Saint Michael's This Week: Trees, Gretchen Galbraith, Heidi St Peter, five seniors complete Peace Corps Prep requirements

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Saint Michael's This Week: Trees, Gretchen Galbraith, Heidi St Peter, five seniors complete Peace Corps Prep requirements

Sat, 05/07/2022 - 3:04am -- tim

tree planting

St. Mike's campus springs to life with multiple May tree-plantings 

tree plant“We’ve been putting in some serious trees this week,” said biology Professor Declan McCabe Wednesday about a recent happy flurry of planting events — mostly in the College Natural Area over several days of this first week in May — but also on Arbor Day (April 29). Trevien Stanger of the environmental studies faculty – McCabe calls him “the Lorax” after a tree-honoring Dr. Seuss character given Stanger’s passion and deep knowledge about trees – was the primary mover and shaker of all these recent spring tree events, though McCabe has a regular hand in it too as chief steward of the Natural Area.

The most “serious” trees in terms of size, maturity and related new infrastructure to keep them safe and watered were a group of mostly fruit trees, obtained through a grant thanks to an application by student Anna Beach ’22 to the Society for Ecological Restoration. Those larger trees were to be planted on Thursday, which turned out to be a perfect cool sunny day.

To keep deer from eating them and other new young Natural Area trees, McCabe said, funds from a federal grant last year will help with installing an electric fence powered by solar, as well as a watering system that includes a cistern and refurbished pump at the old organic garden site within the Natural Area.

Most trees planted this week came from the environmental group at the initiative of the campus Environmental Club called GreenUp. “The big goal is to capture carbon,” said McCabe, “so we’re putting in a whole lot of knee-high young trees with lots of growth potential to suck up carbon, which is a good goal.”   (Video by Cam Wilson '23)



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Gretchen Galbraith, newly named Dean of Faculty, is veteran scholar, administrator

Major news about the College’s academic leadership came this week from Jeffrey Trumbower, vice president for Academic Affairs, in an email message to the community: “It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that Gretchen Galbraith, Ph.D., has been named by President Sterritt as our new Dean of the Faculty.  Gretchen is coming to us from SUNY Potsdam, where she has been Dean of Arts and Sciences since 2019. Before that, she was Associate Dean for Faculty, Resources, and Scheduling in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, from 2014-2019. Also at Grand Valley State she chaired the History Department and was Interim Director of the Honors College. She holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in European and Women’s History, and has a B.A. from Connecticut College.  She is the author of the book Reading Lives: Reconstructing British Childhoods 1860-1914 (St. Martin’s Press, 1997), along with several articles and book chapters. Her most recent scholarly work is on Constance Maynard, a pioneer of women’s education in Britain. She also has an interest in using gaming as a pedagogical tool, subject of a work-in-progress. Dean Galbraith will start her work with us on July 11."



Heidi St. Peter ’96 will be College’s first director of purposeful learning

“I think this position really came out of re-imagining everything we’ve always been good at here at St. Mike’s,” said Heidi St. Peter ‘96 (right) shortly after the College chose her recently to become its first director of purposeful learning. St. Peter is living charismatic testimony to those things Saint Michael’s does best — from her undergraduate student days as an English major and ardent volunteer with strong mentors, through her leadership of the MOVE program in Edmundite Campus Ministry, to more recent key roles in academic support and Academic Affairs. Few figures on campus know and love the College and its mission better or connect with more authentic empathy while encouraging students and colleagues to be their best selves. The new position emerged from recent work on the College’s new Strategic Plan that aims to identify thoughtful ways forward, keeping pace with the present fast-changing higher education universe and the College’s determination to thrive within it. “We’re at a time in our history where we just had to stop taking things for granted and be a little more intentional about the transformative experience that is St. Mike’s,” St. Peter said,  “so in essence that’s what this position is all about in my mind – repackaging and reimagining all the good basis of our Saint Michael’s education.” 

