Ryan Willis

Knowing that I was taught by such a high calibre researcher is amazing. It just shows how talented the ANU staff are.

Music has always been a part of Ryan’s life. As a kid his parents would send him to sleep to everything from nursery rhymes to rock. The sound of Indie and progressive rock in particular drew him to violin, to wanting to learn and play the instrument, and to completing a double major in music at college specialising in jazz and composition.

Ryan doesn’t have as much time to play the violin these days, but music remains that constant in his life, even when everything else is changing. A daily soundtrack whether it’s studying during a once in a century pandemic, or while at work helping to address some of the biggest challenges we face ahead.

Ryan is graduating with a Bachelor of Criminology, majoring in Global Security. He recognises that the world can be dark place at times, from changing socio-political conditions in several regions, to the ever-changing nature of crime, with new technologies like the dark-web and cryptocurrencies giving illicit characters new tools to do their trade. With his father a senior police officer, Ryan has long heard about the challenges law enforcement face, but also, appreciates the opportunity that exists to do good.

Criminology is very much the study of people and society through the lens of crime,” says Ryan. “I have caught myself being pessimistic, I can often see the world as a very dark place full of evil. I remind myself though that there are good people out there fighting the good fight. Police officers, lawyers, policy makers, academics, social workers are all working together to address crime and help victims and offenders for the better.”

Studying during the pandemic has been difficult for many. What started as this vague idea of a virus spreading across borders in December 2019 seemed a long way from the global phenomenon that has changed almost every facet of daily life. It seemed inconceivable back then, but as borders closed and lockdowns began, and as classrooms were replaced with loungerooms and bedrooms, Ryan grew concerned about his educational experience. Would he get as much out of his studies and his time at ANU?

“In the end it was fine, my tutors and professors were very supportive and helped me accept that this situation was staying around for a while. My advice to new students would be to stay in touch with friends, and do exercise in both the physical and mental sense. Get a diary and write down any negative thoughts you have, protecting your mental health is so important.

Supportive and enthusiastic teaching staff can make the difference at the best of times, much less during the pandemic. And one course and convenor in particular stands out for Ryan as the one he looks back on the most fondly from his time at ANU. CRIM2002: Organised Crime convened by Dr Adam Masters, a lecturer with decades of experience working on the front line of international law enforcement.

Dr Masters treats all students with respect and is passionate about his work. He made me really engage with Criminology as a whole and I think I ended up where I am because of him.

Ryan has commenced as a graduate with an Australian Government department, and coincidentally, he has found some of Dr Masters research being used by that department to inform decision making, reinforcing the expertise and real-world impact ANU researchers have.

Knowing that I was taught by such a high calibre researcher is amazing. It just shows how talented the ANU staff are.

In this exciting new graduate role, Ryan is working in fraud control, conducting risk assessments and advising areas of government on their legal and ethical obligations to prevent and report fraud. With this department handling hundreds of billions of dollars of valuable taxpayer money, the costs associated with impropriety could be significant, and the temptation strong. Ryan works (with) talented people ranging from lawyers and forensic accountants, to engineers and investigators to help mitigate the risk. And every day he’ll be applying knowledge and skill she (he) gained studying at ANU.

Every day I use the skills I learnt at ANU such as time management, research, editing, and public speaking. The education ANU gave me has made it easy to adapt to the workforce.

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Updated:  12 July 2022/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications