(Photo courtesy of Ryan Kim)


Annenberg Youth Academy: What my experience was like

The people who have helped have been so devoted to making sure the students do their best.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/ryankim8092/" target="_self">Ryan Kim</a>

Ryan Kim

July 14, 2022
This summer, I went to a four-week program at USC Annenberg called the Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic engagement. The program had a new director in Brittany Scholeton and Krystal Gallegos as a civic engagement intern. They created this program to become one of the best programs I have ever had with students taking two classes — Communications 101 and Journalism with two professors, Eddie Gonzalez and Miki Turner. 

Gonzalez is a third-year Ph.D. scholar and a doctoral candidate at USC where his research focuses on race and ethnic politics. In Communications 101, Gonzalez instructed us to read articles, discuss them and produce three projects on any topic. In the three projects, we included at least one article that we either conferred or used Google Scholar to find.

Turner is a journalist, author, professor and producer. She took award-winning photographs, appeared on CNN and is currently working on the second volume of her book “Journey to the woman I’ve come to love.” In Turner’s journalism class, we learned about diverse types of media, such as news reports, radio programs and podcasts.

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Aside from the two educators every day, the program enclosed guest speakers regularly, such as Elex Michelson, a Fox 11 news anchor, Angela An, a TV news anchor, Nick Valencia, a CNN correspondent and several others. We met some in person and others during Zoom.

As journalists, reporters, directors and managers, some of them shared their experiences at USC as well. As a result of the interviews we conducted with the speakers, some of them provided us with their email addresses so that we could reach out to them.

Throughout the program, we went on two field trips. One was at the Museum of Tolerance where we headed to the Holocaust exhibit with Gonzales. As the tour illustrated how the Holocaust began, affected Jews and the world, and had an impact on the world, many examples and visuals were shown inside, adding to the surreal experience.

The second one was inside the California Science Center with Turner. In class, we learned about the history of Cambodia’s lost imperial city of Angkor. To allow students to explore more freely the exhibits in the different areas, the class split up into several groups after viewing the Angkor exhibit. There were different types of interactive elements such as touching the starfish on the rocky shore or having a little experience reading the news in the L.A. zone exhibits. 

Midway through the program, the class started to prepare their final projects, which we would present to our parents and friends. For Gonzales’ class, we had to create a three-page final paper about a real-world issue.

Turner’s topic was about school shootings; each of us were given a question, such as whether homeschooling would be more effective or who is to blame for Uvalve. Then, we had to photograph or film people while interviewing them about our assigned topic.  We focused on this from the start of the first week by questioning people and reaching out to teachers or adults. Soon, we were getting prepared to compose our topic as we inched closer to the third week of the program.

To demonstrate the projects that we worked on, the director, Scholeton, supported us by providing something new for this program. A coding group called Kode with Klossy came to assist us in designing a website to present what we accomplished throughout this curriculum. They familiarized us with code and many of us made our website through their assistance. Some of us utilized Canva as our website to help integrate images and to showcase our projects. 

Overall, this program has been memorable. The people who have helped have been so devoted to making sure the students do their best. In just four weeks, I have developed my social skills, writing skills, editing skills, coding skills and visual skills in photography and video.

If you’re interested in a career in the media or wish to learn about the media in general, I recommend applying for the program here: https://annenberg.usc.edu/research/idea/annenberg-youth-academy/annenberg-youth-academy-media-and-civic-engagement.