Careers in Nonprofit

As part of the Career Speaker Series given at Keene State College, a panelist of all KSC Alumni came to discuss careers in the nonprofit sector on Tuesday, the third of March, 2020. The panel discussed their journeys and goals which quite evidently coincided with their personal ambition to help other people. Every single panelist stated in some way that they loved what they do. One panelist, Dylan Bates from the class of 2019, stated, “it is inspirational because everyday I can do something that can make a difference.”

Go forth and serve…

Many people associate nonprofits with volunteerism, which while extremely important, is not the entire picture. There is a lot of work and hustle involved with making a nonprofit organization function. The staff has to get paid, rent paid, maintenance fees, and yes even electricity. This is all on top of the expenses associated with accomplishing projects and funding research.

What is a nonprofit?

Typically consists of a group or organization that has come together for a shared belief and goal to make a positive change in their communities. Unlike most organizations it does not have shareholders and revenue is redistributed within the organization to further their mission. The revenue is not distrubted to the directors or board of directors but rather is invested into projects that are meaningful and that have a positive impact on the community.

The nonprofit status must be assigned at the begining of creating the organization and has to meet certain requirements set by state laws. Some typical nonprofits include churches, public education, legal aid groups, museums, and animal shelters [1]. There are many community service and volunteerism based nonprofit organizations as well as professional organizations without charitable goals such as a sports association wich provides community enrichment.

Funding a nonprofit:

Everything in life costs money, except love. Love is free, which is why people dedicate themselves to a cause like a nonprofit. To keep the dream alive for everyone to enjoy, regardless of time, effort, and passion invested, there must be some source of money to keep the lights on. This is accomplished through several different avenues.

Nonprofits are able to apply for grant money. Grants are what college students like to call “free money”. This is money that must be applied for and is given by the government or a private organization based upon merit and the goal to promote social welfare and stimulate the economy.

Another potential source of revenue for nonprofits is the hard work and hustle of public relations officers, board directors, and campaign managers when networking, running events, and working directly with the people they serve. Positive public relations leads to personal donations from local individuals and companies. Fundraising programs are often effective at generating funds for a specific project by promoting issues that the public cares about.

Endorsments such as annual or unresticted gifts are essential in providing the funds necessary to keep the day to day functions of the organization going. This includes the elctric bill and the employees paychecks, because it cannot all be done by volunteers. Unresticted gifts are donated without a specific purpose and are generally used for operational expenses. Restricted gifts on the other hand are donated for a specific purpose or project.

Starting a nonprofit:

There are several steps that must be taken before a group can be considered a nonprofit organizations. These include: [2]

  • Formulating a “Mission Statement
  • Creating a set of bylaws to guide the organization. The bylaws encompass the rules of conduct and business model, similar to a constitution for the organization.
  • Develop a Board of Directors to oversee operations
  • Apply to the federal and state governments for an Article of Incorporation (and pay that FEE)
  • Apply for Tax-Exempt status through the IRS
  • Apply for a solicitation license through the local government if needed
  • Formally register the nonprofit organization
  • Get insurance for liability purposes and for equipment

Nonprofit vs Tax-Exempt

Nonprofit organizations are run for the benefit of the community without producing revenue for shareholders or a board of directors. Most of these nonprofit groups do receive tax exemptions, especially those that are educational and charitable organizations.

Requirements for a nonprofit organization to receive tax exemptions vary depending on the state as well as the type of nonprofit organization (churches vs labor unions). Tax exemptions are determined by the Internal Revenue Code which is regulated by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

These corporations still pay taxes, just not on the funds generated to accomplish their mission. These taxes include the federal corporate income tax as well as social security and medicare, and many others [3]. All tax exemptions have to be applied for through the IRS and are determined based on the corporations mission, structure, and programs.

To maintain a nonprofit and tax exempt status under the 501(c)(3) portion of the US Internal Revenue Code, the organization must follow a very strict set of rules and regulations. One such stipulation is that the net profits or activities cannot solely or unfairly benefit any single individual within the organization. All assets are also considered charitable and are donated should the organization shut down [4]. Organizations are also required to reapply annually and prove that standards are met.

