Receiving frantic phone calls from ABC News producers who need script information three minutes before airing is a regular occurrence for Calvin graduate Ryan Struyk ’14 (seated second from left in photo).
“My any given week can range from helping write questions for an interview with Hillary Clinton to weeding through financial reports on candidate spending to writing a piece for our website. You never know what to expect,” Struyk said. As a political reporter and researcher for the 2016 election with ABC News, Struyk surprisingly isn’t anxious that there is little room for error; in fact, the energy and fast pace of the newsroom is his favorite part of the job.
From Cutlerville, Michigan, Struyk came to Calvin as an aspiring high school math teacher. During his first semester, he interned with a local political party and took a political science class, causing him to rethink his educational course. He decided to major in math and political science and even debated dropping his math major, to which his adviser said, “No, you’re not.”
Struyk is now thankful for this guidance as well as his experience writing for Chimes, since his various responsibilities with ABC News require both writing and math skills. “Thanks to [my adviser’s] experience in D.C., he knew that a math major would really help me stand out. It has opened all kinds of doors that wouldn’t have been open if I didn’t have a math major,” he said.
Struyk spent his final semester interning with ABC News on the Washington, D.C., semester. After graduating, he worked for a polling unit in New York through that November, then as a reporter for the Idaho Statehouse for four months, then returned to Washington to work on elections in July 2015. He has been working for ABC News ever since.
“I came into Calvin wanting to be a teacher, and I’m still teaching in a lot of ways, except the world is our classroom,” he said. “I really value truth-telling [in politics]. I try to educate voters and make sure they have the information they need. That to me is one of the most important things for people to understand: the repercussions and implications of how they’re voting.
“At Calvin, we like to talk about how our job is to usher God’s kingdom into every square inch, and this is a square inch that a lot of Christian college grads don’t end up in,” he said. “A lot of people are really frustrated with politics, and as Christians, we can’t abandon it as a hopeless endeavor. It is important that we’re active in the world of politics.”
Struyk’s hope for Calvin graduates is that they don’t settle for less than their potential. “It’s easy to think that we can’t reach the highest tiers of our career fields that we’ve chosen, but Calvin grads are among the most qualified people in our spheres,” he said. “Calvin grads really do have an opportunity to change the world. I’m two years graduated and working with a team that is shaping a presidential race. That’s a cool opportunity.”