Meaghan RocheRockville Center, NY
Academic SchoolCommunication & the Arts
Meaghan Roche loves to ski.
As she sits in the Center for Sports Communication on a Wednesday afternoon, the first of her final two semesters slowly winding down – she’ll hate that I mentioned that – a young man, looking like a freshman, enters the room with an envelope. He silently hands it over to Meaghan, who opens it and begins counting money. “Thanks, Jack,” she says, as “Jack” turns to leave. The rest of us sitting alongside her in the Center are curious, maybe even a little suspicious as to why Meaghan is being handed wads of cash a few times a day. She chuckles, saying, “What? It’s for Canada.”
As a devoted member of Marist’s ski-team, Meaghan has found a side passion. Not a hustle; the money is for trip expenses, she swears. She adores their yearly ventures to Canada, where the team can lodge and hit the slopes without the cares of school in their minds. But the passion she sees leading her into the future is for sports, specifically sports journalism. While sports broadcasting may have had more accessible “female role models,” as she recalls, Meaghan never saw herself behind the mic. I guess that’s why we get along so well.
“I’ve always liked writing and have found a natural talent there. Over the years, my family and friends have asked me to proofread and edit different things they’ve written, and I’ve found that not only am I good at finding ways to make other people’s writing better, but I enjoy it too,” she said. “I’m a self-proclaimed perfectionist and grammar snob, as you know, so I love taking something that’s good and making it as best as it can be.”
As a kid, Meaghan wanted to be an author. She, unlike many but much like myself, was a big reader, and hoped that someday, she would “be able to say [she] wrote a whole book that people wanted to read and would enjoy as much as I would.” While her desires have taken a slight turn since, she still loves the idea of writing something that is meaningful. “That much hasn’t changed.”
The Roche’s ties to the Hudson Valley have always kept Meaghan relatively aware of Marist. “I’ve been familiar with the area my whole life… it holds a special place in my heart.” My forehead crinkles. “I know what you’re thinking,” she says. “Really? Poughkeepsie? Yeah, I love it here.” It has been clear for some time that Meaghan belonged at Marist, specifically in the school’s Center for Sports Communication. Her love for the school came long before her enrollment.
“It was the first college I ever toured, and I first saw the “old” Marist – the Marist before the dining hall ‘looked like Hogwarts” and the rotunda wasn’t nearly as impressive – back when I tagged along on my older brother’s college tours when I was just a freshman in high school. From that day on, I silently and selfishly hoped he wouldn’t choose to go to Marist because I wanted to go there and I didn’t want to go to the same college as him,” she said.
After holding out hope on what was not an uncommon sentiment for a younger sibling, she got her wish. Even before arriving, Meaghan knew that this was her school. This was, as a matter of fact, her home. The opportunities were endless, as the old cliché goes, and Meaghan witnessed that firsthand, even before arriving.
“During my senior year [of high school], I got an email from Strudler inviting me to come to one of the Center for Sports Communication’s Speaker Series events, featuring sportswriter Jeremy Schaap. The event fell on a holiday off from school, so I came up to tour and sit in on his talk,” she said. “Marist was already my number one school; there wasn’t much left that the campus itself needed to prove to me. But what stood out to me the most was how well spoken and interested the students were that asked questions of Schaap. I wanted to be one of them.”
Now, she is. Through Strudler-led projects like the school’s popular speaker series, as well as present projects like Center Field, Meaghan has not only bolstered a resume capable of seeing her employed wherever she’d dream to be, but she has honed her focus. Sport has always been a driving factor in her life, from her unfortunate love for the New York Yankees to her desire to produce meaningful work on the sports side of journalism.
When Center Field first began publishing, Meaghan was immediately named Executive Editor. Whilst, at that time, not having a relationship aside from “fellow classmate” with co-founders Matt Rzodkiewicz and Marco Schaden, they quickly became some of her closest friends. As time went on, Meaghan continued to climb the ranks. She has since served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief, and will be the site’s EIC starting in January of 2019. It didn’t start out that way.
“I get an email from the department about Center Field, and I go to the first meeting and sign up for what I’m interested in, but I asked the kids who seemed to be in charge if they needed someone to be an editor. They didn’t really seem to have a solid answer for me,” she says, just citing a classic Marco moment. “A few weeks go by, and I hadn’t really heard anything, until one day I ran into Leander [Schaerlaeckens, the department’s interim director and faculty advisor for Center Field] on the way to class. He asked if I had gotten involved and I told him I had expressed interest in editing, I’m a proofreader for the writing center, I’m good at it, I like it. He passes on my info; I get an email from Marco later that day asking me to come to their meeting. I walked in there thinking I would just help out with copyediting the stories. I walked out of there with the title “Executive Editor.” Two semesters later, the Center is my second home, and my Center Field co-editors are my second family.”
After our Monday afternoon Magazine Writing class last semester, Meaghan and I would typically veer toward Donnelly Hall, hoping for short-ish lines and fresh coffee. Not for Meaghan, though. She is, as her Twitter bio states, “one of those weird journalists that doesn’t like coffee.” But we make the trek regardless. She may get a bag of chips, or she may just be along for the ride. The one thing I notice on these walks that never falters is Meaghan’s demeanor when we enter the building. She seems irritated, as she shields her eyes from the clock by the entrance, one that is counting down the days until graduation. “Don’t tell me; I don’t want to know,” she exclaims. Afraid, I comply. Although I don’t know why she’s so worried. She’s got a brighter future than anyone I know.
Written by: Will Bjarnar '20