A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Passion for Storytelling Propels Graduate Division Writer

December 12, 2015

Christy Snyder loves a good story. It doesn’t really matter the medium ­ book, movie, Web content, television — she just loves to lose herself in a world of a writer’s making.

Christy SnyderThat appetite for good stories drove her to earn a master’s degree in literature. It also led her to UC Merced, where she serves as the communications manager for the Graduate Division. She’s the division’s master storyteller. Whether she’s writing news stories or curating content, she’s constantly discovering good stories that deserve to be told.

“This job was made for me,” she said. “It’s the perfect combination of my favorite career experiences — writing, Web development and project management — with a few surprises here and there to keep me on my toes.”

Since joining campus earlier this year, she has written about 30 stories promoting the achievements and research discoveries of graduate students. She overhauled the division’s website to better serve users and showcase what sets UC Merced apart from other research universities. She also contributes to recruitment efforts, serves as the division’s photographer and graphic designer, and lends website assistance to graduate groups as needed.

“What we offer here is so different from the experience I had,” she said. “I had to work hard to get attention from my university because it was so big. In contrast, many of our graduate students are on a first-name basis with at least one person in our office. The investment we place in our students and their success is like nothing I’ve ever seen throughout my career in higher ed.”

When Panorama caught up with her, Snyder shared more about her life on and off the job:

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your current position?

My position was created to overcome a challenge. The Graduate Division staff is doing so many wonderful things to help support our graduate students, but there were no dedicated resources when it came to documenting the effects of our efforts. As communications manager, I get to take the extra step from knowing about what we do to showing the impact our students are making in the areas of research and industry, as well as the impact our programs have made on our students.

What do you love most about your job?

I’m a sucker for a good story, and UC Merced has a lot of great ones here. Every day, I meet students who do more to change the world before noon than I’ve managed to do in the last year. But by telling their stories, I feel like I am making my own very important impact on the world around me. At the very least, I make an impact on them.

You say you love a good story. What should we read over the holidays?

For some easy entertainment after the stress of the holidays, I love the fast-paced action of anything by Lee Child, Harlan Coben or Michael Connelly. Also on my holiday reading list is "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande. I’ve heard some great things about it, so I’m really looking forward to it.

What's your favorite thing to do in Merced?

I have two kids under 3, so we go to the park — any park — a lot. Our family has done the great park tour of Merced and found Rahilly on Parsons Avenue and Bernasconi on Via Moraga to be our favorites.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

With little ones at home, I don’t get much spare time. I use the few precious moments after the kids go to sleep to read or indulge in a Netflix binge. But if I have the luxury of an hour or two on the weekends, I enjoy making things — baking, quilting or even refinishing furniture.