Tag Archives: Alumni achievers

Michael Brindley ’03

NHPR Newscast Producer/Reporter Michael Brindley ’03

Michael Brindley ’03
Michael Brindley ’03

Those of you within the NHPR (New Hampshire Public Radio) listening area are familiar with the voice of reporter Michael Brindley ’03. During the decade since graduation, Brindley worked for several newspapers in the Granite State, but in 2012, he made the switch to broadcast journalism, still motivated by the infectious enthusiasm he shared with his professors and fellow journalism students here at KSC.

Read all about it. …

Ben Swope ’99 Lighting Up Broadway

Ben Swope ’99
Ben Swope ’99

For the past few years, Ben Swope ’99 has been lighting up Broadway—currently as associate lighting designer for The Realistic Joneses, “an outrageous, inside look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know, and the secrets we never imagined we all might share.” His earlier Broadway productions include Fela! which tells the story of the great Nigerian musician Fela Kuti through his songs and the choreography of Bill T. Jones, and Ann, a one-woman show about Ann Richards, the Texas Democrat who jabbed that George W. Bush “was born with a silver foot in his mouth” during the 1988 Democratic national convention.

Swope majored in theatre design and production at Keene State, specializing in lighting design, and his career path has obviously paid off. “I am proud to say that between that study and the personal experience I brought to KSC, I was able to begin working professionally immediately after graduating in 1999,” Swope said, “first as an intern at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA, and then as the production electrician at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston where I oversaw crews installing and setting the lighting for the productions.”

Always looking to expand his horizons, Swope went on to earn an MFA at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. “My career in the theatrical lighting industry is broad and expands beyond the bounds of theatre,” Swope explained. “I am part of a team of designers who light retail windows for Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Ave. in NYC as well as for the Barney’s store and Cole Haan’s flagship at Rockefeller Center. I have also worked as an assistant to a few architectural lighting designers. … In 2013, I visited 11 countries as the lighting designer and production supervisor for the Battery Dance Company’s Dance to Connect program, which takes dance and movement to underserved communities in all corners of the world. Our 2013 tour included Greece, Romania, Hungary, Georgia, Macedonia, Malta, Germany, Laos, Thailand, and Nigeria. It is one of the most exciting opportunities this career has offered as I am able to visit places I would otherwise not likely visit.”

Sounds like a rewarding career, doesn’t it? “I’m proud to have made it where I am today and hope I can continue to grow personally and professionally,” Swope said.

Wanted: Alumni Awards Nominations

KSC Alumni logox300There are a few weeks left for you to submit nominations for the KSC Alumni Association Awards.  The Alumni Association Awards committee is seeking nominations to recognize individuals and organizations that have shown outstanding achievement and/or service to the College and Alumni Association. The awards will be presented at Reunion this coming June.

Please think about alumni you know or have heard about and submit a nomination.
Forms are available online in pdf format,  or you can phone us at 603-358-2369. Please don’t hesitate to re-nominate a person or group and add any new information.
Deadline for nominations is April 20, 2014.

Alumni Achievement Award
Given to an alumnus/na for outstanding achievement in his or her chosen career field, which brings credit to the individual and Keene State College.

Sprague Drenan Award
Given to an alumnus/na for his or her support of KSC Alumni Association activities and programs.

Alumni Inspiration Award
Given to recognize exceptional accomplishments of a KSC alumnus/na who has graduated in the last 15 years. Areas of recognition may include professional accomplishment, personal or civic involvement, or support of Keene State.

Outstanding Service Award
Given to an individual or group for outstanding service to Keene State College. The recipient need not be an alumnus/na.

Ernie Hebert

Ernie Hebert ’69 Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Ernie Hebert
Ernest Hebert ’69 receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Writers’ Project (photo by Jane Eklund)

Novelist and Dartmouth Professor of English Ernest Hebert ’69 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Writers’ Project on Saturday, March 22, at the group’s Writers’ Day Conference.

“I was very proud to receive the lifetime achievement award for the obvious reason that, like most people, it feels good to be acknowledged for work you’ve done over many years,” Hebert said. “In this case, there was an added bonus to receiving the award from a group that I have great respect for, the New Hampshire Writers Project. It’s kind of a gathering place and support group for New Hampshire-based writers, editors, agents, and publishers. They don’t discriminate between so-called literary authors and commercial writers. The result is, as a participating member, you get to schmooze and network with all kinds of different people working in the literary arts. I think that’s healthy for literature and the people.”