What is the 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6)…wait how many are there???

There are multiple sections and subsections within the Internal Revenue Code. The 501 section pertains to nonprofit organizations and there are several subsections. The 501(c)(3) is the most common and what people generally think of when they hear nonproft and tax-exempt. However, it is not the only type of nonprofit tax exemption listed within the Internal Revenue Code.

The 501(c)(3) is a subsection of the Internal Revenue Code that grants tax exempt status to stricly charitable purposes [4] such as: religious organizations, literary/educational, scientific research/public safety, national/international sports training programs, and organizations related to the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. These purposes fall into three categories. Public charities are those that receive a third of its total revenue from the general public such as local companies and individuals. In addition, to remian a “public charity” it must be organized and directed by “independent, unrelated individuals” [4] which typically inludes churches and animal shelters. Another catergory under the 501(c)(3) includes Private Foundations or “non-operating foundations” which typically do not have “active” programs but rather sponsor grants or scholarships which typically generate revenue from a smaller client base than public charities, sometimes coming from a single family. The last catergory of 501(c)(3) organizations are the Private Operating Foundations. They function in a similar manner as the public charities but act on a smaller scale and have limitations more similar to those of the private foundations.

The 501(c)(6) is another subsection within the Internal Revenue Code that handles nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations differ from the 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in that they function as a business association. They are considered nonprofit because they do not generate revenue or pay shares. These organizations include chambers of commerce, real estate boards, pro-football leagues, and business leagues [5]. These organizations must adhere to regulations set forth by the IRS to maintain their tax exempt status.

The 501(c)(4) is another, yes another, subsection within the Internal Revenue Code that grants tax-exempt status to nonprofit organizations, in particular, social welfare organizations. These groups are dedicated to social improvement [6].

Local Nonprofits

Cheshire County, NH

Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities: a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the best care. It was officially incorporated as a nonprofit on June 28, 1952 but was established in the 1950’s by Dorothy “Dot” Sawyer.

The Monadnock Conservancy: protecting the wildlife and land in the Monadnock region since 1989.

Monadnock Family Services: provides mental health, financial, and housing support to families in need in the Monadnock Region.

MOCO Arts: a nonprofit arts education organization that offers children a creative outlet that nurtures a sense of community and cooperation.


[1] “Non-Profit Organizations.” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School,

[2] Little, Libby. “How to Start a Non-Profit Organization.” HowStuffWorks, 3 June 2009,

[3] Constantine, George, et al. “The Difference between Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Status: Insights: Venable LLP.” Venable, 1999,

[4] “What Is a 501(c)(3)?” Foundation Group®,

[5] Sherman, Fraser. “What Is a 501 C (6) Organization?” Small Business ,, 25 Jan. 2019,

[6] “Social Welfare Organizations.” Internal Revenue Service,

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Transitioning into the Workplace

Keene State College offers students many resources and sponsored events. The Career Speaker Series offers students a preview into the world after college. One such presentation given on Feb. 25, 2020 at 6pm in the Cohen Center in the Mason Library offered students advice on resume building and getting careers after graduation. The presentor, David Westover, is a KSC alumni who graduated in 1972. Currently retired and making his very own, and delicious, maple syrup, Mr. Westover began his journey as a psychology major who ran for the track team.

He insisted that networking is what landed him his career with Peerless Insurance Company in Keene, NH (what is now Liberty Mutual) where he eventually became the CEO. His track coach had local friends and helped him get into the company prior to graduating. This was an important lesson he wanted us to know becuase it demonstrated the importance of networking and the value of the relationships formed throuhg extra-curricular activities.

After retiring from the firm he spent ten years teaching a course called “Transitioning into the Workforce” at Keene State College. The lecture he presented was a snapshot of this course and explained how to “sell yourself” when getting out into the working world.

