Teaganne Finn ’16 embarked on a transformative independent study that combined social justice initiatives and investigative reporting. Mentored by Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Cheryl Forbes, the independent study titled, “Children of Migrant Workers in the Finger Lakes” explored the lives of migrant workers in the region.
A native of Geneva and recipient of the Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA) endowed scholarship, the writing and rhetoric major had been aware of the “vital and ignored” migrant community in the Finger Lakes and became involved in the Rural and Migrant Ministry’s youth programming which works to empower young people in rural communities. The group consisted of eight middle and high school students from families of migrant workers.
In mid-February, Finn arranged for the youth group to visit the HWS campus and engage with the Colleges for the first time.
“I wanted to bring the children to campus to show them what college looked like,” she explained. “Many of them had never visited a college campus so showing them the new performing arts center and bringing them to the pub for lunch was a big deal.”
The students also attended an introductory leadership class led by Centennial Center for Leadership Coordinator of Programs Kaylyn O’Brien ’12 and participated in a conversation with Director of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina.
“I thought it was a very successful day,” Finn reflected. “The students asked a lot of questions about tuition and sports on campus and what it was like being away from home. I think they got a lot out of the day and it gave them an idea of what college life is like. Most importantly, they learned that college is possible if they continue to excel in school and do outside community service in their hometowns.”
This fall, Finn will begin a master’s degree in public affairs and journalism with an investigative specialty at American University and hopes her project will culminate in a series of journalistic stories on the migrant community.
“Most importantly I wanted to continue to help the students and give them some of the tools I was lucky enough to have learned from HWS,” she said.