Nathan Ryder


Willmar, MN

The Story

Scholarships i received

  • Dordt College Distinguished Scholarship
  • Dordt College Presidential Scholarship
  • Norm and Val Duininck Scholarship for Mathematics
  • Off-Campus Cross Cultural Experience Scholarship
  • Theatre Arts Activity Scholarship
  • Vocal Music Activity Scholarship

favorite spot on campus

It's not on campus, but the Te Paske Theatre is where some of my best memories were made.

favorite class

Stage Combat

a concept that blew my mind

In my second semester I took a course called Advanced Statistics, and at the end of the class we were assigned amateur statistical studies. My fellow group mates and I prepared a set of surveys that measured students' bias toward or against a number of factors. We wound up finding that the voluntary study participants rated essays attributed to authors with Dutch-sounding names significantly higher than any alternative. This elementary class project won us a third place finish in a national Statistics project competition. I was blown away by how easily anyone with the proper training could begin to go about the world gathering and analyzing data they were curious about. Ultimately, this class impelled me to switch my major to Mathematics and pursue a career in Statistics.

cool things i did at dordt

I did a lot of things at Dordt, including but not limited to:

  • A semester abroad in Nicaragua
  • Acting:
    • Three mainstage and three studio productions by the Theatre Arts Department
    • The Show for WOW week
    • Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as a Irene Ryan Audition Nominee
    • The award-winning short film The Way Out, written and directed by the amazing Kyle Fosse
  • Camp counseling: Dordt Discovery Days and IDEAS Camp - I was also a co-instructor for the Stage Combat courses
  • Music: Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Kantorei - I went on two amazing tours!
  • PLIA: I was a Trip leader for Grand Junction, CO in 2016
  • Cultural Fair: I was part of the Australia booth for three years and an MC in 2016
  • Club sport: Rugby 7’s Team - we even won a couple times!
  • Biostatistics Summer Research: after Sophomore and Senior years and some during the school year too. I was able to publish my first paper last year.

obstacles i've overcome

When deciding where to go to college, Dordt was the safe option. I didn't leave the Midwest, already knew some of my classmates, and was at a school affiliated with the exact same denomination I grew up with. After my freshman year, I began to worry that I was stuck inside a "bubble". I tried to go out of my way to make new friends and meet people I didn't already have some connection with. I was impressed by the courage and humility of some of the international students that I met, as they had traveled well out of their comfort zone to be where they were. Inspired, I signed up for SPIN, the Studies Program In Nicaragua. These few months living with a host family who didn't understand my language or much of my culture revolutionized my perspective and gave me confidence that has been integral to my life since.

Additionally, summers spent at Dordt working with the Biostatistics summer research group allowed me to develop close relationships with students from universities all over the US. Often these summers provided awesome challenges in discussing my faith with peers whose lives differed completely from my own.

who i was when i came to dordt

I was very shy and unsure of myself or my future when I first arrived at Dordt. However, I was thirsty for knowledge and eager to find a place for myself. It took little while, but eventually I felt that I totally belonged.

how dordt impacted me

I believe Dordt is responsible more than anything else for who I am today. For the most part I think that is a good thing.

The coursework prepared me for higher learning and to engage life with a theological framework. The clubs, organizations, and extracurriculars provided me with skills and hobbies that I value greatly today. Most of all though, the people I was able to meet and share my life with at Dordt have caused all of the spiritual and emotional development that I have experienced in the last 5 years.

where i am now

After graduating, I stayed to continue research with Dr. Nathan Tintle into the summer and the next school year. I also assisted with Chemistry labs and Calculus classes for Dordt. I applied for graduate school that year.


I am now in my first year of the Statistics PhD program at Colorado State University, so 3-5 more years of school are in my future.

what i would tell prospective students

Dordt is an awesome community of learning. Every one of the opportunities and people at Dordt are exceptional. I loved being at Dordt because I was able to be involved in so many different things. This allowed me to rub shoulders with people in all sorts of majors and activities.

how dordt helped me do more

The influence of incredible mentors is the primary reason I have been able to start the next steps of my career and of my life. I cannot be more thankful for the opportunities and guidance provided by not only professors in my field, but in any area that I was striving to improve. They are, each and every one, my role models in all things.