Mr. Westover began by discussing the importance of letters of recomendation because they are more descriptive portrayals of a person than just their resume. He insisted that we should have 3-4 letters ready and available when applying to a new position. These can give you an extra edge in competitive job environments. These should be professional and can come from professors, mentors from internships, or employers. Always remember to give these people ample time to write the letter.

Sometimes, a cover letter is needed along with a resume. This is typically a few paragraphs explaining why the applicant is suited for the position. It is important to know who it will be sent to and address the letter to that person. The use of “To whom it may concern” is not an acceptable header.

Resume Building

Employers typically take 30-60 seconds to look over the resume the first time when sifting through the hundreds of applicants. It is a person’s one shot to impress a potential employer on paper. Always check spelling and do not rely completely on software to do it for you. Some simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Use quality paper and a quality printer
  • No colorful paper or fancy fonts
  • Print only on one side of the paper, do not staple multiple pages because if it is torn off, it looks unprofessional
  • Send it in an 8 1/2 by 11 envelope to avoid folding your resume. Also Mr. Westover mentioned that he always opens the larger envelopes first.
  • Spelling errors are not acceptable
  • Bold and center your name at the top
  • Font size 11-12; not too small because it is
  • Do not leave a lot of white space
  • Goal: easy to read and easy to find
  • No sentences

Include the most relevant information, keep it up to date with current information, and include internships, summer jobs, and soft skills. Always start with the most recent and then work backwards. Typcial headings that are common to see, and should be easily identifiable upon first glance include:

  • Career Objective-which include future goals
  • Employment-longevity within a position shows dedication, avoid large gaps between employment
  • Education
  • Internships
  • Core Classes- to flaunt relevant upper level courses that are applicable to the job position
  • Qualifications/Skills- which would include skills such as problem solving or soft skills like time management
  • Accomplishments and Awards
  • Activities
  • Volunteer Work

Preparing for the Interview

First impressions can make or break the interview and it is important to be prepared before heading in.

  • Dress for success! Plan the outfit ahead of time to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions
  • Review the company’s website, learn their mission statement, and write down informed, open-ended questions that you can ask during your interview. This demonstrates initiative.
  • Bring the letters of recommendation, have them ready and available
  • Bring extra copies of your resume, there could be more than one person interviewing you.
  • Be on time and know the person who is conducting the interview
  • Buy a local newspaper if there is time, local events can be used as an ice breaker

When the time for the interview comes:

  • Listen carefully to what is asked
  • Replies should answer the question without being too long
  • Talking too fast, clicking a pen, playing with hair are nervous habits that should be avoided
  • Maintain good eye contact
  • Show enthusiasm for the position
  • Strong last impression

Your last impression is just as important as the first.

  • Ask what the next step in the hiring process is
  • Ask any questions that came up during the interview
  • Ask the prepared questions from prior research on the company
  • Thank the interviewer for their time
  • Follow up with how you would be ideal for the position
  • Leave a personal, handwritten thank-you note

Standing out above all the other applicants by having a solid background, professional references, and a positive in person experience can be the push that lands you in the position of your dreams. Selling yourself includes knowing yourself, your resume, and the company. Show enthusiasm and confidence.

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What about the brain: An overview for learners

Presentation by Marga Madhuri ; PhD; Universidad La Verne


  • Dislexia is found in all cultures across the globe, to learn more we must investigate the functionality of the brain and how it assists in learning.

Remove Stress

  • PACE: activites from Brain Gym to assist in learning and removing stress
    • E: Energetic ⇒ drink water
      • The brain functions on electrical reactions and water dilutes the salt concentrations to create electrolytes ⇒ electric energy
    • C: Clear thinking ⇒ switch on brain buttons
      • Activate the end points of the kidney meridian to activate the body’s energy system
    • A: Active ⇒ do cross crawl moves
      • The brain functions bilaterally and these enhance balance
    • P: Positive Attitude ⇒ hook ups 
      • Soothing, centering, and activate vestibular system
  • The PACE system allows the individual to calm down from a stressful situation or event, learning occurs when the individual is calm.