And we couldn’t help asking if KSC had played a role in getting Hebert where he is today. “I’ll always be grateful to Keene State for starting me off in a career,” he explained. “Without KSC, I never would have discovered the writer in myself.”

Patrick Hardy photo

Patrick Hardy ’09 Director, New Member Sales, NAM

Patrick Hardy photo
Patrick Hardy ’09

Former political science major Patrick Hardy ’09 recently joined the National Association of Manufacturers as Director, New Member Sales. Previously, Hardy worked as a vice president of Business Development with Keys to The Capitol, where he was responsible for acquiring new clients for the K Street Government Affairs firm. He has also worked as a Field Director for Frank Fannon for Alexandria (VA) City Council. Most recently, he served as a project coordinator for Alexandria Republican City Committee, where he coordinated all donations and fundraising efforts as well as developed contacts to increase organizational building potential.

Molly Brewer ’11

Molly Brewer ’11 Recognized as Promising Practitioner

Molly Brewer ’11
Molly Brewer ’11, Promising Practitioner

Molly Brewer ’11’s excellence in her classroom has earned her the New England League of Middle Schools’ designation as a Promising Practitioner. Brewer, who teaches Spanish at the Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro, Me. will be honored at the Leagues’ 33rd Annual Conference in Providence, R.I., March 31–April 1. This annual award is based on the recommendations of teachers, parents, and administrators and is designed to “honor excellent teachers who are beginning their teaching careers and who are effective middle-level educators that provide powerful learning for their young adolescent students.”

Brewer came to Medomak Middle School in the summer of 2012 as the new Spanish teacher. “I walked into my classroom to find nothing in front of me but a couple of Sharpies, which happened to have been left in my desk, and four tables with folding chairs,” she recalled. “I had to create my entire curriculum from scratch, and with very little materials. In some ways, this was a blessing. I did not have to try and follow in a previous teacher’s footsteps, or try and tweak textbook lessons to make them my own. Needless to say, it was a very long first trimester, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

Obviously, she arose to the challenge—but she was well trained. “Keene State College prepared me exceptionally well for my position. I was exposed to different grade levels throughout my methods and student teaching, which taught me how to deal with and respond to many different types of situations. The experience I gained from writing hundreds of lengthy lesson plans and creating units from scratch definitely came to use when I was given the task of creating the Spanish curriculum for my school.”

Congratulations, Molly. Well done!

Douglas Glennon ’98 photo

Douglas Glennon ’98 Recognized in the Union Leader’s “40 under 40” List

Douglas Glennon ’98 photo
Douglas Glennon ’98

Douglas Glennon ’98, who runs a software consulting business out of his home in Barrington, NH, selects a nonprofit organization each year that he helps and offers free assistance or IT support at a discounted rate. He was recently chosen for the Union Leader’s “40 under 40” award, which recognizes 40 New Hampshire citizens under 40 years of age who have “contributed significantly to their field, their community or the state and should have the potential to do much more in future years.”

Of course, we wanted to know if his time at Keene State contributed to him becoming the person he is today. “Certainly the education I received at Keene State College has helped me in my career and my volunteer activities a great deal,” Glennon said. “There are courses that I took at KSC that I still think about when dealing with organizational structure and how groups of people ‘form’ into a team. This has helped in every committee or project that I’ve ever organized or participated in. But, even beyond the book-wise education, I would say that the ‘soft skills’ that I learned were almost as important. KSC is the first place that gave me the opportunity to step out of my shell and actively participate in the community.

“I always felt comfortable at KSC and it made it easier for me to seize an opportunity to be Student Body Vice President my sophomore year. I’m not sure that I would have had the courage to do that any place else. That role in particular brought my attention to the greater community beyond the college boundaries. The work that I did with the city’s government, the USNH system, and the various KSC administrators in that role prepared me for the civic engagements that I participate in today. KSC taught me a lot about how to be a part of a community, how to participate, and simply that sometimes the most important thing you can do is just ‘show up.’

“I was also fortunate enough to study abroad while at KSC. I think it’s important to be well-rounded and understand that there are different cultures and different ways of thinking. When dealing with large events, and contributing to the community as a whole, there are many moving parts and many people from all walks of life. Having an understanding of working with different personalities and joining disparate ideas into a common goal becomes not only useful, but mandatory in that scenario. The time I spent at KSC helped me a great deal in learning how to do that.

“I’m proud to be born, raised, educated, and now raising my family in the state of New Hampshire. KSC and the rest of the USNH system is an incredibly important part of our state’s ability to continue to be ranked as one of the best places in the nation to live.”