 St. Peter was a 2010 Vermont Business Magazine "Rising Star."


pcp four

late solo girl


Five seniors successfully complete Peace Corps Prep requirements

Five students from the Class of 2022 received their Peace Corps Prep Certificates and cords for graduation at a Tuesday, May 3 ceremony in -- of course -- the international gardenAllison Cleary, the Peace Corps Prep coordinator, said of the  photo at right, “Our missing graduate, Hayley Jensen, showed up just as we were tidying up so [Political Science Professor] Trish Siplon and I were able to give her a mini-ceremony and she was able to sample a few of the international treats we set out.” The top photo by Allison shows the four other graduates of the program – from left, Catherine “Cat” O’Donnell, Alexyah Dethvongsa, Abby Poisson and Lydia Powell. The Peace Corps Prep program guides students in preparing themselves for intercultural competency and field work. It integrates coursework with hands-on experience, professional savvy and leadership development. This program gives them a competitive edge should they choose to apply for Peace Corps service or other international service work. Says Allison, “All five of our graduates have demonstrated a passion for global engagement and commitment, a core tenet of the Peace Corps Prep program, and of the Center for Global Engagement at Saint Michael’s. These students built their coursework, leadership opportunities and other activities during their time here around their passion for global engagement, a core tenet of the Peace Corps Prep program. They also demonstrated resiliency and adaptability during the unpredictability of the pandemic. These are critical skillsets for international service.” Allison continued, “It struck me as I was reviewing all of the decisions our Peace Corps Prep graduates have made in their course choices, in internships and in the causes and other activities they have committed to, that they very naturally and intuitively have followed the Peace Corps Prep program. As she told the graduates during the ceremony:  "We congratulate you on your hard work, on your intentional, thoughtful planning and preparation, on your commitment to global engagement and your future, which is full of possibilities and purpose.” She quoted Peace Corps founder President John F. Kennedy from 1961: ““We will only send abroad Americans who are wanted by the host country—who have a real job to do—and who are qualified to do that job… Our Peace Corps is not designed as an agency of diplomacy or propaganda or ideological conflict. It is designed to permit our people to exercise more fully their responsibilities in the great common cause of world development.”  


big topper




Community love animates student's fundraiser to fight childhood cancer

In a time when returning to in-person events on campus has yielded sparse student turnout, the St. Baldrick’s event in Ross gym rallied hundreds of Saint Michael’s students to show up and show out for childhood cancer research. Katie Escobedo ’23, a Saint Michael’s athlete, fire and rescue volunteer, psychology major and worker in the Admission Office from New Rochelle, NY, was the event coordinator of the first ever St. Baldrick’s event on the Saint Michael’s College campus. The April 29, Friday evening event honored the memory of Cayllie Lipford, a recent nursing graduate and patient of Katie’s mom who died this past winter of a pediatric kidney tumor. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with the aim of raising funds to help find cures for children with cancer. The name of the foundation is not associated with a recognized Saint of the Catholic Church, but is founded on word play and appropriation of the title of sainthood. To attract so many supporters for such a cause, the organizers featured popular attractions for college students — cornhole, pizza and wings, raffles – but by the end, several attendees felt inspired spontaneously to join the nine pre-recruited “shavees” who including Katie. The Ross gym was buzzing as hundreds of students showed up to support Katie and St. Baldrick’s through their participation and donations. In total, the event raised $28,462 by the end of the night – which the organizers considered a major success considering Katie’s overall goal for the event was $20,000.


alpine photo

Alpine Racing Club lets avid, skilled skiers do what they love, outside of varsity

Members of the Saint Michael’s College Alpine Racing Club (ARC) often can be found loading their gear up into a College van early in the morning before making the 45- minute commute to Smuggler’s Notch to spend two hours skiing. Different from the Saint Michael’s Division I Alpine Skiing team, the ARC team is more flexible and allows students to continue racing without the commitment of being a Division I athlete. Otto VanDerhoef ’22, a biology major with a chemistry minor from Seattle, WA, was a member of the Division I Alpine Skiing team for his first and second years at Saint Michael’s before switching over to the ARC team. As his sophomore year was ending, VanDerhoef heard about a plan by Gus Macleod, the College’s Alpine head coach, to help students start up an alpine club sport. VanDerhoef immediately knew that he wanted to be a part of it. He came to realize that an alpine club team was a better option for him when his busy varsity athletic schedule began to affect his grades. “The club offers a lot of flexibility. We have training available six days a week if people want it. You can be up there six days a week training, with two or three of those days being training sessions with the NCAA team,” he said. “There’s also the option to just show up for the races and not go to training or maybe just go for training and not the races. It’s really up to every student.” Other students, such as Joseph Turner ‘22, a business and accounting double major from Westport, CT, are solely looking for a club team as opposed to an NCAA team. 



