Chances are, you already know the person in this month’s Siena alum Q&A.
You’ve probably seen her broadcasting the news on WNYT NewsChannel 13, or you definitely heard over the radio on “Chuck and Kelly” in the morning.
She’s the amazingly talented Kelly Lynch Wyland, a Siena grad from Clifton Park with a major in English—and the perfect example of how careers these days can take unexpected twists and turns, and how Saints are always prepared for exactly that.
Find out what she’s been up to since leaving the broadcasting world, who she fondly remembers from her Siena days and more.
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE SIENA?
I was looking for a smaller school, somewhat close to home. Being from the Capital Region, I knew what a great reputation Siena has and when it came up as a match in a meeting with my guidance counselor, I was surprised but thrilled.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PROFESSOR OR COURSE THAT REALLY IMPACTED YOU, EITHER PERSONALLY OR PROFESSIONALLY?
My absolute favorite professor was Dr. Elaine Ognibene. I had her as a first-year student, and when I switched my major to English, she became my advisor. In her English classes, she introduced us to incredible writers who inspired us to see the world differently and raised our awareness of women’s issues decades before the “Me Too” movement.
In her oral communications class, she helped me develop confidence in public speaking, which was hugely beneficial down the road when I became a news anchor and reporter. She had a kind, gentle and articulate voice that I can still hear in my head today. We periodically kept in touch over the years, and I was tremendously saddened to learn of her passing in 2017.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH—FROM NEWS ANCHORING TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW. WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Back then, Siena didn’t have a journalism program, so almost all of my experience was gained through multiple internships at WNYT NewsChannel 13. While I was there, I did everything I could get my hands on. I went out with reporters on stories. I helped write for newscasts. In between shows the other interns and I would go out on the set and read the script from the 6 p.m. news and record it. I came in on weekends to listen to the scanners and learn how to edit video.
A month after I graduated, they hired me in the production department to run studio camera and teleprompter. A few months later, I moved to the newsroom as an associate producer on the morning show and worked my way up to a part-time reporter. I spent about 15 years as a news reporter and anchor and then switched over to radio to co-host “Chuck and Kelly”, a morning drive news talk program.
After 10 years, Chuck retired, and I recently left broadcasting to become the Media Relations Manager at the Center for Internet Security. Interestingly, the Chief Technology Officer at CIS is also a Siena grad, and fellow member of the class of ’95, Kathleen Moriarty.
In my current role, I am responsible for helping to get the word out about our nonprofit cybersecurity organization and what we do, and raising awareness of cybersecurity issues and steps people can take to protect themselves, their families, homes and businesses.
HOW DID SIENA PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER GRADUATION?
For a variety of reasons, Siena taught me to see obstacles as challenges, rather than roadblocks. I stumbled into an internship opportunity at WNYT my junior year and was told that only seniors could do internships. I did it anyway, for no credit, while carrying a full academic course load and working part-time at a restaurant. It led to a job in my field immediately after graduation.
Studying abroad was the single best experience of my college years, and I would strongly encourage every student to consider it. Seeing the world outside of our little bubble provides such a deeper insight into human nature, and learning about other cultures teaches a greater understanding and respect for our differences. I studied in Australia but also had the chance to live in a native village in Fiji with no running water and no electricity. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience and something I am so grateful to have had the chance to do.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS CONSIDERING SIENA?
Take advantage of all that Siena has to offer outside of the classroom. So much has changed since I stepped on campus 30 ago and there really is something for everyone. Also, because it is a smaller school and almost everyone lives on campus, it’s easy to find “your people” but always be open to making new friends.
And finally, travel! Whether it’s the study abroad program or opportunities for volunteer work in underserved communities, DO IT!
GLAD YOU CHOSE SIENA?!
Come see Kelly’s alma mater in person. We’d love to show you around.