The Brain

  • The brain weighs an average of 3.5 lbs and is about 2% of a person’s body mass.
  • It uses 20% of the oxygen and calories that are ingested
  • It contains 86 billion neurons with 15,000 connections per neuron
  • 62,000 miles of mylenated axons
  • 100,000 dendrites
  • 100 trillion synapses
  • the number of connections that the brain can make is more important that the actual size of the brain.

“Brain” by CNX OpenStax (CC by 4.0)

  • The brain stem is the first part of the brain to form. It regulates basic body functions such as breathing, heart rate, and swallowing. Often referred to as the “reptilian brain” because it is the reactive and animalistic part of the brain. 
  • The limbic system is responsible for emotional processing, learning, and memory.
  • Input from the senses are is recieved by the thalamus for processing.
  • The hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining homeostasis.
  • The hippocampus is responsible for the functionality of memory. This includes both the working memory (short term) and long term memory. The concept of multitasking is actually a process of the working memory, however it requires an ability to switch between the memory associated with each task fluidly becuase both cannot exist within the working memory simultaneously.
  • For short term memory to become long term memory sleep, focus, an understadning of the background, and a visualization of the idea are required. More contact with the information creates more spaces where it is stored in the memory, more storage creates stronger memories. Is memory chemical?
  • The amygdala processes emotions, especially fear. It recieves information 40 miliseconds before the cortex and is believed to be responsible for acting without thinking.

“Limbic System” by Patrick J. Lynch (CC by 4.0)

  • The cerebellum is the halves behind the brain stem. It is considered to be 11% of brain mass and contains the majority of the neurons. It is responsible for coordination due to the nerve endings in the muscles. It is thought to possible play a role in the coordination of thoughts, emotions, and the senses. Automaticity allowed for more cognitive freedom.
  • The cerebrum is considered to be 80% of the brain’s mass. It conists of the two hemispheres that are connected by the corpus callosum which consists of 200 million nerves. The cerebrum is responsible for thinking, memory, soeech, muscular movement, and is considered to contain “gray matter“.
  • The cortex is the part that covers and wraps around the cerebrum.
  • The frontal lobe (Broca’s area) is the seat of reason, executive functions, creative thinking, speech, and problem solving. It becomes fully developed around the age of 25.
  • The temporal lobe(Wernicke’s area) is responsible for hearing, selective listening, and speech comprehension.
  • The parietal lobe is responsible for taste, temperature, touch, and proprioception.
  • The occipital lobe processes vision.
  • Input is recieved from the back of the brain and processed at the front of the brain.
  • The top half of the brain is responsible for thinking, the bottom half for emotion and motivation.


  • Homunculus Man: somatic motor and sensory representation of the brian.
  • The hands have more neurons and neurology than the rest of the body. It is believed that the hands and brain evolved together as humans became upright walking creatures and the arms and hands became survival tools.

“Homunculus Man” by Dr. Joe Kiff (CC by 3.0)

Effects of Stress

  • Physiology: blood flow to the back of the brain, stress hormones are released, fight-or-flight response is activated, tensing, tunnel vision, and blood flow to the peripheral limbs occurs.
  • Learning occurs in situations that do not have stress and the individual is relaxed.
  • Stress has been shown to impair rational thought.
  • Chronic stress impairs the immune system, increased cortisol, and decreases the ability to form long term memories.
  • Chronic stress is associated with a smaller hippocampus, frontal lobe, and overall brain size.

“Stress” by Jesper Sehested (CC by 2.0)

States of Learning

  • Integrated High Gear: topic is learned, familiar, response occurs without thought, and involved automatic movements.
  • Integrated Low Gear: topic is being learned, individual must think before acting.
  • Unintegrated High Gear: individual quits the attempt to learn, is underfocused, spaces out, cannot sustain attention, is confused and distracted, feels frustrated.
  • Unintegrated Low Gear: individual is overfocused on the task, cannot stop trying, is worried, demonstrates perfecionist behaviors, appears to be trying too hard, experiences stress.



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A Scientist’s Journey in the Characterization of Art

Keene State College, NH

Sponsored by the Chemistry Lyceum

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Speaker: Tom Tague, Ph.D.

