Motivated is the perfect word to describe Plattsburgh State senior, Kristen Foland. Originally from Clifton Park, this history, and political science double-major loves to learn about all elements of American and world history.
Foland’s affinity for the past stems from her love of reading, writing, and art. One of her favorite historical figures is Jean-Michel Basquiat, a 1970s New York City graffiti artist.
Foland is PSUC’s History Association’s treasurer, as well as an alumni ambassador. Foland said that even though she has a lot on her plate, her college experience has taught her how to manage her time effectively.
Foland said she decided to study political science out of a need for more credits for graduation but is very happy with her choice.
“I’ve met a lot of good professors,” Foland said. “So I’m really glad I added that major.”
To help manage the double major workload, Foland is sure to stay organized.
“I like to plan out my day, I make a schedule and to-do list,” Foland said. “I also try not to sleep too late because then I’ll get nothing done.”
Besides her education, Foland enjoys traveling. Foland recently got accepted into the Graduate Institute of Geneva in Switzerland on a full scholarship.
Foland said she would like to have a career internationally in some aspect of diplomacy or human rights advocacy.
Foland said although she does a lot during the semester, she finds time for herself.
“I spend a lot of time studying,” Foland said. “But I hang out with my friends and I draw a lot, just normal college stuff.”
Foland is inspired not only by historical figures, but by her family, friends and role models today.
“My mom is a role model because she’s super hard-working,” Foland said. “She puts in all her effort to everything she does.”
Foland’s academic determination is admired by many including the history department chair, Gary Kroll. Kroll first met Foland in his Introduction to Historical Methods class and said that she has a talent for presenting information on historical topics in interesting ways.
“She did a paper on a graffiti artist and dealt with sources in complicated ways,” Kroll said. “She made an interesting argument on the lived experience of African Americans in the 1970s.”
Foland has been a teacher’s assistant in one of Kroll’s classes and he said he is impressed with her public speaking ability.
“She gave a presentation at a regional conference and she was able to captivate an audience, hold their attention and keep them interested in a historical topic which isn’t easy to do,” Kroll said.
Another person who is particularly impressed with Foland is her friend, Mike Kayigize. Folland and Kayigize have been friends since the spring of 2016 after meeting in one of their political science classes. Foland and Kayigize share a passion for traveling and trying new experiences.
“I think we both tried to discover as many new things together as we could, given time and other obligations,” Kayigize said.
Foland and Kayigize went to Madrid, Spain last summer on a pre-law fellowship and traveled to Kayigize’s home country of Burundi this past winter break. Kayigize also has nothing but high praise for Foland’s work ethic and academics.
“She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” Kayigize said. “I was so proud of her when she got into her dream grad school.”
Kayigize also said that the reason Foland is so successful in her academics is because of some of the unique qualities she possesses.
“She’s resilient, organized and has a great analytical perspective on things,” Kayigize said.
Whether it’s a friend or a faculty member, Folland’s determination for academia is admired by many people.
“She definitely is one of the people who I think took the opportunity to make the most out of her college experience,” Kayigize said. “And it was an honor and a blessing to be a part of it.”
Email Tess Acierno at firstname.lastname@example.org