And Keene State is sure proud of Doug!

Jennifer Dunnington ’93 (Photo by Aidan Dorn)

Jennifer Dunnington ’93 Joins the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Jennifer Dunnington ’93 (Photo by Aidan Dorn)
Jennifer Dunnington ’93 (Photo by Aidan Dorn)

Motion Picture Music Editor Jennifer Dunnington ’93 was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ class of 2013, honoring her for the work she’s produced during her career. The Academy welcomed 276 members, including Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Liu, Jason Bateman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Pena, and Chris Tucker.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Academy and to play an active role in the screening, voting, and celebration of  widespread talent in the film community,” Jennifer said.

She was on campus last March to share her craft with students and the community and has plans to be back the March to conduct a weekend workshop. Stay tuned!

More information. …

Katrina Hodgson ’06

Bravo TV Goes behind the Scenes of Katrina Hodgson ’06’s ToneItUp Workouts

Katrina Hodgson ’06
Katrina Hodgson ’06 (Nicole Hill Photography)

When Londonderry, NH, native Katrina Hodgson ’06 came to Keene State to study health science, she didn’t think she had much business savvy—or so she says. But during her senior year, she teamed up with some computer science students to create a website where she could share her love for sports nutrition and encourage students to eat a healthy diet. Their efforts were remarkably successful. “The site was getting hundreds of clicks every week!  We thought it was the coolest thing and we ended up being awarded an Academic Excellence Award for the site,” Katrina recalled. “I’ll never forget that! It made me feel like I could really dream something up and create it and be recognized for it. As soon as I graduated, I wanted to start a website and brand.”

Which is just what she did. Not long after graduation, Katrina moved out to California, where she met fellow fitness trainer Karena Dawn. The two became friends and business partners, and started making a series of online workout and nutrition videos designed, said Katrina, as “a place where women could find fun workouts, delicious, healthy recipes, and support one another in their goals and aspirations.” The website, ToneItUp.com, became immensely popular, receiving over 1.8 million unique visitors a month and over 600 twitter mentions per hour. So popular, in fact, that the Bravo TV channel created a six-week series called Toned Up, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at Katrina and Karena’s fitness business. Toned Up airs Thursdays at 10 p.m., with a one-hour series finale on February 6.

Katrina and Karena Dawn
Katrina and Karena Dawn (Nicole Hill Photography)

And Katrina credits KSC’s Health Science program and the wealth of resources at the Spaulding Gym for giving her the professional and scientific background she needed to launch her career. As soon as her parents dropped her off as a freshman, she headed to the gym to check it out. “It was three stories equipped with everything I needed to keep me motivated for my Health Science major. The first person I met there was Christine Miles, Bodyworks Manager and Group Fitness Coordinator, who really made the biggest difference in my college career,” Katrina remembered.  “As part of the Health and Fitness major, I had the opportunity to work at BodyWorks to train students, create workout programs, give fitness assessments, and become the senior fitness specialist,” Katrina explained. “By the time I graduated, my resume already had a few years of experience on it, which helped me become a master trainer right away at Boston Sports Club.  Keene really prepared us to create our own careers.”

“I loved Strength and Conditioning with Sarah Testo [recreational athletic coordinator—assistant BodyWorks manager],” Katrina said. “I still use everything I learned from her! It’s funny how often we think of our professors after college and how much we use later on in our careers.  I also loved sports nutrition, which led to the core of our business—our Tone It Up Nutrition Program which includes on-the-go recipes and college tips.”

But maybe most of all Katrina loved teaching women how to work out. She loved teaching exercise classes at the Rec Center and later at Boston Sports Club. “Classes are a great way to give more than one person a workout in an hour,” Katrina said, “and to market yourself as a trainer. I would gain a few clients every week from classes. Doing videos gives me that same ability—I can upload a video and give even more women a workout.  Videos also helped me gain recognition in the fitness industry.”

It wasn’t long after she’d moved to California and met Dawn that the duo created a line of DVDs as Jane Fonda’s New Faces of Fitness for Target. “It was really surreal and I’m still in awe,” Katrina said. “Fast forward to 2014, and we are independently producing our videos and creating workouts for our favorite magazines.”

Her advice for students who aspire to a career in fitness training? “Use the resources that are provided for you. If you can’t find them, ask for them! As a trainer, document progress, always have empathy, be a good listener, and give your clients a fun experience each time they workout.”

