Student Speaker Spotlight: Ryn Lois Funtilon

Psychology major transferring to Bemidji State to earn her B.S. in Psychology

Ryn Lois Funtilon, 26, is earning her Psychology Transfer Pathway Associate of Arts (A.A.) at Inver Hills Community College. Ryn is graduating this May and will serve as a student speaker at the Inver Hills Commencement Ceremony Thursday, May 11, 2023, at 7 p.m. at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood, Minnesota.

“The theme of my speech is padayon,” she said. “It is a word in my native language that means ‘to keep moving forward despite adversities.’ The whole concept of padayon is that it is a mantra in which you tell yourself to keep going even when life gets difficult because everything that you went through—no matter how tough—will all be worth it because you’ll one day enjoy the fruits of your labor.”

Ryn is looking forward to pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology with a minor in Addictions at Bemidji State University.

“BSU offers a distance learning program in Psychology,” she said. “My goal is to become a marriage and family therapist. For now, I will take a break from studying to focus on my grandparents’ health as I am their main caregiver.”

Ryn is a member of Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills. She has received five scholarships, Dakota Electric, Kopp Family, Alumni Endowed, Alumni, and Building Better Futures. She made the Dean’s List in 2021 and 2022. Ryn works part-time while attending college as an information coordinator at the Woodwinds Hospital Emergency Department, putting in 48 hours per two weeks.

More about Ryn…

Ryn with her family

Ryn is originally from Iloilo City, Philippines, an urbanized city with a metropolitan population topping 1 million residents. She graduated from Central Philippine University, Class of 2013.

“I miss the people of the Philippines the most,” Ryn said. “Filipinos are known for being hospitable, their positive nature, and warm demeanor. My favorite place in the Philippines is Capiz, where I spent most of my summers during my childhood because my dad grew up there.”
Ryn considers the biggest difference between life here and where she was born is that Minnesota is cold three-quarters of the year while Philippines can get up to 108 ºF.

Ryn lived in England with her family from 2013 to 2018. She attended Walsall College, a further education college in Walsall, West Midlands. She earned her Intermediate Apprenticeship in Health in Pharmacy Services along with her BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma, OCR Level 2 Diploma, and BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Health and Social Care. For the latter diploma, she was named Outstanding Student of the Year.

Ryn also received a Gold Graduate Award, Gold Extra Mile Volunteer Award, and Certificate of Excellence Award while attending Walsall College. She volunteered at The Rock Church Food Bank and Lakeview Care Home and served as a teaching assistant at the college and Sandbank Nursery School.

“My family and I moved to the U.S. in 2018,” Ryn said. “My mom had a job opportunity that could move us closer to my grandparents as they were already living in the U.S. since 2012.”

When asked what she misses most about England, Ryn said, “I miss their transportation system the most. I could ride a bus or train for a couple of hours, and the next thing you know you’re already in a different country. I plan to visit England again, but I don’t know when that will be.”

In her free time, Ryn enjoys reading romance and fantasy fiction books and writing in her journal. “I also like watching Korean shows,” she said, “and, like every Filipino, I love to sing karaoke, but I only sound good in the shower where the acoustics are great.”

Ryn lives with her maternal grandparents, Adolfo and Lolita, her mom, Dory, her dad, Yonilo, her younger brother, Josh, and the family’s miniature Australian shepherd, Otis, in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

Ryn family and life gallery

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Ryn Lois Funtilon Q & A

Ryn Lois Funtilon
Why did you decide to enroll in the Psychology program at Inver Hills?

I was searching on Google and happened to find a Psychology program at Inver Hills, and the school is less than 20 minutes away from my house (though I ended up being a distance learner due to COVID-19). Choosing Inver Hills may initially have been for convenience, but I ended up gaining more than I could ever imagine. I received scholarships, encouragement from my professors, and a deeper understanding of various concepts due to the courses that I’ve chosen.

What do you find most interesting about your psychology coursework?

I unexpectedly found comfort in my Psychology of Death, Dying, and Loss class. My paternal grandmother passed away in May 2021, and it devastated me because I couldn’t say goodbye properly. During this class in fall 2021, I learned that there is no cure for grief—it only changes in shape and size. You’ll get used to it, and you’ll learn to live with it. Sometimes it is hard, but that is okay. We grieve because we loved.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a marriage and family therapist?

I want to be a marriage and family therapist because it focuses on relationships that are at the core of one’s psychological state. We tend to ask, “Why are people the way they are?” Isn’t it because of those who are around them? I want to support those who need help in navigating their relational and interpersonal dynamics, so they are better able to cope with life’s challenges and live a more fulfilled life.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What advice would you give students thinking about majoring in psychology?

