Chester College of New England became another home to me when I began attending in 2005, and has remained an ever-welcoming resource and haven since I graduated in 2009. Its programs are personal, and many members of its administration and faculty take a genuine interest in the development of students as both creatives and individuals. This, more than anything else, is what makes Chester such a special place. Those students who are willing to push themselves and their work are often delighted to discover that they have their own pack of teacher fans eagerly gathered around to offer support and guidance to their journey.
My own memories of being a student at Chester College are divided evenly between developing as a creative artist and those of becoming a young professional. I share many of the experiences that alumni of Chester will happily recount—learning from brilliant and inspirational professors, freely exploring untypical methods of creation, and coming under the thrilling possession of fresh and meaningful ideas again, and again, and again. Even beyond that, though, Chester College provided me opportunities to take on new and greater responsibilities, to work closely with college Administrators while a peer tutor and Resident Assistant, and to practice many of the communication and leadership skills I would later find invaluable in my search for a rewarding career.
Following my graduation, I chose to enter national service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member for two years. During that time, I held positions as Special Programs Coordinator at a New Hampshire based small business incubator and as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader at Families in Transition, Southern New Hampshire’s largest homeless services provider. Both jobs proved to be very challenging, and often required me to leave my comfort zone in order to develop programs and bring resources to people in need. By teaching me how to communicate effectively, creatively problem solve, and comfortably adopt leadership responsibilities, Chester College really prepared me to set a high bar for myself, productively and ethically, at an early-point in my career. Having completed the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, I now work as the Outreach Coordinator at an animal shelter in Enfield, NH. I am blessed that I have the opportunity to constantly combine my creative skills in the design of marketing advertisements, videos, and social media that all support pets in need. Our Executive Director regularly gives me room to explore my own ideas and often lets me know how happy she is with the caliber and creativity of my work—just what Chester prepared me for!
Chester College and the amazing people who make it run will always be invaluable to me. I often return to the campus to re-immerse myself in the new waves of talent as Senior students exhibit their best work, and to pick professors’ brains with my own art-related questions as I prepare my own work for gallery shows throughout New England. I still create art, always will, and expect to continue experiencing overwhelming bursts of drunken happiness when a new idea for an art project suddenly erupts into being where before there was nothing.