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Students Benefit from Connections with the City of Keene

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Brewbakers Coffee Shop, Keene, NH
Brewbaker's coffee shop in downtown Keene

At Keene State, the community extends well beyond the campus perimeter. Not only do many alumni and relatives of alumni fill the ranks of the local business community, but our students do as well. From internships to part-time jobs, Keene State students are welcomed with open-arms to a wide range of off-campus opportunities, many of which come by way of Keene State connections.

Joe Tolman ‘93, owns Bulldog Design, a design house located just north of campus on Winchester Street. Tolman grew up in Keene and decided to open his business and raise his family here. “I love Keene,” he said “The sense of community here is like nothing I’ve ever experienced anywhere else.”

His connection to the College extends in many directions. Not only is Keene State a family school, but Tolman also designed the first Owl Athletics logo 20-years ago. After the athletic director at the time asked him to provide branded t-shirts and merchandise to sell at games, his business expanded into screen-printing, now the most lucrative part of the company.

“I’m proud of the things that I’ve designed for the school,” said Tolman. “I learned design at the school through my graphic design major, so now it’s come full circle. I have a lot of pride in it and enjoy doing it.”

Tolman also hires student graphic design interns and part-time student workers in the storefront. “I think it’s awesome to be able to give back to the College in that way.”

Vicky Papadopoulos ‘18 found acceptance when searching for an off-campus position. She and her three roommates have worked off-campus since their sophomore year. “I was hesitant about getting a job because I wasn’t sure if I could balance it with school, but you can,” she shared. “Keene has an awesome community, and the stores and restaurants are very welcoming and flexible. They’ll take you in.”

Papadopoulos sees a lot of synergy between the College and the community. The local establishments are enthusiastic about hiring Keene State students because they’ll bring their classmates and friends, which translates to additional word-of-mouth for their businesses.

“I feel like I’m giving more to the community than just being a college student,” added Papadopoulos. “I love getting to meet people that aren’t from Keene State, but are from the town and surrounding areas. It’s very rewarding.”

Sherryl Zinn ’97, a human resources administrative assistant for City of Keene, is likewise honored to have her professional life meld with Keene State. “When things are important to me, I take great pride in them,” she said. “Keene State is a big part of who I am today. I’m pleased that my career has brought me to a point where I can work with the College.”

Zinn works directly with Keene State’s Career and Academic Advising office to place students in internships throughout the City of Keene system, from Parks & Recreation to the Keene Public Library. “I think it helps the students figure out their long-term goals when they work closely with their college town,” Zinn said. “Getting practical experience and having a relationship with the community is important.”

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