Ryan Howard (2014, BA Communication and Psychology)

Masters of Fine Arts in Documentary Film at Wake Forest University in Washington, DC
Headshot of Deacon Spotlight, Ryan Howard '14

Tell us about your current graduate program. How would you describe it to someone who may be exploring graduate school options? What is your current area of focus/research?

Focus on building a wide skill set; small cohort so lots of personalized attention and a chance to explore production and theory more deeply.

What personal, professional, and/or academic experiences did you have prior to graduate school? How did these contribute to your decision to attend graduate school/your specific program?

I have worked in various Marketing and Customer Service and Communications roles at several companies. While working, I saw the need for video and narrative digital storytelling (podcasting, shorts) across industries, and I wanted a chance to apply what I’d learned to more creatively fulfilling work while being able to explore freelance work. Also, as an MFA, I am able to teach at the collegiate level, which was something I wanted the possibility to do in the future.

What has been the most challenging aspect of life after graduation and what did you learn from it?

The most challenging aspect of life after graduation for me has been creating and keeping up a creative portfolio that speaks to a wide variety of industries and roles. It’s been challenging finding opportunities with places to grow to or the potential to jump between interesting projects or assignments.

Have you been mentored by anyone at Wake Forest or in your post-graduate life? If so, what impact has that relationship had on you?

Allison McWilliams (’95) has always asked interesting questions that prompt me to think about the future and what contacts I could be making now for a next step.

What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are considering the same graduate program as you?

Make sure you know how you’re going to apply the skills you’re learning in roles during school so you have a portfolio that allows folks to say yes to hiring you when the time comes. Know how you’re going to balance being a full time student with adult responsibilities, and enjoy the time dedicated to studying as much as you can!

What are your future career goals or plans? How are you being intentional about working towards them?

I’d like to continue finding roles where I can tell engaging stories, educating others, and making beautiful storytelling content. This could be in a production company, within an arts or education space, or as a freelance creative. I feel well equipped to follow stories or opportunities that excite me! Which is a great place to be in.

Story published in March 2024. For current updates on Ryan’s career path, visit their LinkedIn profile.