Hometown: Kenton, Ohio
When Andrew Flinn, an established full-time radio deejay for WKTN Radio in Kenton, Ohio, decided to return to college to complete a bachelor’s degree, he thought he was simply adding to his résumé. Three years later, Flinn will walk across the stage at Commencement knowing he did much more than that.
“This institution allowed me to grow as an individual, a person, and has helped me to ‘graduate’ to the next phase of life,” said Flinn. “The people I’ve met, and what I’ve learned, has helped me to see what there is out there, and how to go about getting it. Networking, research, deadlines, juggling multiple projects and a whole host of other situations I found myself in over the past three years has taught me more than I ever would have known.”
Flinn chose to attend Findlay because its location allowed him to continue working full time at his current job, and nearly 100 percent of his credits from other institutions transferred toward his degree.
Flinn admits that his opinion of higher education was “low,” but quickly changed his mind and came to appreciate the students and faculty members he met at UF.
“I am among some truly remarkable people. The people that I’ve worked with, mostly students, have been the best part of my time here and what makes everything worth it,” he said. “To have the privilege to work among some of these people, knowing what they bring to the table, and what will surely await them when they graduate is a truly worthwhile experience.”
Though Flinn names each faculty member in the Department of Communication as someone who influenced him, two faculty members, in particular, inspired Flinn.
Ron Tulley, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the English Department, knew Flinn was a nontraditional student and connected with Flinn based on shared experiences. “We would discuss many things, and he was able to provide me with insight on my experiences here – and after I’m finished here,” said Flinn.
Chris Underation, assistant professor of communication, was the second faculty member Flinn named as being especially inspirational to him. “No matter what is going on in his world (and I know for a fact it was a heavy load at times), he was able to make time and make you think that you have his full, undivided attention, because you did,” said Flinn. “Great teaching is a knack, a talent which I’ve concluded some can learn, but much of it is instinct. As a student, you know it when you see it, and with Chris, you couldn’t ask for a better example.”
Because Flinn was working full time in the communication industry while he attended Findlay, he was able to immediately apply what he learned in class to the work place. Flinn further applied his knowledge to a senior assessment project to help improve WKTN’s business. Flinn developed a media management project that included a comprehensive website redesign and social media proposal, which he presented to his colleagues at WKTN.
“Andrew has been a very positive influence in the classroom because he tunes into the news and knows what’s going on in the world,” said Jeanette Drake, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and Finn’s academic advisor. “We’ve really been able to tailor Andrew’s program to fit his needs, and that capstone projects was one more example of that.”
Finn encourages other incoming students to “take time to get involved and meet people. Honestly, the only way college is worth anything is if you are involved. There is so much available, and not everyone can experience it the same way you can. You have an opportunity to get involved, and at this institution, make a solid difference. Many students at larger institutions cannot say that. It is a remarkable thing.”