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Success – En Español

Kirsten Agla on an international study trip.
Kirsten Agla on an international study trip.

Kirsten Agla, a Keene State junior from Bedford, New Hampshire, has used her college experience to fully immerse herself in the study of the Spanish language and culture – with the help of a scholarship overseen by the Keene Endowment Association. With a double major in Spanish and sustainable product design and innovation, as well as membership in the College’s Honors Program, she has also embraced the liberal arts experience by developing a skill set with a wide variety.

Among these skills is leadership, as Agla sits on the Student Honors Council, which is the student voice of the Honors Program. She has learned to articulate the wants and needs of the students, as well as analyze the program to see where improvements can be made.

Another skill that Agla has worked to develop throughout the last few years is that of communication, specifically through her semester studying abroad in Ecuador in the spring of 2015. She had the opportunity to focus on her Spanish studies there, refining her ability to interact with local people. “I loved the experience,” she says. “My Spanish is ten times better because of it.”

As a result of her study-away experience, Agla has joined the Global Culture Club, which allows international students to come together and interact with other students. “This is important to me,” she says. “Since I studied abroad, I feel like I can really relate to these students, and offer them advice.”

Agla’s interest in the Spanish language is further demonstrated in Agla’s show, “Radio Relámpago,” on Keene State’s own radio station, WKNH. “This show is conducted completely in Spanish, which allows her to practice speaking the language and gives other students the opportunity to experience spoken Spanish along with popular Spanish music.

Agla’s love for the Spanish language as well as Hispanic culture carries over into other cultures as well. She traveled to India with the Honors Program’s global engagement initiative in January 2015. “Our group looked different than the people all around us – it was really eye-opening for us, and was a really valuable experience,” says Agla.

The interest she has in graphic design led her to a work-study job in the Academic Affairs Department and the Multicultural Office, where she designs event posters and performs various office tasks. “I considered majoring in graphic design, so it’s more than just an interest,” she says. “It’s something I can put on my résumé.”

Agla is one of this year’s recipients of the Frank H. Blackington Jr. Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship, one of many managed by the Keene Endowment Association, was established in 1987 by the family and friends of Frank H. Blackington Jr., a member of the Keene State faculty who specialized in foreign languages. Kirsten said the scholarship has made all the difference for her in the type of work-study job she was able to choose. “Because I can focus on the content and the experience of the job, instead of the money, it allows me to focus on my studies.”

– Michelle Green ’16