Bryanna Allen-Rickstad is the latest in a long line of Castleton alumni to become staff members of the local paper, The Rutland Herald.
Allen-Rickstad is now a full-time staff member covering education and mountain towns as well as part of Rutland Town and said has already gotten a nickname from the other staff members at the paper who refer to her as “the kid.”
So far her desk is fairly clean and devoid of any real personal belongings outside of two AP Stylebooks, a rolodex, whiteout, a calculator, some tape and a picture of her with her younger sister. It has much less stuff on it than many of the other desks at the paper, but she was quick to add that likely will change soon.
“It’s because I just started. Give it a month and it will be a disaster zone,” she said.
She said she originally interviewed for a part-time reporting job working about 16 hours a week, which ended up not being the case.
“I was shocked, it wasn’t a job I applied or interviewed for,” Allen-Rickstad said.
She said two weeks after the interview she got an email from the paper asking her if she wanted a full-time job at the paper, not part-time. She added that she read the email “a bunch of times” to make sure it was saying what she thought it was.
“I was scared to accept it. I had to call my mom first,” she said with a laugh. “She was the first person I had to tell.”
Though she does not actually graduate until May, she finished classes in December and started at the Herald April 6.
The news that she was able to get a full-time job as a reporter right of college comes to no surprise to those who worked with her on The Spartan.
“She’s an amazing reporter. When I have read her stories, she gives such amazing descriptions, it just makes you want to keep reading,” said current Co-Editor Rebecca Roe.
The news also came as no surprise to one of her former editors at The Spartan, Martina Marchese.
“I think it’s awesome and she’s a great writer and it’s a wonderful starting opportunity,” said Marchese, who added that if anyone was going to get a job out of college as a reporter, it was her.
Dave Blow, a communication professor and advisor of The Spartan, was extremely happy when hearing about Allen-Rickstad getting a job and was quick to offer praise to one of his former students.
“She’s a good writer, a good interviewer and a good storyteller,” said Blow. “I was so psyched to hear she got that job, joining another recent grad, John Shramek.”
Allen-Rickstad was equally quick to offer praise to her former professor and advisor and his classes.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Dave,” said Allen-Rickstad. “Dave would be like ‘you will use this’ and it’s true.”
One thing Allen-Rickstad is still working on is adjusting from The Spartan, which was printed bi-weekly, to The Rutland Herald, which is a daily newspaper.
“It’s more intense than I thought it would be, but I love it,” she said.
Shramek, a 2012 Castleton graduate and full-time sports writer for The Rutland Herald, also praised the former paper he spent a long time writing for.
“I think there’s a definite learning curve,” said Shramek before adding that working for The Spartan makes the jump easy.
Allen-Rickstad mentioned multiple times is just how happy she is to have a job in her field.
“It feels really great to be using my college education,” said Allen-Rickstad. She added that when she interviews people for stories, they ask her how long she has been with the paper and when she says that she just graduated, people are blown away that she got a job in her field of study.
Rob Mitchell, Editor and Online Editor for The Rutland Herald, is excited to begin working with Allen-Rickstad.
He added a disclaimer first about this not being true with everyone, but said generally they look for a combination of both skill and potential.
“I look forward to working with her and developing all of the different aspects of her skill set that you need to do this job well,” said Mitchell.