Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight - Deaglán Ryan, FBI Special Agent

5 Sep 2019
Deaglán Ryan, BA 1995

Arts graduate, Deaglán Ryan, has carved out a niche for himself in what could be viewed as an unconventional career choice for Irish people. He talks to us about his student days, finding your passion and how a degree in Applied Psychology helped him land a job with the FBI.

Kerryman, Deaglán Ryan, is busy making it Stateside, working in one of the world’s most famous law enforcement agencies. The UCC graduate is a Special Agent in the FBI’s Special Flight Operations Unit based in Washington DC. His unit is responsible for flying both the FBI Director and the Attorney General. Previous roles with the FBI include working as a Criminal Division Agent investigating white-collar crime in New York, before a stint as a Watch Commander in the Bureau’s Strategic Intelligence Operations Center (SIOC). It might seem like a giant leap to go from psychology student to FBI agent but Deaglán’s qualifications made him a natural fit for the role.

“An elective unit of criminal psychology I took in third year planted the seed for my further interest in forensic and criminal psychology. This led me both to the degree choice I made for my masters as well as directly contributing to my choice to apply to the FBI as a Special Agent”.  

As it turned out, a degree like Applied Psychology which leans heavily on a scientific method, proved to be the ideal launchpad for a job fighting crime. Deaglán explains, “A methodology based on evidence and reason, with which to ask the big questions with a view to understanding the world, serves well both in the professional and personal arena”. 

When asked what person at UCC had the most influence on him he is hesitant to single out just one, but fondly remembers his time in the Students Union organising events with Vincent O’Brien. Deaglán managed to squeeze a lot into his college days, joining the Psychology society and Sub Aqua club, practising taekwondo and playing squash. He was also a regular at the Law Society and Philosoph debates and supported his friends at music performances and plays by Dramat.

He has “tremendously fond and warm memories” of that time especially the camaraderie and collegiate atmosphere he experienced on campus. He values the friendships he made and says that “despite emigrating, I maintain very close contacts with a number of friends I met, and navigated undergrad life with, in UCC”.

Deaglán is an enthusiastic advocate of the benefits of education. For him, learning is a pleasure and he urges students to enjoy the academic journey. As clichéd as it may be, I think the key is to search unapologetically for a subject matter about which you feel passionate about and pursue it”.

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