Froggi VanRiper was born in West Virginia as Ramona VanRiper. As a child she couldn't pronounce the name Ramona, and earned herself the nickname "Froggi" for her love of all creatures. She grew up alongside one brother in a religious family. As a child, VanRiper spent the majority of her time exploring nature, interacting with wildlife, catching bugs and hiking; a formative experience involved volunteering at her local wildlife rehabilitation center. VanRiper studied natural resources and at Principia College in Illinois, earning her bachelor's degree with a minor in language. After graduating, she developed and taught the biology curriculum at Principia Upper School in St. Louis, Missouri.
VanRiper later decided to continue her higher education by becoming a master's student in sustainable development in Linkoping, Sweden. As a student abroad, VanRiper worked as a research assistant for the LIU Water and Environmental Studies Department. While in Sweden, VanRiper also met her current husband. Having completed this chapter of her education, VanRiper moved back to Illinois where she briefly worked on a farm, and then accepted a position as Director of Campus Sustainability Initiatives at Knox College. Van Riper also taught ecology and sustainability as a visiting instructor at her alma mater, Principia College.
From there, VanRiper moved to the Corvallis area with her husband, and decided to pursue her PhD in Environmental Sciences. She has since become a graduate employee and has worked as a teaching assistant, curriculum design assistant, and research assistant. She is active in the Coalition of Graduate Employees, serving as vice president of membership. VanRiper is also involved in community affairs, working as a vice chair of YouCAN Corvallis and as a team member of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. She also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity at its local Restore. She enjoys working with her hands and pursues hobbies including knitting, making earrings, and rewiring lamps; she also enjoys construction work.
VanRiper lives in Corvallis with her two cats, Sir Charles and Buster Kitten. At the time of this interview, she was hard at work on her thesis and teaching at Oregon State University.