Currently employed at Bruker Optics which is a large instrumentation company

Chemists role in art:

recovering stolen art, identifying/authenticating artwork, and restoration

  • Rotterdam theft would have been better investigated with modern techniques for identification of the work. This prompted further develop in the industry.

Visual Characterization of a sample:

  • Infrared spectrum is the wavelength that has high specificity and is non-destructive
    • Can be used to determine composition of substances used in a painting to determine if it is authentic, the same style and materials used in the artist’s other works.
  • Instruments that can be utilized:

“The Raman spectrum of pure water” by Bob Fosbury (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Hueco Tanks:

  • Caves that can be found in West Texas
  • Pictographs from 100-1450 AD, Jornada Mogollon Period.
  • It has been damaged by graffiti. How do you remove the graffiti but preserve the pictograph?
    • Laser it at wavelengths where the graffiti absorbs light but the pictograph and rocks are known not to absorb light. This is learned from doing spectroscopy analysis. X-ray fluorescence for elemental analysis.
  • Tools at site: XRF Tracer, Raman analysis tools,
  • After this project they developed a portable, smaller raman spectra tool with an IntelliTip. This device can also be used to test for narcotics.

Salvador Mundi authentication:

  • By Leonardo Di Vinci
    • There are only nine verified paintings by Di Vinci
  • Discovered in a NY family
  • Had been lost for over 250 years
  • Extensive restoration was required
  •  Cross sections (9 total) have been taken from Di Vinci works to alyze chemicals used and determine if other works could be his. They can determine artistic devices such as scratchings and marks that help achieve specific lighting. Da Vinci was also known to have inclusive particles which were used to authenticate his other works. Such an example would be his Grisaille Curls that can identified in three of his works, he was also known to do knot-work which can be seen in a micrograph of the painting. These various new techniques that have been developed by chemists have modernized the world.

Problem:  High value objects are hard to get samples of such as paintings, jewels, and cave paintings.

Solution: remote imaging- detection of the  IR spectra  using a new device. The Hi90 Imaging System with Infrared Source allows for objects to be analyzed without touching the object.

“Stepping Out” by Liechenstein: 

  • Spectroscopy analysis was used to analyze what paint and oil was used and the artist had applied it.
  • Found that the oil used in this painting, by a modern artist, was different from his other works.

Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy:

  • (SERS)
  • Addition of silver and gold to quench fluorescence and enhance the signal of the artwork.
  • This technique can be used on statues and like these other technologies, they can be applied to other fields.

Video Provided by the American Chemical Society on May 17, 2017 [1].

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The Work of Industrial Chemists


Where Academia meet Business

Date of Lecture: 3/1/18


  • Mick Secord
  • Graduated from KSC in 2008
  • Professional Work:
    • Markem-Imaje – a technical chemist, mainly research based and his work got 7 US patents.
    • Polyonics– senior chemist now-development based, materials for “harsh” environments were made

Academic Chemistry:

  • Answer a question/solve problem
  • Gain info, pressure to publish
  • Difficult to gain funding
  • Long-term projects
  • More collaboration-academic conferences
  • Build an academic legacy

Industrial Chemistry:

  • Make money
  • Pressure for efficiency/quickly
  • Funding based on business case (ROI) or specific drivers (new markets)
  • Work in isolation or under secrecy agreements and patent work
  • What have you accomplished lately for your boss?

Learning in academic setting:

  • Exposure to chemical branches-organic, inorganic, physical, etc.
  • Exposure to adjacent fields (math and physics)
  • Basic research understanding
  • Learn “how to learn” and understand how you learn best so you can bring that to graduate school and the work force.
  • Personal drive improves chances for a successful career.

Learning for an industrial setting:

  • Learn how to perform an experiment
    • Lab procedure/set-up are done by the chemist doing the work
    • What can be changed to benefit person style of understanding and learning and efficiency?
    • How do you…
      • Make it faster?
      • Run smoother?
      • Results easier to report on?
      • Reduce cost-material usage, equipment needed?

