Quick Links

Beacon Boost helps Ryan Looney Land His Dream Job


By Brad Kuhn

Find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

That aphorism has been ascribed to everyone from Confucius to Mark Twain, but it hits a little closer to home for Beacon alum Ryan Looney (humanities ’23), who recently leveraged the confidence he gained in college to land his dream job — working from home as a writer for a popular online entertainment magazine.

“I wanted to do something I would enjoy, something that, at the very least, aligned with my humanities degree,” Looney said. “I remember typing ‘virtual writing jobs’ into Google and this was the first one that came up.”

The job that came up was a virtual freelance writing position at Collider, a publication he’s read for more than a decade to keep up with his favorite television series, including Game of Thrones, and movies, such as the recent Dune remakes. He had his doubts about whether they’d hire him, considering he doesn’t drive and lacked any previous experience in the field.


“I didn’t actually think they were going to give my application a serious look,” Looney said. “I’m proud of my writing abilities, but I’m still just a recent college graduate. I figured they were probably looking for someone with much more experience.”

But he’d taken chances before — competing in Beacon’s Got Talent and the Dueling Club — so he embraced his fear and applied anyway. Now he writes about Game of Thrones and Dune.

Looney said it feels surreal to go from reading about his favorite shows in Collider, to writing about those shows in the magazine for other fans to read.

It takes talent to land and keep a job like that, but Looney credits his Beacon education, and the inspiration and encouragement he received from all levels of faculty and administration with giving him the courage and confidence to apply — even when his fears told him it would be a waste of time.

I think it was within a week or two of arriving at Beacon that Dr. Hagerty (Beacon College president) asked me to go to lunch with him and his wife,” Looney said. “I’m visually impaired, and he is too, so it made me feel at home. I have enormous respect for him and his family.”

Born four months premature, Looney says he has been visually impaired since birth and struggled academically. He has been diagnosed with autism, but suspects that he also suffers from dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and obsessive compulsions.

“I did not know I had learning differences until I was in high school,” Looney said. “But as someone who’s visually impaired I’ve always kind of stood out. It wasn’t really until about halfway through community college that I actually started kicking into gear academically, after the people at the Department for the Blind told me I needed those skills to live independently.”

Looney still lives at home with his parents in Charlotte, N.C., but hopes to move into an apartment with a friend from Beacon as soon as that friend graduates next year.

List of Collider articles by Ryan Looney Writing about entertainment is only the first step. He is taking acting classes and once he has established his independence he’d like to move to Atlanta, and eventually New York or Los Angeles where he hopes to pursue a career in film and television.

Who knows, one day some future Beacon grad, after years of reading Looney’s stories, may find themselves writing about him in Collider.