Check out this clip from the show:

Molly Jae Chase ’10

Molly Jae Chase ’10, Swing Dresser on Broadway

Molly Jae Chase ’10
Molly Jae Chase ’10, swing dresser for The Book of Mormon

What’s a swing dresser? It’s a stagehand who maintains the quality of the costumes worn in a theatrical performance, each time it’s performed. Dressers are responsible for assisting cast members with backstage costume changes, when necessary, and they often assist with quick costume changes. As a swing dresser with The Book of Mormon on Broadway, Molly Jae Chase ’10 had to learn six of the dressing tracks for the show so she can handle one of them at any time. “At The Book of Mormon they are all extremely fast paced and heavy loads with around 30 quick changes each,” Molly explained. “It is extremely hard work, but the most fun I’ve ever had at work.”

Though she originally wanted to be onstage, Molly fell in love with dressing when she filled an empty dresser’s slot for the production of Fat Men in Skirts during her junior year. “From that moment I spent more and more time in the costume shop during my time at Keene State, and with the guidance of the incredible professors in the KSC TAD program I have been dressing fairly steadily ever since,” Molly said.

It seems that Molly acquired more than just technical skills as a Theatre and Dance major at KSC. “I learned how to be confident in both myself and my craft,” she said. “I learned about the importance of professionalism, and community. I learned how to think outside the box and not be afraid to take risks. I learned about hard work and versatility and drive, just to name a few.”

“Our program has something every school should be jealous of, and that is teachers who inspire,” Molly remembered. “The professors make sure that they reach out to every student in every class and somehow make the students crave learning about their craft. We have an extremely driven department that makes sure we not only have the skills we need to do the things we want, but also the skills in crafts that affect what we want to do. As someone who focused on costumes, I also had to take carpentry, acting, and scene painting, etc. Some students took a directing or a stage-managing class. And students studying to be actors or dancers had to have one credit that had them participate as part of the backstage crew, and vice versa. We were constantly inspired by our mentors, and they taught us that hard work is the only way to really get where you want to go, and that you can do it without being cutthroat.”

Abe Osheyack ’06

Welcome Back, Abe Osheyack ’06

Abe Osheyack ’06
Abe Osheyack ’06

Abe Osheyack ’06, former sports information director at Smith College (Northampton, Mass.), is returning to Keene State to serve as our SID. He takes over the position from Stuart Kaufman, who spent the past 21 years in the role and was KSC’s first full-time SID. Kaufman is moving into a role as a writer/editor in the College’s Marketing and Communications Department.

“I’m unbelievably thrilled to be coming back to Keene State College. Not many people get the chance to return to their alma mater, and for me, it’s a humbling and exciting prospect,” said Osheyack, who stepped into his new position on Monday, January 27.

While at Smith, Osheyack revamped the office of sports information, bringing in such innovations as an enhanced website and social-media presence, live statistics, video interviews and highlights, and online broadcasts of home athletic events.


Josh Luft ’08 with his camJAMR-protected smartphone.

Josh Luft ’10’s camJAMR Getting Media Attention

Josh Luft ’10  with his camJAMR-protected smartphone.
Josh Luft ’10 with his camJAMR-protected smartphone.

As a computer science major, Josh Luft ’10 is well aware of computer security issues, including a little-known webcam problem he realized when he was Skyping with a friend: “What would it take for someone to intercept this streaming video?” Josh wondered. “Could my webcam be accessed while I’m not using Skype? After some short research, I was shocked at what I found. Not only were there ways to remotely access people’s webcams, you could even disable the indicator light that lets you know your webcam is turned on. I was shocked, and honestly I felt a little creeped out that someone could be watching and/or recording me.” Not convinced? Check out this CNET article.

So he started sticking Post-It notes over his webcam, which worked for a while, but soon fell off after he’d opened and closed his laptop a few times. And the adhesive left a residue on his camera lens.

A protected iPad Mini, with Moustache Pack
A protected iPad Mini, with Mustache Pack

After some trial-and-error product development, Josh came up with specially designed stickers that are removable, reusable, durable, and don’t leave a residue—printed with color images to make them more fun and trendy—that he calls camJAMR Webcam Covers. This simple, yet effective device has been reviewed in the Washington Post and in The Journal News (White Plains, NY).

A pack of 12 camJAMRs   (pronounced “cam jammers”) comes on a business-card-sized sheet, in 13 different styles, and fits over the camera lens on such devices as laptops, iPads, iPhones, iMacs, MacBooks, desktops, smart TVs, Xbox One (or Kinect), and cell phones.

