Alumna turns internship into opportunity with Ken Burns' production company

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A College of Communications graduate has turned her internship into a full-time job.

Megan Ruffe was hired as an apprentice editor for Florentine Films, the documentary production company owned by award-winning director and producer Ken Burns. Ruffe has been working on the company’s series about the Vietnam War -- a 10- to 12-hour TV series that will debut in PBS on 2016 -- as an intern, and she will continue her work on the project in her new role.

As an apprentice editor, Ruffe will be preparing media -- making the editing process easier because footage, music and photos are organized for other editors. Most of Ruffe’s responsibilities have involved media management, logging footage and editing scripts.

“The best part has been working with the amazing people here,” said Ruffe. “I’m really excited. The stories being told in this series are important, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Ruffe had the opportunity to be part of a rough-cut screening of the series a few months ago. Interns were also invited to sit in on meetings with the staff members to discuss potential changes. A series of question-and-answer lunches with staff members helped interns get more information about editing, producing and writing films, too.

Ruffe, from New Hope, Pa., served as the student marshal for the College of Communications at Penn State commencement exercises in August. She earned a bachelor’s degree in film-video and a bachelor’s degree in geography. While at Penn State, Ruffe was the co-creator and editor of two short documentaries. She also directed “Stories at Sea,” an oral history project documenting the stories of people aboard the Semester at Sea MV Explorer.

Ruffe completed a multitude of internships during her time at Penn State and studied abroad on four separate occasions. Along with Semester at Sea, she traveled to Egypt, India and London. She achieved dean’s list status every semester and was a part of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Burns, known for his use of past footage and photographs, has produced numerous award-winning documentaries for PBS, including: “The Civil War” (1990); “Baseball” (1994), which earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series; “The War” (2007); and “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (2009), which earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series. His documentaries “Brooklyn Bridge” and “The Statue of Liberty” earned Academy Award nominations in 1981 and 1985, respectively. Burns provided the commencement address for the College of Communications and received an honorary degree from Penn State in 2010.

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