Education Without Boundaries
Unlike a lot of high school seniors nowadays, Shay Kettner only applied to three colleges. Two were schools she quickly grew ambivalent about because when she found Goucher, she thought, "My goodness, this is MY school!"
Kettner says she was especially attracted to Goucher's study-abroad requirement because she had never been out of the country. "I looked at the international programs and basically wanted to go everywhere," she says. "Goucher was a done deal at that point."
Since coming to Goucher, Kettner '13 has become a veritable globetrotter.
She went to Alicante, Spain, last January for an intermediate language class held as a three-week intensive course abroad (ICA). Though she says she is "not a language person," she thought it would be great to go to Spain and put the speaking skills to use that she had been building since the eighth grade. "I struggled with learning the language terribly, but going to Spain really helped," she says.
Then that May, after classes had ended, Kettner went to Bosnia and Slovenia for another three-week ICA — this time a communications course on alternative media and culture. She says she signed up for the program because she thought it would be good for her major, but then she started to second guess herself because she knew "absolutely nothing" about what had gone on in the region.
The program started in Sarajevo, where she saw bullet holes that are still in the walls of the capital city's buildings. She and her classmates had the chance to talk to people who lived through an experience and survived a war that she was just beginning to learn about. "It was absolutely incredible," Kettner says. Since then, she has done a lot of research on the region's conflict and completed a major paper on media manipulation in Bosnia.
The scheduling flexibility afforded by these intensive courses abroad was an important feature for Kettner, who is very active on campus, both as a forward on the women's soccer team and as co-editor-in-chief of The Quindecim, the college's bimonthly student newspaper.
Last year Kettner saw signs around campus that The Q needed an opinion editor. "I definitely have a few opinions; I can do this," she said of her initial involvement with Goucher's paper. Plus, she had worked on her high school's newspaper and felt well-qualified, if not a little jaded about journalism at that point.
She has since been promoted into an editor-in-chief role and says that "as much as I don't sleep and don't eat, and how stressed out I get putting a paper out every two weeks, it's completely worth it. It gives the people here a voice if they want it, need it."
When the stress of the newspaper gets to her, Kettner says she is grateful that she can put on her cleats and hop on the playing field, where she can focus on soccer for two hours a day. She has been on the Landmark All-Conference Team two times; has been the leading scorer in the conference; and twice has been on the Landmark Conference All-Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes of sophomore standing or older with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Perhaps more important than these achievements, however, is that the girls from the team have become Kettner's closest friends here at Goucher, where she is a commuter student. "It's a family outside of my family," she says. "It's really nice."
Kettner has really become engrained in the life on campus: "My life is now here," she says. Fortunately for her, though, this hasn't limited her sense of the possibilities and wonder beyond campus — things she has seen firsthand on her study-abroad trips. Kettner says that "if you have a car and you have Google for GoogleMaps, you can go anywhere," and she feels lucky to be part of a campus community where so many members share this kind of adventuresome curiosity.