Restlessness, determination, collaboration, success; all words to describe the messages that came from six alumni Tuesday, April 17, in the Madison Street Lounge of the L.P. Young Student Center. Elisabeth Roos, assistant dean for the School of Arts and Humanities and a professor of theater and dance at Keene State College, expressed appreciation towards the attendance of the six KSC graduates. The alumni represented degrees in film studies, graphic design, and journalism, and ranged in graduation dates from 1993-2009.
Roos said she is passionate about incorporating alumni with current KSC students. “It is really important to bring alumni back so students who are here now can see a myriad of options are open to them after being here.”
Mary Pleasonton, coordinator of Employer Relations and a KSC career advisor, prompted panelists and asked, “If you could do it again, what would you have done differently?” Alumna Nicole Lewoc, ’06, studied communication and sociology and laughed as she told students her career path took her far from her studies. Today, Lewoc, a social worker, spends her days with disabled youth. “This is not at all where I thought I’d find myself,” Lewoc shared. Similarly, Jenny Plante, ’09, graduated with a degree in film studies and opened her segment with a chuckle and stated, “I really have no consistent source of income.” Though penniless, Plante encouraged students to pursue their passion, despite financial set-backs. Pleasanton said perspectives from alumni provide information to both the students who have an idea of what they want to do and those who remain unsure. “A lot of students will know what they want to do after graduation—just the variety of alumni that we bring back gives them a wide perspective on how they can use that major, which will maybe vary their expected ways,” Pleasanton stated.
For Jake Russell, a junior studying film production, the panel served as an outlet for new direction as Russell toyed with ideas of transferring to concentrate solely on his pursuit of film production. Russell commented on the event and said, “It’s good to know who is in the field. Any contacts you can make now are good.” Roos similarly noted how crucial it is for the college to establish a relationship with its alumni for future possibilities for current students. “There are all sorts of possibilities for collaboration with alumni who are out in the community,” she said. One such contact available to Russell at Tuesday’s panel was Matthew Newton, ’97, who works as the director of the New Hampshire Film and Television Commission. Newton told students in pursuit of film to not set their sights on Los Angeles. Newton encouraged students to utilize the East Coast when he called it “Hollywood East.” Newton went on and explained he often corresponds with Asian industries on film, and though he now has a sufficient understanding of Japanese, he said he wished he had eliminated the language barrier before entering his career.
Lewoc said KSC’s integrative studies program benefited her overall and described herself as a “more worldly person” because of the program.
Bob Audette, a 1993 graduate in journalism, concluded the event and said, “Everything you’ve learned counts. You have to be able to devour knowledge.”
Film production major Michael Farmer showed appreciation for the insight of professionals in his future career path. “This was a helpful push for senior year,” he said. “Hearing different walks and how they’re going after those careers really opened my eyes.”
Julie Conlon can be contacted at