For Scott Reiss (class of 2012) life after graduation is about teaching English. Soon after completed his degree in English and Secondary Education Scott accepted a full-time high-school English teaching position. He reports that teaching is hard and rewarding work. He also tells us that the English major at Keene State College helped develop his ability to think critically about the world and his place in it. Critical Thinking has been an essential part of Scott’s intellectual and emotional well-being, his professional life, and his activities in political and social life.
Scott recalls the importance of Dr. Anne-Marie Mallon’s class on African Women’s Literature. He attended a high school where his classes mostly focussed mostly on traditional novels. Dr. Mallon’s class introduced Scott to a world apart. At the same time, he learned about literary analysis, the practice of intertexuality, and how to transform huge, messy brainstorms into succinct, and clean prose. Now he enjoys preparing high school students for their own college experiences. And he is excited when one of his students tells him they are considering applying to KSC.
Holland Morris (Class of 2013) completed her degree in English literature and secondary education with a minor in writing. And in July she completed her Master’s degree in Education. She is currently in her first year of teaching English at Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, teaching freshmen, sophomores, and seniors.
Holly stays in touch with faculty and loves hearing about new generations of students who choose Keene State College. The classes and experiences that most impacted her intellectual life at Keene State included her first writing class, Creative Experimental Nonfiction, with Dr. Kate Tirabassi, who created a genuine sense of community in her classroom, and Theory and Practice with Dr. Kirsti Sandy, where she discovered herself through writing and published her first two pieces of writing.
During his four years at Keene State College, James Chevalier (Class of 2009) excelled as a student athlete. He graduated with honors in English, completed a minor, in history and was a star on Keene State College’s baseball team. James developed a special interest in post-colonial literatures and completed a course in Indian Writing in English and an independent study on African literatures. James is also a fiction writer, and his advisor Brinda Charry describes him as “a fine writer whose fiction is intense but also deliberately understated and subtle.” James also taught English honors students from his alma mater, Souhegan High School, as Dr. Charry’s teaching assistant for a seminar on Shakespeare she conducted at the invitation of the school. On the baseball field, James was middle infielder and was the recipient of the Rawlings Golden Glove Award in 2008. James is currently teaching English for business professionals in the bustling city of Seoul in South Korea.
Megan McLaughlin (class of 2008) transferred to Keene State in the spring of 2004, after a short stay at Colby Sawyer College and New Hampshire Technical Institute.She chose to major in English with a minor in Writing, driven by a long-standing love of writing and reading. After studying autobiographical and nonfiction writing with Dr. Kirsti Sandy, she discovered a passion for seeking truth through writing. Megan developed her academic writing through Dr. Mark Long’s seminar on the poetry of Mary Oliver, and a survey course on 20th century American literature. Inducted into Sigma Tau Delta in spring 2006, Megan will serve as treasurer for the 06/07 school year. During the summer of 2006, Megan worked as a tutor/counselor for KSC’s Upward Bound program, where she shared her love of writing with a class of high school students, encouraging them to share their unique experiences with peers, keep journals, and explore themselves through writing.Megan hopes to continue working with high school students, helping them to find the confidence and self-awareness to choose an appropriate college and life path.
When people ask Bethany Lasko (class of 2007) “What’s your major in school?” her automatic response is “English” which is followed by a silent Ooohhh and a nod of the head, which means, “Yeah, that fits you.” Then, as predictable as snow in January, comes “Are you going to be a teacher when you graduate?” No. I don’t want to be a teacher. Last spring I studied abroad in England, the homeland for an English major. It was an experience I will never forget and one I hope to repeat, if only to see the couch where Emily Bronte died one last time. Yes, it’s that kind of experience. I am the president of the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. “STD! Our passion is infectious!” Now wink and enjoy the pun like we do. Junior year I read a book called Mountains Beyond Mountains and as cliché as it sounds, I was moved. I asked STD for help and together we raised more than $2,300.00 for an organization called Partners In Health. Our donation went to Haiti to buy antibiotics for Tuberculosis—a disease the average American worries little over, to build houses ruined by Katrina, and to send children to school and get them off the streets. When I graduate this May, I am going to walk away from Keene State with a BA in English, and I’m going to use it for the rest of my life. I’m going to help organizations like Partners In Health to the best of my ability, which is writing. So to anyone who asks, I say, “No, I won’t be a teacher. I’ll be a grant writer.”
Sara Edwards (BA 2004): In his book Making the Most of College, Richard J. Light asks why some students make the most of their college years, while others look back at missed opportunities. Drawing on ten years of interviews with Harvard University seniors, Light shows that students who “make connections between what goes on inside and outside the classroom report a more satisfying college experience” (14). Sara Edwards’s three years as an English major at Keene State College were all about making connections. She worked closely with faculty members on subjects such as classical rhetoric, the literature of Richard Wright, early American poetry, and even her own life in an autobiography course with Dr. Kirsti Sandy. Sara was also heavily invested in faculty/student committees and in community service activities. Sara participated in the General Education Review Committee, played on intramural sports teams, and was an Orientation Staffer during the summer months. During her first year, she became involved with the Social Norms Committee and from there worked with search committees for RAs, RDs, and different Directors on our campus. She also volunteereed for Habitat for Humanity, Circle K, the Community Kitchen, and the Big Brother/Big Sister organization. Sara is currently teaching middle school language arts in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.