Skip Navigation

Keene State College Honors Outstanding Women of New Hampshire

2020 Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards
2020 Honorees: Dr. Reed, Ms. Little, Keene State President Treadwell, and Ms. Bergstrom

Keene State College honored four women during the 30th annual Keene State College President’s Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards ceremony. Keene State is committed to the values of civic engagement and service to the community; diversity, civility and respect; and enhancing the quality of life in the Monadnock Region, the state of New Hampshire, and the world. In accordance with these values, the College recognizes women who make our College, region, and state better for everyone.

In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month. Keene State College joins in this nationwide, annual celebration by hosting these awards. The national theme this year is “Valiant Women of the Vote.”

These are the four women who exemplified this theme, and were selected by Keene State for this recognition:

Liz Tentarelli – Statewide Honoree

The work of Ms. Liz Tentarelli in her capacity as the President of the League of New Hampshire Women Voters, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is the direct descendant of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, helps us remember, celebrate, and carry on the work of the suffragists. Ms. Tentarelli is an important force in the “New Hampshire Women Vote 100” initiative, creating programming that inspires and informs the public about voting rights, most importantly about the 19th Amendment, and the role New Hampshire suffragists played in its passage. The League of New Hampshire Women Voters is actively involved in voter service and citizen education programs with the goal of building citizen participation in the democratic process. The League disseminates clear and simple voter information, including translations in several languages, to assist voters. Most recently, their work has centered on helping voters understand the new residency/domicile requirements that passed with the HB1264 law last year. The League also offers communities guidance in how to host non-partisan candidate forums as well as access to trained moderators. Recently, Ms. Tentarelli has been actively working to put an end to gerrymandering in New Hampshire and to encourage redistricting on a fair basis, as part of a nation-wide “People Powered, Fair Maps” initiative. She is also a partner in two ongoing projects on female incarceration and access to education in the state. Ms. Tentarelli’s vision, energy, and commitment to collaborative, non-partisan work indeed make her an outstanding woman of this state.

Patty Little – Monadnock Region Honoree

Ms. Patty Little has been City Clerk and Chief Elections Officer to the City of Keene for forty years – an entire career devoted to ensuring free and fair elections open to all. She has helped run over 90 elections at the local, state, and federal levels, and conducts voter drives at nursing home facilities, low-incoming housing complexes, and educational institutions, trying her utmost to ensure that all eligible voters can participate in the great democratic process. Ms. Little tracks election law changes annually and is active at the state level to ensure that voting laws are fair and that no voter is ever disenfranchised. She often attends legislative sessions to testify and provide her first-hand knowledge relative to legislation that would seek to change voting laws. She also participates in outreach and education on voting rights, speaking to students and individuals that have been incarcerated or involved in some way with the penal system to emphasize the importance of participation in elections and to explain their voting rights. In all contests, including elections, there is a tendency to focus on the big public moments, the moments of triumph and of loss, but it is often the steady, efficient, and committed behind-the-scenes work of officials such as Ms. Little that make a democracy possible.

Dr. Judy Reed – Keene State Faculty/Staff Honoree

Dr. Judy Reed has worked tirelessly to secure full rights for refugees to the United States through her work with two organizations: the Keene Immigration and Refugee Project (KIRP) and Project Home (an organization whose goal is to bring individuals from foreign lands to Keene). In recent years, KIRP was successful in having the City of Keene adopt a resolution in support of refugees. The end goal is that these people find a path toward full citizenry, including the right to vote. Dr. Reed is also a member of the Core Leadership of Project Home and has been working to secure safe havens for women and their children struggling through the asylum-seeking process. She has led the way to structure a non-profit that can raise funds to further the goals of the group - to provide shelter and protect the rights of refugees to the US. She has led in researching this group becoming a legal entity and doing the groundwork to make it happen. Dr. Reed has carefully studied the roadblocks asylum seekers meet in securing full citizen rights and assessed ways to address those barriers. She is helping real families stabilize their lives legally, financially, and socially in the Keene region. It is because of her courageous leadership that Dr. Judy Reed was named an Outstanding Woman of New Hampshire.

Victoria Bergstrom – Keene State Student Honoree

Victoria Bergstrom has worked diligently to encourage voter turnout in her time as an activist. As a young woman and a member of a military family, it has been her experience that military votes can be disregarded, as with the women’s vote. Thus, Ms. Bergstrom volunteered to encourage women in rural areas, specifically Grafton County, to vote during the 2016 presidential election. She also volunteered in Naval Station Newport, encouraging military families to vote through canvassing and writing articles for local papers. She undertook similar projects during the 2018 midterm election in Cheshire County. She has worked with ethnic and linguistic minority voters in southern Louisiana, specifically in Terrebonne County, with speakers of Cajun, Creole, and Vietnamese. Later in 2019, Ms. Bergstrom was in the Netherlands for the European Union parliamentary elections, working in Northern Holland to increase voter turnout, as well as in Dakar, Senegal, working with women and the LGBTQ+ communities trying to promote political dialogue despite censorship which marginalizes the voices of these groups.

Related Stories

Contact Keene State College

229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435