Music students share gifts during May 4 year-end recitals

Erin Grainger, adjunct music faculty in the Saint Michael’s Fine Arts Department, had more news this week about year-end recitals by music students, including some of her own: “On Wednesday May 4, voice and piano students gave a recital to celebrate and show their artistic achievements this term. Congratulations to Natasha Farrarpiano student of Professor Susan Summerfield, and to singers in the studio of Adjunct Professor Erin Grainger: Ethan Boucher, Sadie Chamberlain, Mia Cooper, Elizabeth Cupo, Jenna Gagne, and Mckenzie Rowbotham.”



post demolition

Edmundite Missions Board meeting draws group from St. Mike's

Several members of the Saint Michael’s community have been in Selma, AL, this week for a meeting of the Board for the Edmundite Southern Missions, including Edmundite Superior General Very Rev. David Cray ‘68, S.S.E.; Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ’86, director of Edmundite Campus Ministry and a board member, and Patrick Bohan, videographer for the Marketing & Communications Office/director of the new Media Creation Studio, who is doing a video about the good work of the Missions and their long-running connections to Saint Michael’s College. Of the bottom photo at right, Fr. Brian shares: “Here is a post demolition photo of the space where the old red brick Missions House, residence of Edmundites in Selma for decades right across from the Center of Hope, was located. Plans are on schedule for a new administrative building for the Southern Missions.” Of the top photo at right, Southern Missions Executive Director Chad McEachern ’91 says: “Our Southern Missions Board is meeting this week in Selma. In honor of those visiting from St. Mike’s we hoisted the SMC flag (at right) along with our Missions flag (left).”



'Intertwined' by Celeste Matte is season's last McCarthy exhibit: Gallery reception today at 6 p.m. 

From Brian Collier, associate professor of art & design and curator/director of the McCarthy Art Gallery: “Spring seems to finally be here and with it comes our last McCarthy Art Gallery show of the season open for viewing from May 3 through May 16, 2022. Now in the gallery: An installation by Celeste Matte, ‘Intertwined.’ Please join us for the gallery reception on Friday May 6 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.” Artist statement: "INTERTWINED" is an immersive art installation in which the viewer occupies a space inspired by a wood and string sculpture. With this work, I manipulate concepts of materiality, perspective, and subjective associations to allow the viewer to feel consumed by the world that they have entered.


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NSF to keep funding Brizard plasma research

Alain Brizard of the Saint Michael's physics faculty posted on social media this week some good news about his ongoing contributions to international fusion power initiatives: "I am grateful that the National Science Foundation has decided to continue funding my research in plasma theory for the next three years," he posted. Alain had been among the world’s leading theorists in theoretical fusion plasma research for nearly 40 years. As he explained before in this space: “Based on the theory, I transform the physics equations into mathematical models that can be used in the computer programs that simulate real experiments." Such work is a vital step in fusion research and development, which would be too complex and costly to allow meaningful progress absent the predictions of the sort that Brizard and his colleagues make. Brizard’s particular expertise is plasma physics, the realm in which fusion shows its promise. The Saint Michael’s professor’s direct association with fusion initiatives is primarily focused with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) fusion reactor in France.





Student workers integral to Career Center

Here in the Boucher Career Education Center (BCEC), teamwork and collaboration allow us to provide the best possible support to our student and alumni body. Our student employees are an integral part of making that happen. As we wrap up the semester we’d like to share our appreciation for Mariah LeVangie ’22: Marketing and social media, Collen Biglin ’22: Peer Career Advisor, and Izzy Ruprecht ’23: Trained Peer Career Advisor for 2022-2023. Beyond their primary responsibilities, all three students handle tasks such as approving jobs and employers, managing data, staffing tables to represent the BCEC, and any number of projects that add value to the services we provide. Here they reflect on career skills they’ve developed and contribute to us all:

MARIAH: “I chose to work at the BCEC because I had a passion for marketing and wanted to learn about the field in a variety of ways. I have really enjoyed my time here and the amazing people that I had the opportunity to work with for the past 3 years. There are so many memories that will stick with me after I graduate, and I cannot wait to see what the world has to offer. While reflecting on my time here I have learned a lot about how to capture attention and lead viewers towards a direction for future success and goals. All these experiences have helped me develop skills in marketing and allowed me to grow and be ready for my career in marketing after graduation."

