This past spring, Ranney inaugurated an experiential education program called "Maymester." The Maymester program challenges students to go beyond traditional coursework to engage outside the classroom, and participate in direct experience with the world. In dealing with new situations, students learn about their own capabilities as well as discovering more about the world around them.
Two students created an “Independent Study” as part of the Internship Experience, one of the Maymester offerings. Emily Chang ’20 interned at The Journal to focus on her passion for journalism, while Sam Novotny ’20 was able to interview Broadway musicians and sit in the pit for Wicked, Be More Chill, Book of Mormon, and two performances of Aladdin during the two weeks.
Emily, who had previously written three articles for The Journal, interviewed with the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of the Journals NJ before obtaining her position as an intern. She wrote two articles, one about the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Gold Award Ceremony at Branches in West Long Branch, and another about Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel Park, which ended up on the cover of the July issue.
In addition to her assignments, Emily was able to sit in on sales and assignment meetings to understand a bigger picture of how the magazine works, while also shadowing Managing Editor Shanna O’Mara to learn about the layout and editing processes.
“The most difficult thing I did was branching out and meeting new people,” said Emily. “While I am generally a very sociable person, I often find it daunting to speak to complete strangers. My assignments forced me to come out of my shell, as I had to speak to people to get quotes and learn more about the event/location. This internship has definitely allowed me to feel more confident in my public speaking and interviewing abilities.”
In New York City, Sam was able to meet the Music Director of Wicked, Dan Micciche. He also sat with the eight musicians in the band for Be More Chill, asking both profession-specific questions, as well as technical music questions. Sam was able to learn about Broadway subs through his experience with Book of Mormon, and he spent the day with John Redsecker, the drummer for Aladdin on Broadway.
“The most enjoyable part of the two weeks was by far being able to watch many individual efforts combine to put on a great show,” said Sam. “Backstage at four Broadway shows, I got to see what goes on not only for the musicians, but also the actors, tech group, costume department, and many more people. All of these people play a key role in making sure the show goes on, and being able to watch that happen up close was remarkable. It was truly inspirational to watch many people, who all love what they do, combine to put on the performance.”