United States Air Force Academy

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Contact Information

(719) 333-0075




I grew up in Alaska, near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER – just outside of Anchorage). I began my academic career at West Point (2005-2008) and then transitioned to Washington College in Maryland for nine years (2008-2017).  In 2017 I joined the USAFA faculty.. I enjoy working with and mentoring cadets, with a goal of inspiring in my students’ curiosity, intellectual risk-taking, compassion, and motivation to affect positive social change. I have been honored to receive numerous awards for innovative teaching and teaching effectiveness, as well as for significant contributions to the field of military sociology through research and service.

I have two active research agendas in military sociology and environmental sociology, and enjoy the applied nature of these areas of sociological inquiry. I am also trained in program evaluation and have conducted several external reviews for institutions and departments of sociology around the country.

Beyond teaching and research I use my expertise in service to my discipline, my community and to various military organizations, both domestic and international. I currently serve on the Council of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed forces & Society, an international and interdisciplinary organization. For the last 17 years, I have co-organized a military mini-conference at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting, hosting 200+ talks and creating opportunities for academics, policy makers and students to share their work. Previously, I served as Chair for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Peace, War & Social Conflict. My work with the NATO research group on the integration of civilians in military organizations culminated in the adoption of my protocol as a best practice model by the eleven participating nations; demonstrating the applied relevance of sociology for the study of militaries and civil-military relations. I have briefed the Executive Council of the Chief of Naval Operations on best practices for integrating women into combat specialization the year prior to full gender integration. Additionally, I designed and analyzed a survey of senior citizens in Kent County, MD to better understand the physical, social, financial, legal and medical needs of this population in our community that resulted in funding for services to promote independent living for seniors in the county.


Ph.D., Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (2005).  Areas of Specialization: Social Psychology and Military Sociology (with Distinction) with methodological specialization in survey research design,

M.A., Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1997)

B.A., Sociology & Eastern Religions (with Certification in Secondary Teacher Education), Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT (1993)

Professional Experience

Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO (2022-present)

Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO (2019-2022)

Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO (2017-2019)

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Washington College, Chestertown, MD 2011-2017 (Department Chair, 2014-2017)

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Washington College, Chestertown, MD (2008-2011)

Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY (2005-2008)

Research Associate, Center for Research on Military Organization, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (2004-2005)

Instructor, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (2004)

Honors & Awards

Outstanding Academy Educator Award, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. (2022)

Teaching Excellence Award, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. (2019)

Academic Impact Award, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. (with Dr. Karin DeAngelis and Capt Elizabeth Blair) (2019)

Finalist: Innovative Teacher of the Year, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. (2019)

Curricular Innovation Award – Documentary Filmmaking course, Washington College, Chestertown, MD. (2013)

Charles H. Coates Memorial Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Military Sociology: Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. (2013)

Commander’s Award for Public Service, Department of the U.S. Army, West Point, NY (2008)

Phi Kappa Phi award for Excellence in Research: West Point Chapter (2008)

Top 40 Under Forty Movers and Shakers of the Greater Hudson Valley, NY: Greater Southern Duchess County Chamber of Commerce (2008)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Military Sociology, Environmental Sociology, Social Psychology, Teaching Pedagogy, Survey Methodology, Program Evaluation


Kelty, Ryan and Bridget A. Bunten (Eds.). 2017. Risk-Taking in Higher Education: The Importance of Negotiating Intellectual Challenge in the College Classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Schaub, Gary J., Jr. and Ryan Kelty (Eds.). 2016. Private Military and Security Contractors: Controlling the Corporate Warrior. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kelty, Ryan and Richard E. Niemeyer. 2022. “Integrating Civilians in Military Organisations: Linking Micro and Macro Levels of Analysis.” Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 8(1): 5-14.

Kelty, Ryan, Karin DeAngelis and Elizabeth Blair. 2020. “Poverty Simulation: Promoting Perspective-Taking, Reflection, and Social Action.” Innovations in Higher Education Teaching & Learning 32: 117-132.

Bierman, Alex and Ryan Kelty. 2019. “Religious Coping, Job Hazards, and Distress among Civilians Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.” Res Militaris 9(1): 1-19, Winter-Spring.

Bierman, Alex and Ryan Kelty. 2018. “Subjective Cohesion as Stress Buffer Among Civilians Working with the Military in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Armed Forces & Society 44(2): 238-260.