The Learning Process: Act –> plan –> do  –>  study  –> repeat

Record Keeping:

  • College: notebooks and binders
  • Industrial Work: moving towards electronic record keeping
    • Chemdraw and chemoffice 
    • Benefits: electronic notebooks are organized, easily accessible, and in the “cloud”


Moving from the College Life to the Work Life


What is typically included?

  • GPA, list of courses, level of knowledge, equipment exposure, use of terms that can’t be explained in person
  • social media posts- negative posts make you look like a negative person

What sets you apart?

  • Extra-curricular activities, sports, teams, leadership of groups, research you can speak to, chem lyceum leadership roles

The Interview Process

  • Making an interview means that the employer has potential interest
  • Must be able to explain everything on your resume
  • Be excited, not crazy
  • Know about the company-type of business, products, how big is it, do they have patents?
  • Come ready with questions about the products, business, job
  • Eye contact
  • Keep cellphone, pagers, etc. off and out of sight
  • Act comfortable
  • Funny relevant stories make you appear more human and relatable
  • Personality fit in most organizations will be more important than what you know.

After the Interview

  • Follow up with an email thanking for their time
  • Provide all the contact information again
  • Don’t be afraid to ask when the decision will be made
  • Reaffirm your desire for the job- emphasize points that were made in the interview
  • Make 100% sure that your recommendations are good
  • Understand the follow up policy-is there an email, letter, HR phone call, or no follow-up about moving to the next round.
  • If you are also applying to other jobs, let them know so that they do not take too long to get back to you.

The Industry

Thinking Outside the Box

  • Understand the context-performance issue, cost issue, competitive threat, political
  • Work on having a fundamental understanding of the chemistry-can be dangerous
  • Obtaining the context- dig up info on the product, understand who is involved, when did the problem begin, can you directly speak with those involved, write everything down in bulleted form if possible, get an agreement that what you have identified is correct.
  • Develop approaches to solve the problem
    • Step 1: replicate the problem
      • May require ingenious approach
    • Step 2: Runs tests
      • Are result reasonable?
    • Step 3: Peer review
      • Have others evaluate your work to check for completeness, understandable concepts/writing, and merit.
    • Step 4: submit the work

Assessing your skill set:

  • Self honesty-not everyone is perfect at everything
    • Find our niche
  • Find what you like and build that skill set
    • Connnect with people
    • Abstract problems
    • Primary literature
    • Team collaboration
  • Get exposed to other aspects of the job/topic
  • Ask professors and other professionals for input
    • Accept criticism
    • You do not want to make a mistake in career choice
  • Do others ask you for help in…
    • Lab?—-become a chemist
    • Homework? —become a professor

What are they looking for in an industrial setting

  • Employers look for
    • Well rounded, large knowledge base, sometimes specialization is required
    • 2 away format for problem solving: planning for the next steps based upon the results one might get from an experiment, multiple plans are created due to various possible outcomes.
    • Project management skills-understand the big picture of time, cost, potential return
    • Ability to complete long term tasks-set milestones and goals at regular intervals
  • Energy and fresh ideas
  • Personality fit-remember that there are always difficult people
  • Stability in past employment
  • Social media- can prevent you from the screening process
    • Negative posts makes you look like a negative person!!

Being Successful in the Industry:

  • Look for mentors and engage them
  • Volunteer for new projects-broaden knowledge, improve skill-set
  • Understand what is expected of you
  • Adapt a style that fits with management in your report style
  • Check-in, get feedback on progress, collaborate
  • Take on jobs that aren’t glamorous but add value to your skill set
    • Chemical hygiene officer
    • Hazardous waste coordinator
    • Crisis management committee

Big Companies Vs. Small Company

  • Big company
    • More/better equipment
    • Spend money
    • Longer timelines
    • Large staff
  • Small company
    • Equipment must be beneficial
    • Less money spent
    • More individual responsibility

Small companies give you the opportunity to learn and do a lot of  different activities such as analytical, scaling up, develop testing protocols, etc.







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