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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Recipents

2021 Winners

Congratulations to Georgie Gentile, Alyssa Wilcox, and Kaitlyn Wilson, the winners of the 2021 Honors/SURF fellowships!

Georgie Gentile ‘22 (Film) will make a short experimental film which will explore questions of identity, reality, and the possibility of self-expression in the world full of uncertainty and chaos, disrupted by events outside of our control. Georgie will work with Professor Taylor Dunne.

Alyssa Wilcox ‘22 (Exercise Science) will examine the impact of regular exercise participation on COVID-19 induced anxiety. Her six-week study will track adults between the ages of 30 and 65 and analyze the collected data to test the efficacy of exercise as an anxiety mitigating strategy. Alyssa will work with Professor Melanie Adams.

Kaitlyn Wilson ‘22 (English, Secondary Education) will rely on research methodologies from the fields of English and Secondary Education to study several examples of Young Adult Literature and to ask if examples of the genre merit inclusion in the middle school English academic curriculum. Kaitlyn will work with Professor Christopher Parsons.

Congratulations to Sarah Bollinger, the winner of the Landau Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship!

Sarah Bollinger ‘22 (Geography) will study Pictish and Pictish-inspired artworks in medieval Scotland to understand how and to what extent this indigenous pagan tradition influenced Christian art produced on the territories of Britain and Ireland in the early Middle Ages. Sarah will work with Professor Stephen Lucey.

2020 Winners

Congratulations to Arianna Jones, Kathryn Spadafora, and Chris Stimson, the winners of the 2020 Honors/SURF fellowships!

Arianna Jones’21 (English, Psychology) will study New England folklore and adapt and modernize six tales from six New England states. Arianna will travel to area archives, folklife centers, and folklore societies to learn more about specific localities from which her source texts originate. Each adaptation will be accompanied by an exposition of essential historical background. Arianna plans to make her anthology available to readers on KSCommons. She will be working with Professor Kate Tirabassi.

Kathryn Spadafora’22 (English) will explore representations of unconventional women in the literature and other historical documents (sermons, pamphlets) of the English Renaissance.

Kathryn will focus on four types of “disorderly” women – the shrew, the witch, the adulteress, and the cross-dresser – to explore how representations of unconventional women impacted the dramatic genres of the period.

Kathryn will write an essay on each type of female “disorderliness” and will maintain a blog of her readings and reflections on her research. Kathryn will work with Professor Brinda Charry.

Chris Stimson
Chris Stimson

Chris Stimson’22 (Music) will compose two original pieces in the sonata-allegro form. The project will include score study and analysis of compositional technique in classical, romantic, and contemporary examples of the form.

This preparation will help Chris gain a greater understanding both of the strict rules followed by classical composers and of the ways those rules were transformed or broken by composers of the later periods.

Chris plans to perform his original works at local and national conferences, and to enter his pieces into competitions of young composers. Chris will be working with Professor Heather Gilligan.

2019 Winners

Aiden Jasmin ‘21
Aiden Jasmin ‘21

Congratulations to Aiden Jasmin, Ashley Rollend, and Thomas Townsend, the winners of the 2019 Honors/SURF fellowships!

Aiden Jasmin ‘21 (Political Science) will spend the summer months investigating how KSC’s first-year retention rates are impacted by student introduction to education in Drug and Alcohol Safety, Physical and Mental Health Education, Social Identity and Gender Identity Education, and Academic Practices and Expectations Education.

Aiden is planning to survey first-year students regarding their experiences in these four educational areas during the Orientation and the academic year and to compare his findings to national trends.

On the basis of his research, Aiden plans to propose measures that would help the College to improve its first-year retention rates. Aiden will be working with Professor Wes Martin.

Ashley Rollend ‘20 (English-Writing/Elementary Ed) will work on a children’s book that will teach readers the importance of sharing and selflessness.

The project will involve the writing of an original story and creating the accompanying images, as well as exploring the theory and history of children’s literature.

As part of the book preparation, Ashley will also conduct a series of interviews – with scholars and teachers of children’s literature, an elementary school teacher, and an author. Ashley will be working with Professor Jeff Friedman.

Ashley Rollend
Ashley Rollend

Thomas Townsend ‘21 (Political Science) will travel to Poland to explore how the Polish state and civil society will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of communism in that country.

With the rise of authoritarian nationalism in recent years, Poland has moved away from the political ideals that propelled the revolution in 1989.

Thomas will investigate how the 1989 events will be reflected in this year’s public commemorations (marches, parades, speeches, and memorials) on the right and the left of the political spectrum.

Thomas will working with Professor Wes Martin.

2018 Winners

Congratulations to Ashley Rollend and Haley Kean, the winners of the 2018 Honors/SURF fellowships!

Ashley Rollend
Ashley Rollend

Ashley Rollend ‘20 (English-Writing/Elementary Ed) will create a chapbook (a short collection of poems and fiction pieces), a medium that allows for combination and hybridization of multiple literary forms.

Among the forms Ashley is particularly interested in are fable, micro story, and prose poem. Drawing on the fantastic mode and the devices of surrealism, Ashley’s pieces will examine platonic, romantic, and familial relationship among women.

In preparation for creating the chapbook, Ashley will study the work of the poets like Jeff Friedman, Nin Andrews, Russel Edson and others, who draw on surrealist and fabulist style and who have served as an inspiration for Ashley’s project.

The theoretical component of the project includes an exploration of how poetic practice can help us better understand ourselves and the way we live our lives and build personal relationships.

Once the chapbook is competed, Ashley will be seeking publication of her pieces in literary journals. Ashley will be working with Professor Jeff Friedman.

Haley Kean
Haley Kean

Haley Kean ‘19 (Studio Art) will create a series of murals that will explore the problem of millennial women’s representation and self-representation in the age of selfie, Photoshop, and other modern technologies of information sharing. Using the technique of woodcut, Haley will create large-scale panels that will comment on the pernicious influence of social media on women’s self-image and sense of self-worth.

Haley’s murals will invite the viewer to examine the unhealthy culture of compulsive and objectifying modes of self-documentation on various social media platforms. Such self-documentation promotes unrealistic standards of beauty and a backslide into a 1950s-style conception of gender roles.

In terms of form, Haley’s project will encourage the viewer to contrast the old technology of printmaking, which requires skill, patience, and care, with the current ways of instant information sharing and social media technologies.

Once completed, Haley’s murals will be displayed in downtown Keene, on Keene State College campus, and in Newtown, CT, Haley’s hometown. Haley will be working with Professor Rosemarie Bernardi.

Contact the Honors Program

Dr. Philip W. Barker
Associate Professor, Political Science

Admissions Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435