Woodruff, Todd and Ryan Kelty. 2017. “Gender and Deployment Effects on Pro-Organizational Behaviors of U.S. Soldiers.” Armed Forces & Society 43(2): 280-299.

Woodruff, Todd & Ryan Kelty. 2015. “Gender Effects on Soldier Value: Evidence in Support of Full Gender Integration in the US Army.” Res Militaris (Special Issue: Women in the Military, Part One).

Bierman, Alex and Ryan Kelty. 2014. “The Threat of War and Psychological Distress Among Civilians Working in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Social Psychology Quarterly 77(1): 27-53.

Kelty, Ryan, David R. Segal and Todd Woodruff. 2011. “Relative Salience of Family versus Soldier Role Identity among Combat Soldiers.” Annual Review of Political and Military Sociology 38: 27-52.

Kelty, Ryan and Ruth A. Kelty. 2011. “Human Dimensions of a Fishery at a Crossroads: Resource Valuation, Identity, and Way of Life in a Seasonal Fishing Community.” Society & Natural Resources 24(4): 334-348.

Kelty, Ryan, Meredith Kleykamp and David R. Segal. 2010. “The Military and the Transition to Adulthood.” The Future of Children 20(1): 181-207.

Kelty, Ryan. 2009. “Citizen Soldiers and Civilian Contractors: Soldiers’ Unit Cohesion and Retention Attitudes in the ‘Total Force.’” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 37(2):1-27.

Kelty, Ryan. 2008. “The Navy’s Maiden Voyage: Effects of Integrating Sailors and Civilian Mariners on Deployment.” Armed Forces & Society 34(4): 536-564. –Reprinted in D.R. Segal and J. Burk (Eds.). Military Sociology, vol. II. Military Organization, pp.107-134 (London and Washington, DC: Sage).

Woodruff, Todd, Ryan Kelty, and David R. Segal. 2006. “Propensity to Enlist and Motivations to Serve Among American Combat Soldiers.” Armed Forces & Society 32(3): 353-366.

Kelty, Ryan, Steven Lizzol and Edward Jones. Forthcoming. “Mental Health Outcomes of Deployed Military and Civilian Personnel.” In: Berndtsson J., Goldenberg I. and von Hlatky S., Eds. Total Defence Forces in the 21st Century. Montreal & Kingston, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Kelty, Ryan, De Angelis, Karin, Morten G. Ender, Michael Matthews and David Rohall.  Forthcoming. American Attitudes Toward Military Service of Transgender Individuals. Attitudes Aren’t Free: A Call to Action. Vol II. J. Parco, A. Sandoval and D. Deporres (Eds.)

Elson, Sara Beth, Ryan Kelty, Keith Paulson, John Bornmann and Karin De Angelis. 2020. “Social Media Use at a U.S. Military Academy: Perceived Implications for Performance and Behavior.” In E. Woehlecke de Baseggio, O. Schnieder, and T. Tresch (eds.) Social Media and the Armed Forces. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. (Volume translated into German.)

Kelty, Ryan. 2018. “Effects of Civilian Integration in Military Organizations: A Synthesis of Benefits and Challenges.” Chapter 20 in I. Goldenberg and A.R. Febbraro (Eds.), Final Report of NATO STO HFM RTG-226, Civilian and Military Personnel Work Culture and Relations in Defence Organisations (STO-MP-HFM-000). Paris/Brussels: The NATO Science and Technology Organisation.

Kleykamp, Meredith, Ryan Kelty and David R. Segal. 2017. “Military Service in Midlife.” In Laura Walker and Larry Nelson (Eds.), Flourishing in Emerging Adulthood: Positive Development during the Third Decade of Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kelty, Ryan and Bridget A. Bunten. 2017. “The Importance and Challenge of Risk-Taking in Higher Education.” In R. Kelty and B. Bunten (Eds.) Risk-Taking in Higher Education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kelty, Ryan and David R. Segal. 2013. “The Military as a Transforming Social Agent: Integration into or Isolation from Normal Adult Roles?” In Janet M. Wilmoth and Andrew S. London (Eds.), Life Course Perspectives on Military Service. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kelty, Ryan and Darcy Schnack. 2012. “Attitudes on the Ground: What Soldiers Think About Civilian Contractors.” In Christopher Kinsley and Malcolm H. Patterson (Eds.), Contractors in War: The Transformation of US Expeditionary Operations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.