“Doing a solid” for a friend can be so much more than a random act of kindness. For Tracey Christy what her friends did by introducing her to Nyack College was life-transforming.
Tracey’s co-worker at a day center, Tameka Choctaw-Martinez, told her about Nyack’s School of Education, where she earned her master’s degree in childhood special education with honors. A fellow church member, Jusup Sianturi, was attending Nyack’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. Both her friends were graduating in 2019 with different degrees, but from the same institution.
That was enough motivation for Tracey to investigate further.
“After attending the open house, I felt God’s peace and a sense that this is where I belonged. There was an awesome connection where I could be my authentic self and feel totally accepted.”
Adding “student” to her other roles of wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother reflects Tracey’s determination to experience all that God has for her to live a fulfilled life. Nyack was the perfect environment for the kind of encouragement and support she’d need to navigate the unexpected in life.
“Being enrolled in school during COVID was not easy. I was working full-time as a Pre-K teacher, working in retail on Saturdays, serving in ministry as an elder—all while being enrolled in the Nyack graduate degree program,” Tracey shares. “One of the hardest challenges during the pandemic was the loss of my dear brother, Deacon Ralph Johnson on March 31, 2020 at only 58 years of age. Because he fought a good fight and kept the faith, this encouraged me to continue my educational journey.”
Tracey’s plans are to teach at a Christian school where she can freely share the love of God with her students—the same way she was treated at Nyack College.
“My favorite memory of Nyack will be the one that was most challenging—my attempts to pass the EDG 500 Educational Research class,” she explains. That hurdle helped her recognize an untapped capacity that was in her all along.
Through the balancing act of her many responsibilities, she was never alone. “The two most influential people during my time at Nyack were School of Education dean and professor, Dr. JoAnn Looney, and Dr. Christine Willard, director of the Childhood and Childhood Special Education programs. Dr. Looney was so patient with me and taught me so much. Dr. Willard was there for me when I felt like giving up and assured me I was going to make it through. These two professors also prayed and comforted me when my brother passed away from COVID.”
Christian higher education at Nyack is about much more than learning.
“Nyack is not just an institution or a college, it’s a family of love,” Tracey Christy happily testifies. “When you have God’s love and family, you can accomplish anything!”