Saturday, April 14, 2012

Internship Offers a Variety of Experiences to One ASU Senior

"Great to see you Jordan!" calls a volunteer, as Jordan Moon sits down at his office cubicle at Sun Sounds of Arizona. "Yeah, good to see you too, Ben," he replies.

Moon is speaking metaphorically. Like many of the 49,000 people who use the statewide radio reading service, he is blind.

A senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Moon spends several hours a week as an intern in the marketing department of Sun Sounds. As one would expect, he performs the typical intern tasks – writing on-air promotions, feature stories, newsletter articles and press release for the state-wide radio reading service.

But Moon will tell you that this particular internship is one that has given him "great vision."

"Because of my internship, I can clearly see my future. I want to help people who are like me," he said.

And Moon has proven that he has the leadership potential and innate passion to make that goal a reality. In 2010 he co-founded Ability Counts Tempe, a disability awareness student group at ASU designed to promote social interactions between students with disabilities and the general ASU community.

Since Moon started his internship in January he has emphasized marketing Sun Sounds’ radio reading service to a younger, more technology-savvy audience. While a majority of listeners are over 60 years old, and listen to Sun Sounds on a special radio, Moon demonstrates how a younger generation that is familiar with smartphone accessibility might use the service. On his smartphone Moon opens the free iBlink Radio app, touches the "radio reading service" menu item, and then touches "Sun Sounds of Arizona Tempe." Instantly, the live radio broadcast begins to play.

Sun Sounds of Arizona, a community service of Rio Salado College, serves people living with disabilities that make it difficult to read print. Volunteers read newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals aloud over the radio, internet and telephone. The organization promotes accessibility as one of its core values. Staff, volunteers, and student interns alike have equal access to resources. Moon and others with visual impairments use screen reading computer software for office productivity and internet access. The radio broadcast software that controls all on-air programming is screen-reader friendly. Staff and volunteers are alert for walkway obstructions or unmarked hazards that could trip a person with a visual impairment.

Internships at Sun Sounds expose students to many aspects of broadcasting, social service and education radio reading service, and it also serves the organization. "Part of what we do is to teach our colleagues that people with visual disabilities are not unlike the rest of us. They use smartphones, they download apps, and they say ‘See you later’ just like I do," says Heidi Capriotti, Marketing Coordinator at Sun Sounds.

Moon will graduate in May with majors in journalism and political science, and intends to pursue a law degree. During his college career Moon’s articles have been published in the Arizona Republic, Arizona Capitol Times, Tucson Daily Star and ASU’s State Press.
Moon is now in the process of looking for a job and is interested in many areas, including music, journalism, politics, law, teaching and public relations. "But whatever I do," he says, "I want to make sure that I do it in the same manner as the staff and volunteers at Sun Sounds – with care, professionalism and passion. Hard work for the sake of helping people is inspirational and I now see as my clear path."