Ryley Fallon ‘24 is the Editor-in-Chief of Windhover, NC State’s literary and art magazine. In late October, her team was recognized by the Collegiate Associated Press with several Pacemaker awards and a second place Best in Show award. Ryley spoke to us about her involvement with Windhover and how the Park Scholarship has supported her interests and passions.
Ryley Fallon, Class of 2024
Hometown: Lucedale, Mississippi
What are the Pacemaker awards? What does it mean to you and to your staff to receive these awards?
The Pacemaker awards are collegiate journalism awards presented by the Associated College Press. Windhover LVI, released in spring of 2022, received a Magazine Pacemaker in addition to a Pacemaker 100, part of a series of awards given to publications that have collected many Pacemakers in order to commemorate the awards’ 100th anniversary. Windhover also received second place Best of Show at MediaFest, a collegiate journalism conference that was held in Washington D.C. These awards show that Windhover is a competitive publication and is representative of a diverse group of talented student leaders. A university school with a majority of STEM students is producing a nationally-recognized literary and art magazine, and that’s exciting.
What led you to become the editor-in-chief of the Windhover? What drew you to the Windhover?
Camilla Keil (Park Class of 2023) served as editor-in-chief for Windhover LVI and was one of the very first people I met at NC State, during Finalist Weekend. During winter break of my freshman year, she was serving as a section editor, and I texted her from my couch to see how I could get involved. I was a volunteer that semester and literary editor in my second year. Had I not had her encouragement, I’m not sure if I would have been confident enough to get involved so early in the publication. I admired students like Camilla that were being intentional about their creative endeavors among their many responsibilities.
How has the Park Scholarship supported your interests in literature and journalism?
Park Scholarships, specifically my mentors and peers, have been really supportive of my major change from Chemistry to English even though the Park cohort predominantly consists of students pursuing STEM degrees. My homework looks very different from my engineering friends. They have a lab report due at 11:59 p.m., and I have three poems due. From Zoom meetings with my faculty scholars about my favorite humanities courses to attending open mics with my peers, I’ve felt the support to pursue my passion for writing and art studies not just as a hobby but as a career.
What was your proudest Park moment?
I can’t pick a particular experience, but I find it really special to reflect on how much my class has grown. It’s always nice to hear what people are up to and remember them talking about how passionate they were about whatever it is even during the first semester we were here. The success is special when you’ve seen the ups and downs.
What was the most unexpected experience or benefit of the program?
I never expected to pursue the humanities in college or at NC State, much less receive so much personal and professional support for it. I am also lucky to have a window into other sectors of campus. I think we’re a stronger community when we can get excited about what everyone is doing and value interdisciplinary approaches to issues.
What opportunities have you found in the humanities?
Sometimes leadership in the humanities can be hard to conceptualize, especially in comparison to fields like science or business. It can be hard to find the resources, but I promise they’re there. For example, Windhover is housed by NC State’s Student Media Department, which is a whole department dedicated to helping students lead in publishing. When we support this type of infrastructure, we make creative leadership more accessible.
Why is it important to participate in the humanities and arts at the college level?
It is essential for students to have creative outlets and opportunities to build community. Humanities help us understand ourselves in the context of others, which is so important to belonging and mental health. As someone interested in popular media studies, I always go back to the idea that everyone has enjoyed reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a song. That connection was a result of an artist being empowered creatively and connected to a community. Sometimes art is there for us when appropriate resources aren’t. We have to support creative endeavors and never underestimate just how much art and its ability to connect us makes life worth living.
What literary works inspire you?
I love reading and writing poetry. As a first-generation student and daughter of a welder that came to college as a chemistry major interested in research, I never thought I’d be able to write at the college level much less feel supported. Poems that I love to read and strive to write are ones that dispel the myth that poetry is for an elite few. Working with Windhover, I’ve seen literary work from so many different types of students, and I’m always interested to see what people choose to highlight. I’m excited when others are excited about the humanities.
I admire it when students see art in their everyday life even in unconventional ways. The Windhover team is considering accepting more alternative art forms than ever (like art made using 3D Modeling) so be on the lookout for that. We are accepting literary, art, audio and video submissions.
Learn more about Windhover at windhover.ncsu.edu.