BCC Professor & BCC Graduate Win EMMY Awards

Bronx, NY – Bronx Community College (BCC) has the distinction of having a Professor and a BCC alumnus win EMMY awards in the same year. The winners are:
• Dr. Debra Gonsher Vinik, Chairperson of Bronx Community College’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences where one of her responsibilities is helping run BCC’s Media Technology Department.
• Bronx Community College Alumnus (1994) Walter Garaicoa collected another EMMY this year to add to the two he has already received.

What was it like to win? “It was absolutely hysterically fabulous,” said Dr. Gonsher who attended the ceremony at the Marquis Mariott in New York’s Times Square where she received her EMMY award. She and her husband have been nominated twice before.

For Walter Garaicoa, “Oh, my God! I felt so honored and proud. I was thinking two years in a row…unbelievable! Being nominated for an EMMY is already by itself a fabulous distinction, but winning again is a true blessing,” said Walter who graduated from Bronx Community College in 1994 as a Media Technology and Music major.

“Dr. Gonsher is one of many talented professors who enrich the lives of Bronx Community College students. It gives me great pride to congratulate Dr. Gonsher on her selection as an EMMY Award Winner,” stated BCC President Dr. Carolyn G. Williams.

Dr. Gonsher’s documentary,”And the Gates Opened: Women in the Rabbinate,” a sixty minute documentary that examines the struggle by women for the right to be ordained as rabbis. It includes the stories of and interviews with the first three women ordained, Rabbi Sally Priesand, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Rabbi Amy Eilberg, of the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Movements respectively.

The documentary, which originally aired on ABC affiliated stations, is currently showing at film festivals across the nation. It was produced in conjunction with The Jewish Theological Seminary.

The Emmy is Television’s most coveted peer recognition award. The judges come from local television stations, networks, cable programming services and independent production facilities. The Emmy Awards are administered by three sister organizations; the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Emmy Awards recognize excellence within various areas of the television industry. The awards are a symbol of peer recognition from over 12,000 members of the Academy. Each member casts a ballot for the category of competition in their field of expertise.

Diva Communications, a NY based award-winning programming and production company, headed by Dr. Gonsher and her husband David Vinik, specializes in the creation of video for broadcast, marketing and educational purposes. You can visit the Diva Communications website at divacommunications.com and see the opening sequence in quicktime format @ gates For more information call 212 397-7259 or e-mail info@divacommunications.com

For Walter Garaicoa, winning one EMMY® Award in a lifetime would be special. At 36-years-old, he is already the proud holder of three. His EMMYs are for the following shows:
• “Secrets of NY,” Walter Garaicoa’s third, and latest EMMY, was for a show series that presents interesting and little known facts about places, people, and events in the Big Apple. This EMMY was solely awarded to Walter as Best Editor of an Entertainment Series, 2006.
• “Blueprint NYC,” Walter Garaicoa’s second EMMY was for a show series that highlights New York City’s most impressive landmarks that have changed the history of New York. This EMMY was solely awarded to Walter as Best Editor of a Documentary Series, 2005.
• “Ground Zero: A Ceremony Without Words,” presented the closing ceremony of the rescue efforts at Ground Zero, winning in the category of Outstanding Event Coverage of a 9/11 Related Story. All the production members won an EMMY, including Garaicoa in 2003.

At BCC he acquired early TV production experience as an intern working at Crosswalks TV, now called NYC-TV. Graduating from Lehman College with a Communications B.A. in 1996 and parlaying his internship into a full time job, Walter was soon editing major documentaries.

Walter received his third Emmy at the same black-tie ceremony at the Marriot Marquis-Times Square Hotel this past March when Dr. Debra Gonsher received hers.

When Walter’s name was called at the 49th Annual New York EMMY Awards Ceremony, he said he was very nervous about walking up and accepting the EMMY statuette which is 12 inches tall and six inches in diameter. His wife, whom he met at BCC when he was a student, was sitting right next to him when the loudspeaker announced:

‘And the EMMY goes to…Walter Garaicoa, editor, “Secrets of New York.”‘ “There I was in front of hundreds of television and media professionals including broadcast news, entertainment, sports, advertising agencies, the industry’s top production people…the best and brightest in the business. I didn’t know what to say or how to start,” Walter stated. Walter managed to collect himself and accept the statuette.

The third EMMY Award, after being nominated eight times, won’t change Walter’s focus on his professional life, he says. He is determined to realize his American Dream – “to continue building my own company, to be financially independent and to have a happy life with my family.”

Walter, who is originally from Ecuador, first attended Hostos Community College and then came to BCC to improve his English. He transferred to BCC and continued his language studies.

“Learning a language takes desire, determination, discipline,” he emphasizes. “To learn to speak English, I had to stop talking in Spanish. I had to find friends who didn’t always speak Spanish. I had to force myself to watch newscasts, read newspapers and good books so that I could learn spelling and grammar. I wanted to show people that I could pronounce words correctly and accurately, construct sentence so that people wouldn’t be distracted by my accent or the way I wrote.

“This EMMY is quite special to me. This year, I decided to immerse myself full-time in my own company WGTV Productions, LLC. These EMMYs, which recognize my editing abilities have helped me to establish business relationships with many different clients such as: TGI Fridays, Dunkin Donuts, The Hartford Insurance Co., ADM Productions, Bronx Community College, Lehman College. And through Bronxnet’s partnerships: Hunts Point Development. Corp., Monroe College, & The Council on the Arts.”