KEENE STATE TODAY
THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE WINTER 2012
KST Cover
FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS

Paul Besaw '88, In his own words

Professor Besaw with students at the University of Vermont.

I am the fifth of six kids and none of my siblings went to college. This actually could have discouraged me from going, too, but I felt different from my siblings. Many of my friends were going to college, and I was in the honors program in high school as well as college prep, so this helped put me on that track.

Select a school that will challenge you academically, and take advantage of the many resources that are available…

My parents didn't blink at my taking the opportunity to attend college. They supported me in my choice of major as well. I feel very fortunate. The financial aid forms were probably the most difficult part for them.

I knew I wanted to get involved in theater and as it turned out, this happened much sooner than I thought possible. The Redfern had just been built, so timing was perfect.

I've been asked to share what I'd tell others who are the first in their families to go to college. To begin with, choose a school that makes some financial sense. Keene State offered this to me. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I do now as I see some of my friends continuing to pay off their student loans.

I'm really proud to have gone to Keene State. After I graduated, I felt prepared for what life might bring.

Select a school that will challenge you academically, and take advantage of the many resources that are available to college students. I wish I had tapped into more of the opportunities that were offered at KSC, as this could have helped me do better. By having help and resources in place, you won't have to deal with one crisis while you're in the middle of another.

In addition, get to know other students and faculty. Instead of staying in the safety of your room and circle of friends, stretch yourself. Think of three things, say, that make you feel uncomfortable or awkward and then do them. You'll know you're adjusting well if you can do this. A big part of transitioning into college is getting connected to the place.

I'm really proud to have gone to Keene State. After I graduated, I felt prepared for what life might bring.

I earned my MFA in dance at UNC–Greensboro. I came back to New Hampshire for a while and worked for Upward Bound at Keene State – a program that provides services to help high school students prepare for college. I did some guest teaching at this time as well. I spent one year at the University of Texas as a post-graduate student. I taught at Catawba College in North Carolina and also at Sacramento State University.

In 2006 I started the University of Vermont's dance department. It is a brand-new program that has expanded from just myself to include two-and-a-half faculty positions. Our program currently offers a minor in dance, but we are thinking about the steps that would need to be taken to have a major in dance. We're expanding performance opportunities for students as well. I also am on the board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

In 2010 I received a university-wide teaching award at the University of Vermont. It was the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching award for the rank of assistant professor.

   Keene State College, Wisdom to Make a Difference