“There are tons of news articles about webcam hacking on both our Facebook page  and our website,” Josh said. “We recently posted an article exposing how Facebook had to patch an exploit that allowed hackers to access webcams. Even the FBI addressed how serious this issue is and encourages people to cover their webcams.”

Chris Bell ’11: Open, Learning, Creating

Chris Bell ’11 with the resin-cast columns he made for the Bergdorf Goodman holiday display. The columns were made to look like they're carved from ice.
Chris Bell ’11 with the resin-cast columns he made for the Bergdorf Goodman holiday display. The columns were made to look like they’re carved from ice.

Design and Technical Theater major Christopher Bell ’11 was recently back at the Redfern, working behind the scenes with Pilobolus for their big show in October. Shawn Ahern ’10 introduced Bell to some of the Pilobolus executives, who said they were interested in having Bell intern with them, and he jumped at the chance. “The first time they performed at Keene State in 2007, they really inspired me, and I knew how great it would be to work for them,” Bell said. “I really enjoyed their organic process and how family oriented they are. I was able to learn many different sides of the business while also channeling my own creative energy into something tangible.”

Since Pilobolus is a world-renowned company that works with artist all over the world, Bell’s work with them opened the door to many important professional connections. “I hooked into a group of artists that were creating the holiday window for Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury-goods department store on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, and they were looking for someone of my skill set,” Bell explained. Not long into that project, it became apparent that Bell would need some help. “I mentioned Gary Beisaw [’12] to them. They had a phone interview with him that night, and Gary flew out from Texas a few days later.”

“The project involved a process called resin casting which was I was not too familiar with,” Bell recalled. “It required lots of mold making and very precise chemistry to create pieces of art to be used in the display. I never expected to be doing anything like this, but my professors at Keene were very adamant about staying open to new things and to keep challenging yourself. It wasn’t about what the degree did for you; it was about what you did with the degree.”

“When I left Keene, I took the opportunity to try everything. Though my degree is in Technical/Design, I took classes in dance and acting and even did some performing. I was constantly striving to be well-rounded. My professors always stressed the importance of collaboration. The conversation between directors, performers, designers, and technicians is vital, and I wanted to understand things from all these perspectives. That let me acquire new skills, and I was able to keep creating, which is what I most enjoy. My hope is that I will never be complacent and I’ll continue to grow and challenge myself as an artist.”

Three English Majors Living and Honing their Craft

Three recent English grads—Adam Hogue ’11, Hillary Bailey ’13, and Dylan Freni ’13—are out in the big world, using the skills they learned at KSC and living interesting lives.

Adam Hogue ’11
Adam Hogue ’11

Adam Hogue ’11
Adam Hogue is currently living and working in Providence, RI, and is a contributing writer for PolicyMic. Prior to coming back Stateside, he spent two years teaching English in Gwangju, Korea, where he got to do a lot of traveling around the East. PolicyMic recently named him “Pundit Of the Week.”  If you know Adam, or would like to know him, you’ll really enjoy the article.

Hillary Bailey ’13

Hillary Bailey ’13
Hillary Bailey ’13

Hillary Bailey is working with AmeriCorps and currently working with flood victims in Colorado. When she tells people that she took a professional writing course, “I automatically become their proofreader and/or document developer,” she said. “My professional writing skills have allowed me to work as a media rep for my team.”

Hillary kept a blog, “The Walking Girl: A Journey Through the History of Keene, NH,”  as part of her internship  with the Historical Society of Cheshire County last spring.

Dylan Fremi ’13
Dylan Freni ’13

Dylan Freni ’13
The Clare Literary Journal recently published poet and copywriter Dylan Freni’s poem, “The Sleeping List.”  Dylan will be attending the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire next year and, besides his day job writing copy for a website based in Exeter, is the poetry editor for The Squalor Review. He also writes about poetry on his blog, Diagnostic.

“The Writing program at Keene helped me to find what my strengths and weaknesses are as a writer, and also helped me to realize my potential.” Dylan explained. “Now, having a career in marketing as a writer, I am experiencing success both in my professional and creative worlds thanks to the vital skills I learned from my mentors and peers at Keene State.”

