Ryan Chaben, a Spring 2023 Michigan State University graduate with a B.A. in English, recently shared her experiences as a Spartan with the College of Arts & Letters’ Excel Network and the Department of English for its 2023 Senior Spotlight. Among the many impactful experiences highlighted was working as a consultant for MSU’s Writing Center and a remote internship with a company located in Dublin, Ireland, in which she wrote for easyFood, a food magazine with more than 68,000 print subscribers.
“Ryan is notable in many ways — an excellent writer, an avid and voracious reader, an adept in the mysteries (at least to me) of crocheting,” said Steve Rachman, Associate Professor in the Department of English. “Her kindness and intelligence are always present in her smile and her comments. She is part of a constellation of friends and fellow students that were in my pop culture methods class that are delightful and reflect well on MSU and the good of this place where education and friendship can come together so harmoniously.”
The following is the Q&A Chaben completed before graduating from MSU:
How would you describe your time as an English major at MSU?
My time as an English major was fulfilling. An English degree was something that I always wanted to pursue, but it took me a while to figure out the way I wanted to pursue it. I knew that my passion for reading and books would be at the center of my studies. With intimate classrooms and students just as passionate as I am about the subject, there isn’t a better place to foster a strong learning environment that always seemed to leave me with thoughts to ponder or questions to consider.
Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why?
Becoming a Writing Center consultant was an experience that provided me with so much knowledge and experience that I will continue to sing its praises for the years to come. As a consultant, I gained the empathy and skills to continue working with others and their writing. Having the chance to visit the East Lansing Public Library and learning about the range in which the Writing Center works to help others was such an enlightening period in my life as a student at MSU.
What coursework-related projects did you work on this past year, and what excited you about them?
This year, I completed an internship through the Global Remote Internship Program, working for Zahra Media Group, located in Dublin, Ireland. I worked as an editorial intern for their content branch, easyFood. Throughout my internship, I wrote articles for the easyFood website, edited interviews, and wrote pieces for their magazine publication. I was able to learn so much about what it’s like to be on the inside of publishing a magazine with daily content. I loved getting to chat with my co-workers from across the pond and, although the time difference made interactions difficult, I still had such a great time with them.
How did you obtain your internship with Zahra Media Group?
I discovered the Global Remote Internship Program through an Excel Network email, which was looking for applicants. Once I filled out the application, I had a meeting with my academic advisor to make sure an internship would fit with my schedule and provide the credits that I needed. After being accepted into the program, I was connected with two internship opportunities and chose to work with Zahra Media Group.
What did your daily routine for your internship include?
My daily routine included writing 1-3 articles a day, mostly for the website. Sometimes, I would write for the magazine, but that occurred less often. I also formatted the articles and sent them to my supervisor for edits before they went on the website.
What was your favorite experience from the internship?
My favorite experience from the internship was seeing my writing published in the easyFood magazine. My supervisor mailed me the package, as the magazine isn’t sold in the United States, and I was able to see my work on the page instead of in a Word document.
What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?
I learned greater time management skills, how to problem-solve, and what it feels like to work with a cohesive and coordinated team.
What did you learn about your career path as a result of the internship?
I learned that I still want to pursue a career in publishing, working in editorial. I much prefer editing to writing, so I plan to continue to practice my editing skills.
What advice do you have for other students seeking out internship opportunities?
If you don’t choose the Global Remote Internship Program, head to Handshake and fill out as many internship applications that interest you. You really have to put yourself out there to get going.
What advice would you give future English majors?
Participate in your classes! It is sometimes the most daunting thing, but it is always worth it. Whether it’s in-class discussions or talking with the classmates around you, I’ve found that there’s something you’ll learn from anyone that you meet if you’re willing to have a conversation with them. Also, stay on track with your work (especially your reading)!
What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?
I would love to work as an editor at a major publishing house. As nice as it will be to not have coursework to complete, I’ll want to keep busy and jump into work as soon as I can.