Brown Bag Lunch with Dean Ryan

I was in class when an email popped up inviting students to a brown bag lunch (BBL, as the email said) with Dean Ryan.

I wanted to meet Dean Ryan. I eat lunch. I didn’t know what the brown bag format was all about, but I jumped on the chance to find out. These events fill up in minutes.

RSVP yes….aaaaand send.

What is a BBL?

Twenty-five students and Dean Ryan sat in a classroom with our chairs in a circle. We introduced ourselves.

Hi, I’m Meredith. I’ve never greeted someone before.

And then Dean Ryan brought up a question for us. What did we think of the common reading that had been suggested (strongly) to all of HGSE (students and professors) over the summer? The reading was Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steele, and while there was a positive reaction to the book itself, there were a few challenges in how to structure follow-up conversations and actions as a community.

What surprised me most at the BBL was how genuine Dean Ryan was. He put forward a problem and really wanted us to come up with the solution.

The talk opened up to other student concerns, including mention of The Moth, a storytelling event where people get a chance to share a story with the audience. I love the Moth and storytelling in general, which leads to the interactive portion of this blog post:

Would you (readers of this blog) be interested in a HGSE Moth podcast? Please leave a comment!

At the end of lunch a friend mentioned that a selfie with Dean Ryan had been on her bucket list. We asked and he kindly agreed while noting it was the thousandth selfie request of this year. What a trooper.

Selfie with Dean Ryan

Meredith Dreman is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Prevention Science and Practice Program. She is passionate about psychology and reframing the conversation around mental health. She loves stories, odd connections, strong coffee and Google Calendar.