Kelsey Utne ’12, Major: Political Science, History, Economics; Minor in Foreign Languages and Asian Studies; Commonwealth Honors Program

Kelsey Utne

"Though I only graduated in May 2012, I know that I would not be where I am right now without Salem State University. “Where are you, Kelsey?” you might ask. As I write this, I am in sitting in a flat in New Delhi, India, on a Fulbright research grant after having spent the previous summer in Jaipur, India, learning Hindi on scholarship. I didn’t believe these opportunities were within my reach until I was a student at Salem State and encouraged by faculty. This winter I am still in frequent contact with my professors as I am applying to graduate school, planning to complete an MA and PhD in twentieth century Indian history.

From the phenomenal honors program to alumni scholarships, the more time and energy you invest into your Salem State education the more you will get out of it. I benefitted immensely from the history honors society, Phi Alpha Theta, which sent my peers and me to student history conferences to present our research. Other great opportunities I had as a student interested in history and politics were Model United Nations, Historical Association, Political Science Association, and the Amnesty International chapter I founded. I look forward to when I finish graduate school and have a career where I can donate to alumni funded scholarships for students so that I can pass-it-forward.

Mentorship from faculty was one of the most important factors in my decision to attend Salem State. As a transfer student, I was immeasurably impressed by the accessibility of faculty members. Not only were my classes were taught by professors, not graduate student teaching assistants, but the professors learned everyone’s name, said “hello” in the hallways, and welcomed students into their offices. At Salem State you are not just a number or a faceless name on a mile-long class roster. Many of my friends who graduated from other universities lament that their professors don’t know who they are—a huge issue when trying to get letters of recommendation for internships, scholarships, and graduate school applications. My history and political science professors were always very active in encouraging students to pursue internships, graduate school programs, and any opportunity they came across that would further enrich our education."