Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Ostry, ’18
By Eva Richards
Ryan Ostry has hosted National Football Watch Parties and worked as a Social Media Ambassador for the NIU Alumni Association. He also reviewed scholarship applications for the Honors Program.
For Ryan Ostry, volunteerism and NIU have always gone together.
The University was an important part of Ryan Ostry’s life since his childhood, when his older sister and mentor Jamie attended the university in the early 2000s.
“Ever since stepping foot on NIU’s campus for the first time as a young man, NIU was in my blood, and I fell in love with everything that the school represents to its core," Ostry said. "Educationally, NIU has set me up for the success I have had post-graduation. I have worked at a newspaper, a small TV station, had a couple sales jobs and marketing jobs, and now I’m doing human resources, which I love. I wouldn’t be who I am today or in the position I’m in today if it wasn’t for NIU.”
As a kid, Ostry moved around quite a bit, originally growing up in Naperville and then moving to Joliet, Shorewood and Plainfield, Illinois. He loved the sports world, especially baseball and basketball, but he was also interested in journalism and communications as a teen. After high school graduation, Ostry knew exactly where he wanted to go.
“For me it was a no-brainer to choose NIU. Not only was I familiar with the school and its location, but I wanted to carry on the legacy that my sister Jamie did,” he said. “Oh my goodness, I’m elated every time I hear the acronym NIU. My time at NIU was nothing short of superb. I was very involved in my few short years in DeKalb, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the word. That was the happiest time of my life.”
Ostry studied journalism, communication and marketing in college, with the highlight being his time working at the Northern Star newspaper.
“I just fell in love with the field of journalism,” he said.
Ostry was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity where volunteer service was required for each member, and the experience made him realize how much he enjoyed volunteering.
“It was a great brotherhood experience, as we were able to bond and help out our community,” he said.
Ostry also had an internship at the Volunteer Action Center in Sycamore where he was able to gain knowledge for his courses while also giving back to the community in a variety of different ways. Finally, his last semester at NIU, Ostry volunteered at Hope Haven homeless shelter doing intake forms and serving meals to those in need.
After college, Ostry landed a reporter job at Bugle Newspapers, a group of nearby suburban papers, before working at Naperville Community Television as a sports reporter. Living near the University allowed him to continue to give back to the community. In particular, in the last several years, he has hosted National Football Watch Parties and worked as a Social Media Ambassador for the NIU Alumni Association. He also reviewed scholarship applications for the Honors Program.
Today, Ostry works in human resources for accounting software company DL & Associations, LLC in Schaumburg, Illinois, and he really enjoys his work.
“I owe all of those experiences to NIU,” he said. “Volunteering at NIU when I was student, and post-graduation life being a part of the NIU Alumni Association, has helped cultivate a variety of friendships I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Ostry noted that volunteering has afforded him the chance to meet different people from all walks of life—an opportunity that has changed his perspective on life.
“I love NIU, and the school and my experiences meant the world to me. That’s why I decided to become active in the NIU Alumni ASsociation because there’s a bond that we all share, which is we want to constantly do what we can to improve the school and the community,” he said. “For those deciding if they want to volunteer at NIU, I would just say that if you’re like me and NIU has provided you with a skill set and experience that will be with you the rest of your life, I think there’s a sense of gratitude and thanks I want to show by striving to always improve the situation for current students, future students and its community members.”