Just about everyone is familiar with radio show personality, television host and producer, Ryan Seacrest, but what some may not know is that he is also the Chairman and Founder of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. The Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to “inspire today’s youth through entertainment and education focused initiatives.” This mission is carried out by creating broadcast media centers inside children’s hospitals called Seacrest Studios where patients can explore and participate in radio broadcasting and media experiences while receiving respite from their current circumstances in the hospital.
However, the patients aren’t the only youth impacted by Ryan Seacrest Foundation. In fact, a major component of the foundation’s mission involves providing internship opportunities for undergraduate students across the country. Internships are an integral part of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation because Ryan’s career began with someone taking a chance on hiring him as an intern at age sixteen. It was this internship that instilled in him a love for media and the desire to ensure other students were given the same opportunity. Fast forward to 2010 when Ryan’s dream became a reality and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation internship program was born.
RSF Interns benefit from a hands-on semester long internship where they spend their days producing entertaining, creative and enlightening on-air content for patients and their families while learning the technical side of operations by working the radio board, microphones and camera equipment. Although being a communications major is not a requirement, those who are interested in that career path leave with a portfolio filled with photography, videography and writing samples that come in handy when applying and interviewing for jobs in the industry. It is also not uncommon for interns to fall in love with the foundation’s mission and apply for full-time positions after they graduate. That’s exactly what happened to Program Coordinator, Katie Klochany, whose passion for the program stems from her personal experience having seen both sides as an intern and now employee. According to Klochany, “interns are so important because most of our studios have no more than three studio managers and with everything a Seacrest Studio has to accomplish, they can’t do it alone. We’re an organization that needs and loves their interns because they make the show go on.” In 2017 alone, Ryan Seacrest Foundation reached over 1.3 million patients, hosted over 200 celebrity visits and broadcasted over 13,628 hours of live programming in 10 different hospitals and clinics throughout the United States.
Although the amount of content and programming produced by each Seacrest Studio every year is undoubtedly impressive, past intern and current student at Lipscomb University, Sierra Sparks, reminds us that the greatest lesson she took away from her internship was “just being grateful for the life I’m living and not being so negative when things don’t go my way. I learned so much about interviewing, making connections, working a sound board and editing videos, but at the same time I just learned how to be a better person.” Klochany can’t help but echo Spark’s sentiments when she reflects on her own intern experience:
“There is so much professional gain, but when I think back to my time in the studio, I don’t necessarily think about the videos I made, the blogs I wrote, or the celebrities I met. I genuinely mean it when I say it was the most humbling experience I’ve ever had, and that’s because when you walk in and you see kids running around, smiling with IV poles, or wheeling around in wheel chairs, hosting their own shows, they’re smiling and they’re happy and they’re in the worst situation you could be in as a kid. It’s moving, it’s hard, and it’s not the easiest internship you can do, but in the end, you go home and you just have to remember that you’re doing something really good for the kids and they’re really happy when they walk into the studio.”
To learn more about Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s internship opportunities and how to get involved visit http://ryanseacrestfoundation.org/.
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