Keene State College Honors New Hampshire's Outstanding Women
The four women who have been chosen to receive the 21st Annual Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards this year are closely associated with Keene State College.
KSC senior Kristin Mehalik, winner in the "Student, Keene State College" category, has set her sights on becoming an elementary school teacher and eventually a principal. A consistent Dean's List student and member of KSC's Kappa Delta Pi (national education honor society), Kristin is a teaching assistant this semester in two sections of Issues in Education, where she facilitates the use of classroom technology and motivates entry-level education majors. She joined Keene State's Habitat for Humanity chapter her first year here and has served as president for the last two years. She became a Big Sister in 2008, and she has become especially passionate about her work to establish a chapter of Girls, Inc., at Keene Middle School. This national program supports girls at a critical point in their lives. Kristin meets weekly with a group of girls at KMS to help them set goals, make positive choices, and learn to be leaders.
Norma Walker '51, winner in the "Monadnock Region" category, is an ambassador of good will and good news about Keene State College and its long history. Norma has maintained her own strong connection to the College while working steadily to cement heartfelt loyalties among other alumni. It's Norma who almost single-handedly built the Golden Circle Society - open to all alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago - and made it the vibrant and active group it is today. You can often find Norma in the Alumni Center, pitching in on alumni events and activities and doing what she does best - bringing people together. She established the Norma Walker Scholarship Endowment here at KSC to advance reading awareness.
Jean Whitcomb, winner in the "Staff, Keene State College" category, has put her imprint on Keene State College during more than 30 years of "service" - a word that is insufficient to describe the ingenuity, patience, intelligence, and humor she brought to the job. Retiring this year as divisional administrative support coordinator for the School of Arts and Humanities, Jean has worked for a whole generation of deans, faculty members, and college presidents; advised and consoled a generation of students; and trained a large cohort of College staff. If you ask anyone in Arts and Humanities how to solve a knotty administrative problem, he or she will answer, "I'll call Jean." Her clear thinking has cut through many a knot, and in the process she has made the questioner feel valued and special.
Jaime Contois, winner in the "State of New Hampshire" category, is the state director of Working Families Win, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating and empowering citizens about public policy on health and economic security. To accomplish this, Jaime develops educational programs, workshops, and connections with other advocacy groups to help improve access to quality and affordable health care, jobs with fair wages and benefits, and government budget priorities that focus on human needs. At Keene State, Jaime speaks to women's studies classes about her role as a community organizer and is participating this spring in a series of job and career workshops on campus.
Come on out to meet and support these truly outstanding women at the awards ceremony, themed "Our History Is Our Strength," on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 7 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room in the Student Center. The evening includes refreshments, great company, and music by Accidental Harmony. As always, it's free and open to the public.