Ben Mehic, Managing News Editor
Needing equipment, students sought Keith Henry – the resident camera person who specialized in solving technological issues in that wing.
But when students returned to campus in the spring, Henry – along with his boisterous laugh and love for cigarettes – was gone.
Henry, a former UC student, became a staple in the journalism department. A lifelong Pioneer, Henry became a mascot of sorts – a mythical being in an otherwise quiet section of the campus, if you will.
His shoes have been filled by Laura Lewin – a full-time, visiting assistant professor at SUNY Oswego. Lewin has been teaching broadcasting classes at Oswego, but her temporary position will end in May. Lewin found Henry’s former job under the listings on UC’s website and has been on campus for the past month.
“I happened to see this and put my application out there, just to see if my schedule would work for what they were looking for,” Lewin said. “It did.”
Lewin remembers pretending to be a weatherwoman when she was 5. Her friend would play the keyboard, introducing her to the stage as she opened her shades, mimicking a camera. When she was old enough to finally broadcast something, Lewin became her high school’s speaker, reading announcements every morning.
Lewin went on to receive her associate’s degree in radio and television broadcasting from Herkimer County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from SUNY Plattsburgh and two communications-based master’s degrees from SUNY Stony Brook and Marist College, respectively.
When she worked as an assistant in one of her studio production classes, her communication skills stood out, as her peers suggested she become a professor. From then, she found a passion for teaching.
“I’ve been trying to keep my door in the colleges to hopefully one day become a full-time professor,” Lewin said. “I’ve always wanted to be a professor.”
Lewin hasn’t been on the UC campus for very long, but has already discussed potentially teaching a mass communication class in the fall.
“It all depends on what that turns into,” she said. “I love teaching, so I need to keep my foot in that door.”
For now, Lewin is hoping to take advantage of the studio she’s been working with – one equipped with a full-sized news set, robotic cameras and an operating station. Lewin believes that students on the UC campus aren’t aware that it even exists, making it somewhat underutilized.
“What I would like to see is just more students coming down and knowing the studio exists,” she said. “The psychology students said they didn’t even know we had a studio. There’s a resource on campus that could be used for a greater good. It’s important to get it out there.”
Like her full-time position at Oswego, Lewin’s temporary position at UC will end the first week of May. Instead of thinking about its finite nature, Lewin wants to see the students’ creativity grow, as she has on other campuses.
“You have these four walls and cameras – now what do you want to do?” she said.
Lewin has been working with psychology students on their projects and has enjoyed her time at UC. Henry’s presence has and will be missed, but Lewin hasn’t had much of an issue transitioning to the role she took.
“At every job I’ve taken there’s always somebody you have to fill,” she said. “But I have a personality that generally can come off as genuine to people. I’m outgoing, so I’m cognizant of other people and what’s going on. It hasn’t been too much of a challenge to slide into the role. Everything’s going pretty well.”