Ryan Staab (’06) graduated with a degree in English/journalism and is featured in the ABC News report  for his work on the Innocence Project, helping to free a man wrongly convicted of killing a teenager (see below).

Ryan is an  example of how training students in both journalism and the humanities allows us to graduate lifelong learners with the critical thinking and writing skills necessary to make a difference in the wider world, a philosophy that permeates the  journalism program and the “Humanities in the Workplace” lecture series.

Ryan wrote this letter to his journalism professor, Susan Paterno on April 29, 2012. Read what he has to say below:


I realize I should have written this sooner, and while I certainly did not act like I appreciated your input while I was a student at Chapman, I wanted to write to thank you for your guidance and supervision of my work both in class and on The Panther during my time as an undergrad.

If not for your assistance, I would not have been able to be where I am now in my career in Adult Probation in Flagstaff, Arizona, a position which requires me to extensively interview defendants awaiting trial and write reports based on interviews conducted.

I was also able to use the skills you taught in my work with the Arizona Innocence Project, a clinic at Northern Arizona University that investigates claims of wrongful conviction across the State of Arizona.  Partly because of what I’d learned working for The Panther as well as in journalism classes at Chapman, my colleagues and I were able to, after three years of work, file the court documents required for requesting a new trial for one of our clients in Prescott, Arizona.  Our work also attracted the attention of the ABC affiliate in Phoenix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-kNhC_gyQg&feature=plcp

Because of what I learned from you, Jerry Hicks and several other journalism professors at Chapman, I would not be where I am today.  I can’t sincerely thank you all enough for your guidance (as well as patience).

Ryan Staab