Written by Isabelle Hendrich, Faith Editor
New York City, NY – Sleet drizzled down on four cold souls as they walked down the street to Times Square. The two students in the group had never been. Standing side by side on the corner of the street, the women gazed up at the tall skyscrapers, relishing the moment.
From March 8, 2022 to March 13, 2022 Dr. Finch, chairman of the Communication, Media, and Culture Department at Bryan College led a group of students to New York City, NY. Dr. Finch’s wife, Tracy, and two students, Isabelle Hendrich and Amanda Davis, Faith Editor and Family Editor of the Triangle, respectively, participated. While in NYC, the group attended the College Media Association conference. CMA’s mission statement is “to support student media programs and professionals through education and community.”
The conference lasted from the morning of March 9 to the afternoon of March 12. It was held at The Marriott Marquis Hotel NY on Times Square.
Dr. Finch had the opportunity to speak twice during the conference, once on Reporting Past Prejudice and once on the Ukraine/Russia War, the second of which he organized. Dr. Finch presented alongside Andrew Nynka, editor-in-chief of the Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly and Roxy Lorino, an Ukrainian-American movie producer known for Julia Blue.
“The conference highlight for me was the Ukraine session that Dr. Finch organized. I was so proud of how hard he worked to get Roxy and Andrew to be on the panel,” said Tracy Finch. “I feel that bringing such a timely topic to a media conference was a rare opportunity for all the students who attended, and the knowledge they gained will help inform people about Ukraine and help the students become better reporters.”
“What stood out to me about the trip was the camaraderie we were able to develop with each other. I was able to get to know my fellow travelers as people and not just as professors or students. We were able to build a sense of community in a very short time and make memories that will last a lifetime,” Davis said.
On March 9, the group attended a special 9/11 session that included a two hour class and discussion followed by a visit to the 9/11 memorial. On March 10, Dr. Finch, Tracy Finch, Davis and Hendrich attended regular sessions at the conference, including an information talk by the keynote speaker Roy Wood Jr. That night the group got to eat NYC-style white pizza and attend Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, courtesy of Tracy Finch’s friend.
“There are a lot of details that go into planning a student trip. The focus is entirely on the student experience – making sure they are safe, learning, and having a good time. Watching the girls experience NYCfor the first time, reminded me a lot of my first trip to the city,” Tracy Finch said. “I was so in awe of the architecture, the smells, and the throngs of people on the streets. NYC can be a massive sensory overload. I love working with and being around college students, so it was a treat for me to get to know Amanda and Isabelle and support Dr. Finch on the trip.”
On March 11, the group attended the conference and got to see Central Park in the afternoon. The morning of March 12 was reserved for the last session of the conference while the afternoon was used for sightseeing. On March 13, the group flew to their homes for spring break.
“The highlight of the trip for me was interacting with you guys [Isabelle and Amanda], seeing you get to experience New York, and get to do all of the things of the conference,” said Dr. Finch.
“Every time I go to the city I always try to do something I haven’t done before. Because we stayed at NYSUM [New York School of Urban Ministry], I had the chance to see Queens, which I had never been to. It’s always interesting to see how creative people are when they live in such close proximity to their neighbors. I love seeing how shop owners decorate their storefronts or use unique signs to attract customers. The only disappointment I felt (which I feel every time I go to the city) is that there is never enough time to see and do everything I want to. There are so many opportunities to eat good food, see beautiful art, and observe the diversity of humanity that I always leave wanting more and looking forward to the next trip,” said Tracy Finch.
Dr. Finch said, “I love seeing how people have a broader concept of what they could do, how they could follow God’s calling for their life by taking classes like this.”