Keene State: It’ll Rock Your World – and Help You Change the World
Want to do your bit to change the world? You can get your start right here at Keene State College. Come for a visit and find out how.
For Katelyn Fournier, changing the world starts with the planet. When she graduates in May, Katelyn heads south to Mexico, where she will work for 27 months as a climate change educator and youth empowerment volunteer with the Peace Corps.
A biology major with two minors, one in environmental studies and one in sustainability, Katelyn says that Keene State has really rocked her world. When she started college, she remembers, she was too shy to raise her hand in class. Now, she’s vice president of the senior class, the Biology Department’s student ambassador, a peer tutor, an active participant in the college’s Alternative Break trips, and a passionate and hands-on defender of the environment.
What brought her out of her shell? First of all, people: professors who saw things in her that she didn’t see in herself, the student government advisor, a work-study supervisor with a vibrant personality that rubbed off on her. Second, experiences: internships at the Museum of Science in Boston, the Harris Center for Conservation Education in nearby Hancock, New Hampshire, the Rhode Island nonprofit Save the Bay, and the Sunrise Movement, which works to stop climate change.
At the Hancock-based Harris Center, she was one of four summer conservation interns who monitored vernal pools, assessed culverts for wildlife accessibility, inventoried tree species and checked in on campers at Spoonwood Pond. “It was absolutely amazing,” she said of the internship, which solidified her career goal of working in environmental conservation.
Those internship experiences, added to comprehensive coursework and some great recommendations from her professors, led to her admission into the Peace Corps’s elite environmental sector, which accepts only 2 percent of applicants.
“It was a huge thrill,” she says of being accepted to the program. When she leaves for Mexico on June 1, she’ll be sent to a community to work in schools educating students on climate change and why it’s critical to protect the planet. She’ll also work with local businesses on green technologies and ways to incorporate sustainability into their practices. And she’ll do outreach throughout the town to talk about what has already happened locally in terms of climate change, and how they can lessen its impact.
In other words, she’ll be doing her part to change the world.