Congratulations to the recipients of the English department’s annual awards

Eder Creative Writing Scholarship: KaTera Ashford
David Hatch Battenfeld Memorial Award: Autumn Lagace-Hazeltine
Jan Youga Award for Excellence in English-Secondary Education: Jessica Lapsley
English Department Award for Excellence in Writing: Lexi Palmer and Ashley Rollend
English Department Award for Excellence in Literature: Eva Quill and Robert Sturtevant

Eder Creative Writing Scholarship

KaTera Ashford is a major in both English and Secondary Education. An astute and enthusiastic reader, her own creative writing is bold and original, further strengthened by her interest in issues of race and regional identity. As she says in her Eder application: ‘Through my writing I found an … outlet for my experience as a non-native resident of New England. My writing is always inspired by my intersectionality. … The only place that I feel that I can be myself is on paper.’ Professor Jeff Friedman says, “Her best poems unfold the complex truths of her life in rhythmic phrases and startling images. She is a poet who unsettles the reader with fierce love and a fiery tongue.” A mother of two young children, KaTera also founded and ran the non-profit, Parents for Premies which provided books to mothers of prematurely born children. She now runs (with a friend) of a book subscription service for underprivileged children. KaTera’s talent and dynamism make her a truly worthy winner of the Eder Scholarship.

David Hatch Battenfeld Memorial Award

Autumn Lagace-Hazeltine is an English Literature major in her junior year, working towards English teacher licensure. She simply loves ideas and learning and brings to every class immense dedication, preparedness and a capacity for astute critical analysis. In her essay submission for the Battenfeld Award, Autumn, a former biology major, writes of how a scientific understanding of the world should be complemented by the approach of a humanist. In her words: “I have always considered the humanities, especially the study of English literature, to be a gateway to developing [the ] crucial skills of introspection, assuming and considering a different perspective and coexisting empathetically with the world.” Autumn comes from a family of teachers and looks forward to teaching literature that is “not only intellectually relevant, but including literature that is socially, emotionally, and ethically pertinent to their lives.”

Jan Youga Award for Excellence in English-Secondary Education

Jessica Grace Lapsley is an outstanding teacher candidate and a deserving winner of the Jan Youga Award for Excellence in Secondary English Education. She has an exceptionally bright mind. Professor Chris Parsons says: “I don’t use ‘bright’ here as a hackneyed synonym for just ‘smart’ (though her astronomical GPA attests to that); Jess has a mind that brightens—brings to more vivid life all with which it comes into contact.” Why is that so great for an English teacher? For one, if the novels, plays, and essays of an English class can seem like black and white letters on too-many pages, Jess brings them to life as she designs connections to students’ lives and to the world around them. Importantly, too, Jess’s view of her students as bright, idiosyncratic adolescents allows them to see themselves that way in her class. Congratulations to Jess Lapsley, winner of the Youga Award for Excellence in Secondary English Education!

English Department Award for Excellence in Writing

Lexi Palmer is quite simply an outstanding writer who can turn her hand to critical essays, professional writing, poems, and short stories – and produce outstanding work in every instance. Winner of the Fosher Writing award and a SURF Grant in 2019, Lexi has also won the KSC Fiction Slam and went to present at the New Hampshire State Fiction Slam, where she placed third. She has also won prizes in the KSC Poetry Contest and presented her work at the New England poetry festival and COPLAC. Lexi’s work creative work is vivid, tender, and sometimes startling – but always memorable.  She realizes that a creative writer is also a good reader and will also be remembered for her excellent work in literature classes. Lexi is one of the best writers Keene State has seen, and we are delighted to give her this award and wish her the very best in her future career. 

English Department Award for Excellence in Writing

Ashley Rollend is also one of Keene State’s most outstanding writers. Her teachers remember her writing to be whimsical, innovative, clever, and impactful.  Ashley has won the SURF grant two times for her very original writing projects and won the KSC Poetry Voice and KSC Poetry contests as well as the KSC Fiction slam. She is due to represent the College at the New Hampshire State Fiction slam this year. She has also presented her work at the New England Poetry Festival and COPLAC. An Honors student, Ashley is also very active in various campus student leadership roles. Dynamic, dedicated, and driven, we are certain Ashley will go a long way and wish her all the very best!

English Department Award for Excellence in Literature

Eva Quill is an outstanding student who brings to literary criticism her linguistic prowess as a poet. A rare example of a student who excels both at criticism and creative writing, Eva combines rigor and astuteness with sensitivity and a sense of playfulness. Her Shakespeare professor remembers her interest in Shakespeare in performance and the ways in which the written word is translated for stage and screen. It is this interest in language as a living, dynamic entity that can create magic and bring about change, that informs Eva’s study of literature. Eva also won the Eder Creative Writing Scholarship in 2019, and also won prizes in the Poetry Voice and KSC Poetry contests. She has presented her work at the New England Poetry Festival and was selected to read an original composition at the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards ceremony in 2019. About to be certified as an English teacher, Eva cares deeply about her students; she uses her own creative writing (and writing process) as a model for her students and seeks out seeks to build relationships with adolescents who seem to be having particular challenges with school.

English Department Award for Excellence in Literature

Robert Sturtevant is an English major about to be certified as a Secondary English teacher. He loves literature with a passion and understands, and is eager to promote, the power of the written word. He combines the rigor of critical analysis with a deep appreciation of the beauty of good writing. Robbie’s enthusiasm, excitement, and dedication truly make him the dream student. His teachers will remember him for the energy and thoughtfulness he brought to class discussions. Robbie is also something of a poet himself, and has taken classes in the craft of poetry. As a teacher he is skilled in helping students engage with literature in ways they enjoy. Robbie has been a terrific student of English and will doubtless be a great teacher as well!