Ryan is currently pursuing an MS in wildlife and wildlands conservation, as part of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Blue Bonds initiative, having completed a BS in geography in April, both at Brigham Young University. Shields has also worked with TNC on projects in Kenya, Benin, Dominica, Grenada, and the Dominican Republic. Additionally, he and his wife, Hannah, have spent significant time in North Africa, Europe, and South and Central America. While at BYU as an undergraduate, he served on the board of director’s for the Foreign Service Student Organization, as president of Praemon, the national security student organization, and as a board member for the Geography Student Association. Shields also worked three years as a member of the BYU Police dignitary protection team, serving religious leaders, diplomats, and other foreign dignitaries from around the world. From 2012 to 2014, he served in the Illinois Chicago Mission (Spanish) under Presidents Jerry D. Fenn, Jr. and Paul S. Woodbury.