Jennifer Ringold spends a lot of time outside. She has biked the Twin Cities’ Grand Rounds more than a dozen times and regularly skis on Minneapolis’ chain of lakes and at Theodore Wirth Regional Park in the winter. She’s also a regular at playgrounds across the city—the favorite destinations on outings with her nephews.
As deputy superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, its Ringold’s job to manage internal services that support staff who implement the day-to-day operations of the board’s vast network of parks, trails, playgrounds, gardens, bird sanctuaries, and recreation centers, plus a few less obvious tasks like running ice rinks and maintaining boulevard trees.
As an undergraduate, she planned to go into civil engineering, but fell in love with biology.
“I realized learning how to structural engineer a wetland would be interesting, but I was even more interested in diving into the science of how they worked,” says Ringold, a graduate of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS).
After changing her major, Ringold landed at the office door of now-retired Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) professor Frank Barnwell. Barnwell encouraged her to join the honors program, which meant doing a research project. She joined Barnwell’s lab and worked on a project involving the circadian rhythms of Fiddler crabs.
She went on to complete a master’s degree focused on environmental policy and planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, before landing with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, where she’s held various positions for nearly two decades.
“My work continues to evolve as the needs the community change,” says Ringold. “It’s both an honor and humbling to be part of work that improves the quality of life of Minneapolis residents and visitors.”