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Student Grant Winners Focus on Creative Projects Over the Summer

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Each summer, Keene State undergraduate students are awarded SURF grants – Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships – to work on a project in their area of study. From animated films to music writing to English Renaissance texts, there is no shortage of creative endeavors for the five students awarded grants this summer. Read about their compelling projects below.

Jessica Moir ’21
Jessica Moir ’21

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, the college’s digital repository of student and faculty research. She will be working with Professor Kate Tirabassi.

Jessica Moir ’21 (Film Production) will work with Associate Professor Jo Dery to complete a short-animated film. “It’s about a pumpkin man trying to figure out what his next steps in life will be after a horrific accident. As he continues to find answers, weird things start to emerge from the depths of his mind,” she said. “I think the most exciting things about my project is being able to work beside a teacher I look up to. I am looking forward to becoming more advanced in the animation world and this grant gives me the opportunity to do that. I base my work off of people’s reactions and strive to create intense emotions in my audiences.”

Katelyn Pacheco ’21
Katelyn Pacheco ’21

Katelyn Pacheco ’21 (Psychology) will research the effects of perceived parental attachment and socialized gender norms on narcissistic tendencies in young adults with the guidance of Professor Karen Jennings. “I have always had a fascination with abnormal psychology. The way that people think, behave, and their perception of the world is largely what drew me to psychology,” she said. “The study is taking place entirely online due to the pandemic. I am most excited to share and publish my results. Through this work, I have been able to apply valuable skills I learned throughout college and continue my learning through hands-on experience.”

Christopher Stimson ’22 (Music Composition) will compose two original pieces in the sonata-allegro form, a musical formal structure used in the Classical period that has evolved through time. “I am the type of person who will learn something in class and then go on YouTube to find videos that explain it more in depth. I wanted to learn more about this form style than time permitted in my Music Theory and Composition classes, so this project was the perfect opportunity to make that happen,” he said. While Christopher admits that staying motivated while working from home is challenging, he’s excited to be able to continue his studies over the summer months. Christopher will be working with Professor Heather Gilligan and plans to submit his works to competitions for young composers.

Christopher Stimson ’22
Christopher Stimson ’22

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.

Keene State students who are interested in pursuing a SURF grant in summer 2021 can learn more about the opportunity and application process here.

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