Christina Bourbeau ’10, MS, ATC

Christina Bourbeau ’10 Awarded AT Fellowship in Colorado

Christina Bourbeau ’10, MS, ATC
Christina Bourbeau ’10, MS, ATC (photo courtesy of Christina Bourbeau)

Talk about upward trajectory! After Christina Bourbeau ’10 earned a degree in Athletic Training from KSC, she headed to the University of Hawaii to pursue a master’s degree in the discipline. Then she worked for a year in southern California as an athletic trainer and was selected for a prestigious and competitive Sports Medicine Athletic Training Fellowship at the Steadman Clinic in Colorado, where she’ll be working with Olympic athletes.

“I am very fortunate to be an athletic training fellow at the Steadman Clinic!” Bourbeau exclaimed. “This is a huge opportunity, as it is a very competitive fellowship program for certified athletic trainers. Each year, the Steadman Clinic offers five to seven positions for certified athletic trainers to work in the orthopedic hospital and train to become physician extender athletic trainers. This is a year-long fellowship, and we go through rotations with each surgeon in the Steadman Clinic, giving us the opportunity to work with some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the nation. While we are here, we become certified orthopedic technologists (after we pass our national exam) and we obtain ‘scrub’ privileges so we can assist in the operating room. Additionally, we have a lot of outreach opportunities to work as traditional athletic trainers at local high schools; we also provide sports medicine coverage at events that come to Vail, including the GoPro GamesDew Tour, and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and we travel with the US Ski and Snowboard teams whether it’s to Europe, Canada, or locally at Copper Mountain. Professionally, this is one of the best opportunities I could have ever accepted at this point in my life.”

Christina, enjoying the active lifestyle of Vail, CO--fulfilling another of her life's goals!
Christina, enjoying the active lifestyle of Vail, CO–fulfilling another of her life’s goals! (photo courtesy of Christina Bourbeau)

“While I am here, I hope to learn as much as I can from all of the sports medicine professionals I work with. I hope to publish some research and to give back to the athletic training profession by sharing my research at national meetings. Also, I want to enjoy the active lifestyle of Vail, Colo., and explore as much as I can.”

And where does her training at Keene State fit into all of this? “KSC played a huge role in preparing me for a position like this one,” she said. “My foundation of athletic training skills and knowledge all began there. The clinical opportunities offered during my time as an undergrad introduced me to the various routes I could take after becoming a certified athletic trainer. My education at KSC allowed me to obtain a graduate assistant position at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which in turn provided me with the education I needed to be a competitive applicant for the Steadman Clinic fellowship position.”

Dan Hunt at Radio City

Dan Hunt ’00: from KSC to Neko Case

Dan Hunt at Radio City
Dan Hunt at Radio City

You can get a great education at Keene State—in the classroom and in places outside the classroom. Like in basements. At least, that was Dan Hunt ’00’s experience. He came to KSC in ’96, planning to study music performance. But then he took a computer mapping class and decided to switch to a degree in Geography, figuring that map making might be a more lucrative career than music.

But his love for music never wavered, and he fell in with a band called Brown Factory, playing drums and “spending several weekend nights sweating in the basement of 80 Roxbury (among other places),” he recalled. “Those guys were incredible and really helped form the player I am today. We would play marathon shows that would end up being heralded as the greatest party ever thrown or the biggest disaster you ever saw. Either way, I learned so much about groove, dynamics, and stamina on the drums. Things I wouldn’t have necessarily learned with a Music degree.”

When he graduated in 2000 with a BA in geography, he headed to Portland, Maine, and found work as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist for an environmental engineering firm there. And he continued to play drums nearly every night.

He moved around the country some, working for engineering firms and city planners making maps,  eventually settling in Portland, Oregon. “I loved the work and it kept me from starving,” Dan explained. “But I always saw music as my number one career. I played nearly every chance I got and never turned down a gig, no matter what it was.” Everywhere he lived, he played and toured with various bands, including Arthur and Yu, Broken Social Scene, Iron and Wine, and Album Leaf. He found out through his local drum shop that Neko Case needed a drummer. “I threw my name in a hat, auditioned, and got the gig!”

“Since then, I’ve been playing full time with Neko, so no more maps. My first show was in Barcelona in front of 5,000 people, and its been a whirlwind ever since. We’re currently touring on her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. I’ll be out over the next year and a half touring all of the States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.”

Does he ever look back? You bet: “Chris Cusack, Jo Beth Mullens, and Elaine Hartwick were among my most inspirational professors at KSC,” Dan remembered. “In the Music Department, I still have fond memories of Don Baldini and Ted Mann. I miss all those folks!”

Here’s Dan and the Neko Case gang playing a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR at Halloween (in costume, of course):

And here’s Dan, soloing at the Portland Drum Fair: