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Faces of New Paltz

Miriam Ward - Digital Media/History/Honors Program

Past Faces of New Paltz
Corinne Boughton
Political Science
Alyssa Stock
Secondary Education in
Earth Science

Hometown: Rye, N.Y.
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2015
Major: Digital Media Production & History, Honors Program

  • Co-President, Media & Journalism Society
  • History Club
  • Honors Student Advisory Board
  • Honors Advisory Council


  • Thirteen WNET
  • Meredith Corporation
  • Gabba Media
  • Red Line Films
  • AOL's Rye Patch
  • Rye TV
  • Various independent films

You had your sights set on other schools before deciding to attend New Paltz. Did you make the right choice?
My “dream school,” or so I thought, was New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I dreamt of studying TV & Film. Shortly after receiving my acceptance, I found out that I had just been awarded a scholarship from the New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) Foundation. With NYWICI's tremendous support, anything felt possible for me. But once I came down from cloud nine, I decided to do the math. As the second eldest of five children, the daughter of two hard working parents (one being an immigrant), I knew that I had to personally fund my own education. I could not sign up for a life chained to student debt. I knew I had to swallow my pride and follow my original instinct to invest in an affordable education.

I held a high regard for New Paltz. I loved the location, in the middle of the beautiful Hudson Valley, close enough to the city that I could hold an internship there.  A few days before the May 1 deadline, I paid my deposit to New Paltz and withdrew my acceptance from NYU. It was such a hard decision, but I had no idea at the time that attending New Paltz would be one of the best decisions of my life.

What’s been your most rewarding experience at New Paltz so far?
I’ve had so many opportunities here at New Paltz that have been extremely rewarding. I've been extremely fortunate to create videos and take photos for various departments on campus including the Honors Program and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, among others. Being a part of the Honors Program provided me not only with an interdisciplinary lens to approach my education, but also with a community of inspiring students and professors.

The support I’ve received from the New Paltz Foundation has been incredibly rewarding. Shortly after committing to attend New Paltz, I was awarded the Ruth & Raymond DeRoberts Memorial Scholarship, which supported my tuition and allowed me to allocate more time to my studies instead of worrying about debt.  At the end of my sophomore year, I was awarded the David E. Huyler Memorial Scholarship. Through scholarship support, I’ve been able to seize so many opportunities. At the end of my first year, I was awarded a second NYWICI scholarship from the Meredith Coporation, and I was honored to receive my award alongside Ann Curry, Meredith Viera, Sheryl Sandberg, and Tyra Banks. The support I've received from the New Paltz Foundation has made New Paltz become a true home for me.

Is there a particular subject in history that you enjoy learning about the most?
One of the reasons I love the history major at New Paltz is that we get a diverse range of topics to cover. We're not separated into different silos of the many disciplines of history. Instead, we're challenged to make connections beyond a diverse range of topics.

I have a passion for Medieval European History. In my first year at New Paltz, I took Medieval Europe with Professor Michael Vargas. I fell in love with the subject and took two more classes with Professor Vargas in my sophomore year. He challenged me to bridge my two majors together, and completely out of my comfort zone, I embarked on an independent study investigating Jean Gerson, a medieval Chancellor of the University of Paris who controversially defended Joan of Arc in 1429. We were awarded an Academic Year Undergraduate Research Experience (AYURE) award to support my project, which was incredible. Professor Vargas inspired me to reach new heights I never thought I could reach. I went on to present my findings as the only undergraduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center Medieval History Graduate Conference “New Media and the Middle Ages.” It's the support that reaches outside the classroom, common of professors here at New Paltz, that helps students succeed.

What are your plans for the future, and how do you think your New Paltz education will help make them possible?
My dream is to live in New York City, working as a producer and hopefully, one day, an executive producer for a TV series. I’d love to combine my history interest with my love for media production. Ideally, I'd love to produce a show for PBS or NBC News. I love the entire production process, from pre-production and planning a story to the actual production on a shoot to post production and editing. At New Paltz, I’ve learned not only vital production skills and gained strong knowledge of history, but I’ve been pushed in all my classes to truly think outside the box.

Know any outstanding students, faculty/staff members, or alumni? Let us know!