Psychology is about the study of mind and behavior, so some topics can be very triggering. However, don’t let that stop you from pursuing a better understanding of the various concepts that are under psychology. You’ll find yourself learning from the experiences of others. My hope is that you’ll always have an open mind, develop an inquisitive nature, and respect for the diverse aspects that you’ll discover in your pursuit of majoring in psychology.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My dad is the person that influenced my life the most. He once said, “I am not a rich man. So, before I die, I can only give you a good education.” He was the one that instilled in me the importance of education, and the one that taught me to padayon no matter what life threw my way.

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years, I hope to find myself happy, healthy, and contented with whatever life has to offer.

Ryn Lois Funtilon 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Badminton
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Israel
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: I rode a water buffalo when I was 10 years old
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Keep it a secret until the day I die (I doubt my parents won’t find out, though 2) Donate to various organizations 3) Travel the world
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Jinny’s Kitchen (Korean TV show)
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: I wish to time travel to a period when Jesus was in Israel, so I could see the miracles that He did when He was here on Earth
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: I want to get a Ph.D. in Psychology
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Wren (known for their resilience)
  9. Dream occupation: Author
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Park Seo-joon (South Korean actor)
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Krav Maga
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Poverty
Learn more about Psychology at Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
Virtual Visit

More about Psychology at Inver Hills…

Psychology coursework at Inver Hills makes perfect sense if you plan on continuing your college education to earn a more advanced degree. Taking psychology courses is a great way to build a versatile foundation for other learning goals.

Our psychology faculty believe that deepening your knowledge through the discipline of psychology will enhance your personal life while helping you grow professionally with a passion for civic engagement and social responsibility.

Why Study Psychology at Inver Hills?

Study what matters most.
Psychology is one of the most influential and resourceful applied sciences in the modern world. As a psychology student, you will work to better appreciate human diversity, becoming more empathetic and less judgmental along the way.

Deepen your self-awareness.
Investigating the multifold facets of human behavior will give you the tools to better manage your daily life. You’ll upgrade your interactions with others, improve your learning and memory performance, get a handle on stress, and learn to recognize the initial indicators of serious mental and emotional illness.

Psychology bridges all gaps.
Your psychology coursework will complement learning in other academic programs. For starters, fine arts, business, education, social justice, healthcare, biology, and communication majors can all benefit from the insights into human nature they can gain from their psychology studies. After all, people are the most significant moving parts in virtually every discipline.

Do your research on research.
Psychologists are master researchers. As a student in our Psychology Transfer Pathway A.A. program, you will make your bones doing research projects, which means you’ll strengthen your critical-thinking and analytical power while expanding your knowledge base—all transferable improvements to your skill set.

Don’t worry, there’s a scientific method to our madness.
As a psychology major you will learn how to state your question, propose your theory, and then construct a rigorous lab or field experiment to grill your hypothesis. Point being, you’ll learn how to take your findings and new understanding to create evidence-based strategies that can tackle problems and make a real difference in people’s lives.

Take things in stages.
Developmental psychology focuses on the typical stages of a person’s lifespan. When you study these stages in depth, noting progress and changes in terms of thoughts, emotions, functions, challenges, and behavior, you begin to empathize with the confusion and difficulties people face during each obligatory phase of their lives. That empathy is the very reason you chose psychology in the first place.

Specialties are our specialty.
Need to find your ideal niche? Lucky for you, psychology is a field with nearly more specialties than humankind has varieties of apples. You’ve got clinical, cognitive, counseling, engineering, experimental, forensic, geriatric, industrial, school, sports, and more. Find out which one resonates the most with you.

Psychology today, career success tomorrow.
Our Transfer Pathway A.A. gives you the credits you need to transfer with junior-year status to a psychology baccalaureate program at a Minnesota State university. Your education at Inver Hills will propel you toward your academic future and career calling.

Psychology Career Paths

Explore the human heart with clear vision.
Psychologists are trained to identify and analyze human behavior across the spectrum. They work with children and adults of all ages and walks of life to help them solve problems related to mental well-being and emotional stability. Psychologists are also keenly involved in the process of examining behavioral modes that influence the lives of healthy human beings.

Career Opportunities

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists

Treat emotional and mental problems of children, families, or other groups.


This is a very high-wage career that pays well above the statewide median of $24.45/hour


Median: $42.69/hour
High: $50.64/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $43.76/hour
High: $50.74/hour


In Minnesota, there are 2,590 workers employed in this small career, which is in very high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in the U.S. is 14.7 percent.

2,385 new Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists to meet market demand between 2020-2030. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

SOURCE: Minnesota State CAREERwise Education (July 2022)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *