Photo Illustration Puja Thapa / Administrative Executive editor

After graduating in just two and a half years, class of 2011 alumna Cristy Taylor has returned to Keene State as Kemal Atkins’ assistant. 

Taylor was a non-traditional student, but keeping up with her studies allowed her to graduate in the time that she did. However, Taylor wishes that she could have lived on campus. “In a lot of ways I kind of wished I had chosen to live on campus just for the experience but also, commuting allowed me to graduate in two and a half years with my degree,” Taylor said.

According to the newly appointed executive assistant to the Vice President of student affairs, this new position feels like coming home. “I think it was time for a change from where I was and this job opened up; I was keeping track of openings at colleges and universities in the area, and it was just the perfect time and perfect place. I also knew Keene, so it was nice to go somewhere where I know the environment,” said Taylor. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Kemal Atkins said Taylor has a very strong skill set. “As executive assistant, there are a lot of priorities that have to be juggled as they relate to my schedule, [such as] the operations of the office and the support she provides to other offices on campus. She is great at prioritizing, understanding directions easily, learning quickly and she just makes very good decisions and all that is important,” said Atkins. 

Taylor also talked about her past experience. “I think a lot of times in this environment a lot of it is kind of the same, position to position, so I think coming in with some budget background and organizational background kind of ties in all the pieces.”

Class of 2012 graduate and Director of Alumni Relations Bethany Morin said that Taylor being an alumna is very exciting. “I work for Keene State, [I previously] left and came back, so as a fellow alumna to the college, I’m always excited to hear of other graduates who come back to campus and especially where we are as a college. It’s really encouraging to hear of other alumni who want to come work for their alma mater,” said Morin. 

According to Taylor, coming back to the school can be very eye-opening. “I think it’s great for people to come back because when you go here you don’t necessarily know about what goes on behind the scenes, and you’re just kind of here doing your student thing, so it’s great to come back and see [what] it takes to make a school run,” said Taylor. 

Taylor also said that it was nice coming back to a community that was familiar to her. “Coming back to the community that I know, I did the same thing at my last job , it’s just nice to have contacts and people that you know and you continue to build on rather than kind of starting from scratch.”

Morin agreed with this, saying that she always encourages people to come back to Keene. “There’s something really special having the opportunity to work for your alma mater in the place that really helps you develop and make your own voice. Being able to come back and help support the college and help others around you, including students, gain their own voice, is a unique opportunity.” 

As Morin last remembers, Taylor is just one of over 150 alumni who are involved with Keene State and these alumni can be found throughout the many departments of the college. 

Cristian Valentin can be contacted at

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