Alvernia attracts students from across the nation and around the world, but none have traveled further than Ryan Perry ’14. That’s because Perry, who hails from the land down under, ventured more than 8,000 miles from Canberra, Australia, to study criminal justice at the Reading, Pa., campus.
“Twenty-three years ago, my parents left New Jersey so my dad could work for six months at the Australian Institute of Sport as a sport psychologist; they fell in love with the place and never left,” Perry says. As a result, Perry was born there and spent the first 18 years of his life as an Australian citizen.
But when it came time for college, Perry was ready for something new.
“Growing up, I always wanted to attend college in the United States,” he says. “From what I heard and saw in the movies, going to college in the United States was totally different from the college experience in Australia. In Australia, you drive to class and only attend classes in your major. You don’t stay on campus, and there is no real social scene.” He wanted more, so Perry decided to look for schools across the Pacific.
Professors on a first-name basis
When Perry started his college search, he wanted a small Catholic university with Division III sports (because he played baseball at the time) and a good criminal justice program. Alvernia showed up at the top of his list, and he’s been thrilled with his American college experience since he enrolled.
“I felt a smaller school would really help me academically, and it really has,” Perry says. “Here, the professors know me on a first-name basis, and I can go into their offices whenever I need to. In class, I can put my hand up and immediately have my question answered,” he says.
Perry also chose Alvernia because of its baseball team, which he played on for the first part of his college years. “It’s a great group of guys with a lot of talent,” he says of the program.
Man with a plan
Perry is studying criminal justice at Alvernia with the ultimate goal of joining the Secret Service. Next summer, he plans to enroll in Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps. “I will attend the Reading Police Academy my first semester, finish the last of my courses my second semester, and then graduate with commission as a second lieutenant,” he says. “I will serve in the Marine Corp for six years and then hopefully enter the Secret Service when I am 29.”
As Perry kicks off the second half of his education at Alvernia, he plans to stay involved. “There are so many events happening on campus,” he says. To students just starting their journey at Alvernia, he says, “Leave your dorm room. Walk around campus. Go to the library and to the gym. Get involved in everything Alvernia has to offer so you can make the most of your college experience."
By: Elizabeth Shimer Bowers