Outstanding Student: Ryan Kehl, School of Journalism and Media Studies

Friday, May 10, 2024

Photo of Ryan Kehl
Photo of Outstanding Student, Ryan Kehl

Ryan Kehl's journey through San Diego State University's Journalism and Media Studies program has been marked by resilience, dedication, and a passion for storytelling.

Reflecting on his educational path, Kehl acknowledges the significant support he received from scholarships, including the John L. Baldwin and Shawn A. Baldwin Scholarship for Journalism Excellence, the Val Ryser Memorial Scholarship, and the Project Rebound Student Scholarship. He shares, "The support from the scholarships has not only eased the financial burden of my education but also affirmed my dedication to making a meaningful impact through journalism."

 When asked about influential faculty members, Kehl highlights the guidance of Xiaohan Hu and Jiyoon Han. He appreciates Hu's foundational teaching in advertising and digital analytics, which aligns with his career aspirations. Kehl also values Han's mentorship during his final advertising capstone project. 

He reflects, "Choosing between Dr. Hu and Dr. Han is challenging because they’ve greatly helped me. But if I have to pick one to highlight, it would be Dr. Hu. Her classes gave me the foundation I needed in advertising and digital analytics, which are vital for what I want to do next."

 Engaging in campus life, Kehl participated in various activities, including The Daily Aztec, Mustard Seed Project, PSFA College Council, and the Society of Professional Journalists SDSU Chapter. These experiences broadened his perspective and honed his leadership skills. 

Kehl's career aspirations in creative direction stem from his fascination with the narrative power of advertising. His academic journey equipped him with storytelling skills and strategic planning abilities, evident in his work with The Daily Aztec and a capstone project revitalizing the North Park Thursday Market. 

He shares, "At SDSU, I pursued Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising, keen on exploring how stories could shape perceptions and drive change." 

Internships and involvement with The Daily Aztec, Project Rebound, and PSFA College Council provided Kehl with invaluable insights and lessons in resilience, leadership, and advocacy. 

He recalls, "These experiences have been foundational in shaping my career aspirations and personal growth. They have taught me the importance of storytelling with a purpose, the strength found in community and support networks, and the value of empathetic and assertive leadership."

As a non-traditional student, Kehl faced challenges balancing academics with parole obligations and transitioning to online learning. Overcoming these barriers strengthened his resilience and instilled a deep appreciation for education as a tool for personal transformation. He reflects, "Each interaction with my many parole agents in the backdrop of my studies served as a stark reminder of the path I had chosen to leave behind and the new future I was forging through higher education."

To the Graduating Class of 2024, Kehl shares a simple yet profound message: "Be yourself, do what you do, and do it well." He encourages them to stay true to themselves, work hard, and pursue their passions with dedication and excellence. He concludes, "It is important to find your own path and be your best at what you do. Good luck!"

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