Ryan has served as Folklife Specialist for Maryland Traditions since 2020. In this position, he directs the Folklife Apprenticeship and Heritage Award programs, curates media, and has oversight of the Maryland Traditions Archives housed at UMBC. In developing the vision of the Archives, he promotes a “shared stewardship” model, in which the traditional artists and cultural workers represented within the collections share authority for the archival materials. Ryan grew up in Carroll County, Maryland, and from an early age performed with his family’s traditional Celtic and Nordic music ensemble, Wherligig. He received a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a Certified Archivist and member of several professional societies, including the American Folklore Society, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Society of American Archivists, and Society for Ethnomusicology. He has taught, presented, and published on topics in archives, culture, history, and performance.