. He has garnered his experiences into a BS in Civil Engineering. He is a project manager for Spirit Lake Tribal Planning, where he works to better his home community. During his internship with SLT Water Resources, he assisted in the inspecting of the lagoon relocation project in the St. Michael District and expanding rural water projects on the reservation. He said while he was out surveying these projects using GPS, he would see several young boys hanging around, curious about him and what he was doing. It is their curiosity he would like to see one day spark an interest in them to study one of the STEM fields. If they see his success and achievements then maybe they would realize they could do it, too.

A multi-sport athlete growing up, Brown was into basketball, football, baseball, golf, track and field as a javelin thrower and bowling. Now he is in his second year as the boys basketball head coach at Warwick High School. Brown is grateful for the opportunity to work with the youth, and mentor them on the court while being an advocate for their excellence in academics.

Although as far as he knows he may be the first from SLT to become an engineer, he hopes that others will follow his footsteps and be inspired by what he has done. “I don’t want to be the only one,” Brown said. He’d like to see AISES involvement for younger students and hopes to see more and more young men and women from the reservation pursue their dreams of education and a profession.

Brown is also an advocate for slow pitch softball, which he enjoys playing during the summer months. His goal is to work with community members in continuing and sparking more interest in the sport on the reservation. "It starts with the youth involvement, and its our job as adults to teach our youth to work hard, but also have fun while you are doing it".

This articulate, educated and ambitious young man has had many experiences along the way that have provided opportunities that he hopes to see other young people from Spirit Lake experience, too. That's important to him. That's why we selected him as the first "Someone you should know: People making a difference" for 2018.