POV: Our work mom, Mary, is the absolute best

Mary Christopher (seated), surrounded by (from left) Megan Postal, Hollie David and Isabella Hudziak in October 2022. (Photo: Tangerine 75th anniversary Facebook page)

Mary Christopher (seated), surrounded by (from left) Megan Postal, Hollie David and Isabella Hudziak in October 2022. (Photo: Tangerine 75th anniversary Facebook page)

Isa Hudziak:

My first semester of college was during COVID-19. It was the Fall 2020 semester, and as a new commuter on campus, I felt very isolated from the rest of my residential peers. Many events or experiences were residential only, and there were few spaces where I felt truly welcomed.

Until I sought out the school newspaper and met Mary Christopher.

My first week on campus, I went through email chains with an English professor to find out where the school newspaper was located and how I could join it. I dabbled with journalism in high school and thought that I could continue it in college.

When I walked into the computer lab in the Faculty basement, I felt intimidated– but Mary had bright pink glasses and, as it turns out, knew both my sister as one of her students and somehow my mother from when she worked at Macy’s. She instantly made me feel like I belonged and mentored me through my early articles, all with kind, constructive comments on my work that always ended with a smiley face.

Over the years, Mary has become like a second mom to me. I’m sure any former and current staff members would agree that she is one of the kindest, responsible and ready-to-report people on the planet. She guided me through difficult articles and encouraged me to apply for higher positions like News Editor, Managing News Editor and eventually Editor-in-Chief.

She was the first person to congratulate me when I learned of my Salutatorian achievement and she was also the first person to hug me when I was struggling to figure out aspects of my degree. When I finally got my driver’s license, she texted me early the next day to ask: “Did you drive today?!” She gets excited for me and comforts me when things go wrong, and let me tell you, her hugs are some of the warmest out there.

I started this year as EIC without Mary as our advisor due to unforeseen circumstances. However, even though she was not officially our advisor at the time, she stayed up late nights at home to edit articles and check over print. She even did this once when she had COVID, which goes to show how dedicated she is to not only the newspaper, but her students.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank her for not only being a mentor and advisor, but a confidant and vocal supporter of everything I have done and plan to do. She added so much life to my undergraduate experience and I am more than grateful for it.

Hollie David:

On my first day of classes at Utica University, circa fall 2021, I had my first very class on a Monday morning around 9 a.m.

I was stressed being in a new school, having to navigate making new friends and worrying about my future. My plan was to coast under the radar, simply get through classes and go home. 

When I walked into my first class I didn’t realize at the time that I was going to be meeting one of my mentors on campus who would help me navigate the next two years. 

After a few weeks of classes, Mary Christopher asked me if I would write a story for the paper. I did and soon after she was offering me the job of Features Editor with the paper. I was nervous and intimidated but she had faith that I could do it successfully. 

As I was nervously trying to fit into this role she was there to give me support and encouragement. She helped me hone my writing skills and was always there to give feedback and help solve problems with the biggest of smiles. 

Similar to my EIC Isa, I see Mary as a mom figure. Besides acting as a mentor for the paper, Mary is always there if you need a hug, a shoulder to cry on or moral support for any reason. She is one of the first people I reach out to when I am having a bad day and is always there for me when I need her. 

Fall of 2022 semester was one of the hardest I dealt with at Utica. Between breaking news, big stories and life happening I had to navigate it without Mary who was out due to various circumstances. While she was not on campus (and it was obvious we could all feel her presence missing) she would still answer any phone call or text, would stay up late to look over print and would edit articles with us in a pinch if we needed help. 

Having her back this semester is one thing that has kept me going when times have seemed tough. A few weeks ago I was in the office overwhelmed and crying and she came in. Without prying or asking questions she hugged me and simply said ‘you text me if you need me.’ Mary is one of the most caring, kind and thoughtful people I have ever met. 

I wanted to take some time to thank Mary for being such a huge part of shaping my college experience. She helped me find the path I want in life, and supported me through good times and bad. I will always be thankful for everything she has done for me. 

We love you Mary,

Isa and Hollie