Event: Alumni Speaker Series
Jenna Van De Ryt
My name is Jenna Van De Ryt and I am a graduate of the class of 2010, but for those teachers who could not pronounce the Dutch last name I was formerly known at St. Vincent de Paul High School as Jenna VDR. During my four years at SV I was extremely involved with the leadership class, the volleyball team, the mentor program and Mentor Me Petaluma.
Upon graduating in 2010 I attended Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, in hopes of then transferring to Cal Poly. During my two and a half years at Cuesta I quickly discovered my love for journalism, even though a radio class at SV first sparked my interest back in 2008. Cuesta allowed me to have my own radio show once a week on the college network and serve as a contributor to the sports column in the school paper.
After being accepted to Cal Poly, I flipped the script and decided to attend California State University, Northridge because of their prominent broadcast journalism program. I quickly learned after one semester in 2013 that though Northridge may have the best broadcast journalism department, students suffer because of the impacted major. So once again, I reapplied to Cal Poly and also to San Francisco State University. After being accepted to both schools I did a great deal of soul searching and “adulting” if you will, to decide which school would be most beneficial for not only my education, but my future career as well. It was incredibly clear that San Francisco would be vast of opportunity for a budding journalist and the best choice.
Throughout my two years in the journalism department at San Francisco State, I wrote for XPress Magazine, covering stories from local businesses in San Francisco to nationwide education legislations. As well as produced countless multimedia pieces. In January of 2016 I was offered an internship at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and California, which is now NBC Sports Bay Area and California as of this past Sunday, Apr. 2. Interning at my dream network during my final semester of college was in fact no coincidence. By being given this opportunity I treated everyday as a job interview. Taking 17 units, commuting to San Francisco from Petaluma six days a week, Nanning as a side job and giving everything I had to this internship was no easy task- but, it was in fact worth it. On the last day of my internship I was offered a position with the sports network and have been living my dream at NBC Sports ever since. I concluded my college career earning a bachelor’s degree of journalism and a minor in International Relations- along with a 4.0 GPA.
When I was 15 years old I discovered this wild dream I had to someday become a sports journalist. I truly had no idea how I was going to make that happen, or even where to start. I just knew I had this fire inside of myself and I would spend forever regretting not giving this dream everything I had. No matter how many people told me I could not do it. At 25 years old today, I feel so proud to say that I did make it. As you can see it was not a straight path to success for me. My journey was full of twists and turns, triumphs and failures, but most importantly it lead me to achieving everything I have ever wanted to achieve.
I am so honored to come back to my high school and share my story with not only the students, but with the administration as well. SV played a huge role in my journey and I am truly flattered and humbled to be able to give back any advice I can to help your students chase and achieve their dreams.