Ryan Turner ’18
“When a young person finds their voice, activates that voice to establish change within their communities and sees the results of their work, it greatly impacts their sense of self efficacy, desire to want more for themselves, and cements a desire to keep going even when things get tough.”
When Ryan Turner attended Coppin, his classes were in the evening. “My classes were filled with working adults, and one of the things I loved most about that was seeing the tenacity and determination of my classmates. Many were working moms, men with multiple jobs and more. Yet, we all had the tenacity and unwavering determination to graduate,” Ryan recalls. While learning about teamwork was a valuable lesson, I wish I knew how to better leverage my resources and ask for help when I needed it.”
One of Ryan’s ultimate challenges was balancing the demands of work with the requirements of school. On many occasions he pulled “all-nighters.” “Towards the end, I discovered a rhythm and a schedule that worked.” Passing Dr. Harry Legum’s statistics course was a major victory. “But, he said with ease, Dr. Legum had a way of making statistics so practical and digestible that I passed with an A.” Ryan’s other successes included being inducted into Beta Kappa Chi National Honor Society in Science and Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology.
While at Coppin, Ryan operated a nonprofit. That experience and his degree enabled him to procure a job at Community Law in Action (CLiA), a much larger non-profit organization, and to become its first African American executive director. “Community Law in Action is a youth leadership organization based in Baltimore City. We provide opportunities for them to create positive changes in Baltimore through public policy and advocacy. Our youth are often at City Hall or in Annapolis testifying for or against bills. This year, some of our youth are developing policy recommendations that address equity and trauma informed care.”
Ryan considers himself to be a change-agent, someone with a clear vision for his organization and the community he serves. “Much of the work I do consists of investing in our youth. I believe there is hope for everyone. But, when we intentionally invest in our children, we invest in strong and sustainable futures for all of us.” He is also involved in several community service initiatives around the Coppin Heights area.
Ryan attributes his desire to encourage and uplift the youth to his upbringing. He had a host of supportive adults in his life. His mother, also known as “The Warden,” was a single mother and a strong disciplinarian who raised two boys. She wanted nothing less than the best for her sons; and she gave good advice. And Ryan wants the best for Coppin students, and he offers this advice, “Don’t limit yourself to make other people feel comfortable. Give yourself permission to fully immerse yourself in your purpose. Once you do this, many things will fall into place.”