Two Keene State College students will soon have their creative work displayed to both the college and the community.
Sophomore Ashley Rollend and junior Haley Kean have been awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), which gives a number of students a grant that goes towards research in a student’s specific field.
History Professor Nicholas Germana is the one who decides who receives the awards and said the purpose is “to give students the chance to work intensively on a project and not have to work a job over the summer.”
English writing major Rollend is in the works of creating a work of prose poetry that is focused on the idea of female relationships, from familial, to romantic to platonic. Rollend said that the project will show how we can use abstract writing to understand more in-depth feelings we have.
“I was looking back on some of my old poetry and I noticed this theme of how I explore friendships and relationships through poetry, and I thought it would be really awesome to use this project as a way to build off of that,” Rollend said.
Rollend said the type of poetry she is writing is differently structured than other types of poetry because instead of being line specific, prose poetry is in paragraph form. “It’s reads almost like an internal monologue or a diary entry in a sense because it is so personal and nothing is broken up,” Rollend said.
Rollend said what drew her to prose poetry over other types of poetry was that she has the ability to have one train of thought and not break up her writing.
English Professor Jeff Friedman said he is proud of the fact Rollend has received the honor and described the content in her work as “things go on that wouldn’t happen in daily world.”
Friedman said the chapbook, which is a collection of poetry that centers around a particular theme, allows Rollend to speak in ways that she didn’t know she wanted to. Friedman said it is a good thing to see the English department get rewarded in this way as he believes the department has a lot of great writers who write in different and creative ways.
The other recipient of the award, Kean, said she will be creating a series of murals for her project by carving into a wood block and printing it. “This process is so old, which is a large contrast compared to my very new subject of technology, and more specifically, social media. I believe the contrast also shows how old gender roles are being enforced in modern society however more advanced we are,” Kean said.
Kean said she felt with access to such a wide audience, she needed to make her project on a social issue and chose feminism, which she said is an important topic to her.
“As a female artist in a profession predominantly occupied by men, I felt the objectification of women on social media was a meaningful subject,” Kean said.
Kean said she wants the project to expose the struggles millennial women face when on social media.
“Social media tends to encourage a very homogenized view of beauty, with the Snapchat filter that makes your eyes bigger with longer eyelashes, lips more tinted and bigger, among other stereotypically ‘feminine’ features,” Kean said. Kean said she feels “blessed” to be getting the chance to create murals that many people will see.
Germana said one objective he had when he began taking a look at undergraduate research was to try to expand on the types of work that were receiving the SURF award.
“Sometimes when people think of research they think of being in a lab… All parts of the school are involved in great research.” Germana said by expanding what type of research can get the award, it is increasing the number of opportunities students have.
Germana said the grant that goes toward student research is from both the Office of the Provost and external donations. Germana said it is important for the public to see what students are currently working on and the different types of research that come out of KSC.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org