When it comes to picking a major at Keene State College, there are so many options to choose from.

Many times, this can be a very stressful process for students looking to pursue upper-level education because after all, this is the subject you will be spending the rest of your life working on and being held responsible for.

KSC junior Erin Conti has made this very tough choice of picking what to focus on for the rest of her life.

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

Currently in the architecture program at Keene State, Conti has continued her pursuit in the area of life she enjoys most: art, but the art of building design.

Conti, who grew up in Londonderry, New Hampshire, came to Keene State college not quite sure what she wanted to do.

Conti said she has always shown an interest in architecture and planned on getting involved in the program at Keene State, but also acknowledged that if she made a change of heart, KSC provided her with enough alternatives to feel comfortable about attending the college.

Ultimately, Conti stuck with her original idea of pursuing a degree in architecture and hasn’t looked back.

“I have always been more of an art student, but more into sculpture and ceramics. I have also always been good at art and math, so I wanted to try architecture and after my first class, I fell in love with it,” Conti said.

Conti also mentioned that KSC is the only school in New Hampshire that offers a four year architecture program; this drew her interest immediately with [the college] being close to home and fitting best for her future financially.

Expanding on what has kept her at Keene State and her experience with the program, Conti said, “It has been really great. I have had a lot of opportunities through the program, a lot of them coming through things like the Society of Architecture Students. We are a chapter of the national organization, the American Institute of Architecture Students, which I became involved in my first year thanks to my orientation leader being the president of that group and encouraging me to join.”

Furthermore, Conti said she has been one of a select few of students who has really expanded her horizons on a national level.

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

“I was one of four people who got to go to a national conference called Forum. It is held every year in a different city over New Years, so going to that, I got to meet other students from all across the country, as well as the national board leaders. My involvement through that has allowed me to do so many different things and go [to] so many different places,” Conti said.

With Conti being involved in a major that some may consider to be more of a non-traditional student focus, she also mentioned just how supportive her parents have been through the process.

Conti said, “They have been really supportive. They are supportive of anything I do, but this too.”

When asked where Conti sees herself in five years, her response was very straightforward and goal-oriented.

Conti said, “Right after I am finished here at Keene State, I plan to go to grad school. I’m not exactly sure where yet, but I know I want to get out of New England and be somewhere in a big city. Then, I want to be working full-time, earn my license and become a licensed architect.”

Professor Bart Sapeta, who works as a full-time architecture faculty and an advisor to the Society of Architecture Students (SAS) at Keene State, said he has also seen lots of improvement in Conti during her time at Keene State College.

When asked about the progress Conti has made during her time at Keene State College, Sapeta said, “Erin began volunteering for the society very early on during her [first] year. She wanted to participate in the events sponsored by this student organization, meet other architecture majors and be exposed to the design world outside of the campus. She quickly progressed in the ranks of the SAS and was elected to represent architecture students at the national level through the American Institute of Architecture Students.”

Junior architecture major Connor Bell has formed a close relationship with Conti over their short time at school together.

When asked how Bell became such close friends with Conti, Bell said, “Erin and I met on the first day of orientation our [first] year. She was the second friend I made at Keene and has been one of my best friends ever since.”

Bell also talked about how hard of a worker Conti is and how she does such a great job representing Keene State College.

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

Erin Conti/ Contributing photo

When asked about Conti’s work ethic, Bell said, “She has become so involved in the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), making sure to represent KSC’s program with dignity and pride.”

“I would never be where I am today as an architecture student if it wasn’t for her,” Bell said. He said he admires her dedication as a student.

“She is knowledgable and she’s so willing to help make a difference in any way that she can … If anybody is going places, it’s going to be her,” he said.

He continued to say, “I couldn’t be more proud of how she has excelled and continues to rise each day, always trying to better her skills because of the person she has developed into over the past few years.”

If you’re looking for a student that models what Keene State has set out to do, she would definitely be a good example.”

Kyle Kemp can be contacted at kkemp@kscequinox.com

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