Jann Ronis brings to BDRC a strong background in Buddhology, pedagogy, and the digital humanities. He received MA and PhD degrees from the University of Virginia, where he researched the history of the Tibetan kingdom of Dergé in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and particularly the local Nyingma monasteries. In recent years, his research interests have expanded into the fields of literary analysis and contemporary Tibetan culture. Jann is fluent in both classical and spoken Tibetan, including both the Central and Kham dialects, and is highly proficient in Mandarin Chinese.
Jann's love for the study of Buddhism began with the Antioch Buddhist Studies study abroad program in Bodh Gaya in the Fall of 1995. He began learning spoken and literary Tibetan the following year in Kathmandu while a student with the University of Wisconsin's College Year in Nepal program. After completing his MA degree, he took his first trip to Tibet during the summer of 2000, traveling alone in Kham. In 2001, he spent the summer in Lhasa with a team from the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library (now known as the Tibetan and Himalayan Library), which kicked off his long involvement with digital humanities initiatives.