From Tea to Travel Writing, Via Miami Middletown

Jackie Sheckler in Iceland.

Jackie Sheckler Finch in Iceland.

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

When Jackie Sheckler Finch saw a notice in The Middletown Journal about a tea for older adults interested in attending Miami University Middletown, it changed the course of her life. After going to the 1969 spring tea ‐ and with the encouragement of MUM Professor Dr. Elizabeth Krukowski ‐ Finch applied for a National Defense Student Loan and entered MUM that fall.

"Being able to live at home and take evening classes as well as day classes was an important option for me because I had two young children and had to schedule my life around them," she said. "Money was tight and sometimes I would have to check books out of the library rather than buy them to read for my literature classes but my MUM professors made it all possible."

While on campus, Finch was part of the MUM Forensic Team, historian for the campus theater group, writer for campus newspaper KAOS, and public speaker for the MUM Speakers Bureau. "It was at Miami Middletown that I took my first airplane flight when the Forensic Team flew to Washington D.C. for National Speech Finals," she said. "It was also at MUM that I had my first newspaper article published in The Middletown Journal."

Jackie Sheckler at the MUM speakers bureau in 1971

Jackie Sheckler Finch at the Miami University Middletown Speakers Bureau in 1971-1972.

After getting her degree in 1973, Finch taught high school English for 10 years in Ohio and Massachusetts before switching careers and becoming a newspaper reporter at The Standard‐Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

She became a Hoosier in 1989 when she accepted a position as reporter for The Herald‐Times in Bloomington, Indiana. Now editor of The Herald‐Times homes and lifestyle magazine, Finch also is a travel writer for a newspaper syndicate and several magazines as well as being a travel blogger for two cruise websites. She has written 18 travel guidebooks for Globe Pequot Press in Connecticut.

A member of The Society of American Travel Writers and Midwest Travel Writers Association, Finch has won numerous writing and photography awards. She was named The Mark Twain Travel Writer of the Year a record five times.

"If not for going to that tea and learning what Miami Middletown offered, I might never have gone to college," Finch said. "It was at MUM that I learned that my childhood dream of being a writer was actually possible. I have never had a problem getting a job because MUM prepared me so well. I am very grateful to MUM and the faculty for helping me move forward on the path I always wanted to take."

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