COLLEEN: "I have absolutely loved working in the BCEC as a Peer Career Advisor! During my time here, I have assisted with various projects around the office in order to promote educational outreach about the BCEC to the Saint Mike's Community. A large part of my role has also been providing support to students by working together on résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, which has been my favorite aspect of working here. Working in the BCEC has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I'm sad to be leaving the office!"

IZZY: “Working in the BCEC has allowed me to grow in many ways. I have made new connections and have learned time-management and communication skills here. Balancing student employment along with schoolwork and being a student-athlete is challenge, but working in the BCEC is always a place that I look forward to coming to each week. Being trained in résumé composition, cover letter writing, LinkedIn, Handshake, and Canva are skills I will take with me beyond Saint Mike's. I am so excited to continue working here this upcoming fall to finish my final year as an undergrad and am thankful for the opportunities the BCEC has given me.”

Mariah and Colleen are graduating, we will miss them and are also excited to see them take their professional skills beyond St. Mike’s. Izzy will continue on in the BCEC next year, ready to share her expertise as a Peer Career Advisor. And in case you didn’t know, the BCEC is open through the summer and at any point we can help. Make an appointment on Handshake! 

--Laura Neville, career counselor




Pat Whitman

Patrick Whitman '95: Little League volunteer extraordinaire, great guy

Heidi St. Peter '96 of the administration/staff shares: “Patrick Whitman ’95 recently was recognized for his 17(!) years of volunteer service with the Shelburne (VT) Little League (SLL) organization. Over the years, Pat has served as a board member, coach, snack shack coordinator, griller, and all-around Pat-of-all-trades, willing to help in any capacity to make dreams come true every spring. Last weekend, the SLL Board honored him by naming the alleyway that stretches behind the Shelburne Community Center/Police Department and in front of the Little League fields: “Whitman Way.” His service has benefitted many families, including many current Saint Michael’s College staff, faculty, and alums. Patrick is the son of alumni Jim Whitman ’65 and Bunny Whitman, and his sister, Deirdre, is a 1992 graduate of the CollegePat and his wife, Michaela, (Brooks, also of the class of 1995) served with the Edmundite Mission Corps in New Orleans for a few years after graduating from Saint Michael’s. Currently, Pat teaches in the Old North End of Burlington. He and Michaela have four children. They are a great family.” (Photo of Pat with the Vermont Lake Monsters mascot Champ as his Little League fans look on is courtesy of Emily McLean.)



Mulhern '91 joins Boston's Nutter law firm

Nutter, a Boston-based law firm, recently announced that Daniel P. Mulhern ’91 has joined the firm as a partner in its Corporate and Transactions Department and a member of its Public Policy group. Dan will focus his practice on advising public and privately-held companies on government relations, constituency building, strategic planning, and government enforcement and investigations and assist clients in legislative, regulatory, and community affairs. From a press release: “Prior to joining Nutter, he served as the Suffolk County First Assistant District Attorney in the office of Rachael Rollins, the former Suffolk County District Attorney of Massachusetts... Before that, Mulhern was a Senior Advisor to Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Director of the City of Boston’s Office of Public Safety…. Previously, [he] served as the Chief of the Gang Unit and the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative at SCDAO. He has also practiced as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and a prosecutor in Middlesex County and at the Attorney General’s office…. In 2012, the University of Massachusetts Boston presented him with its Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership in recognition of his contributions to significantly improve the quality of life in the Greater Boston area. Mulhern earned his J.D. from Suffolk Law School and his B.A. from St. Michael’s College. Nutter provides legal counsel to corporations, early stage entrepreneurs, institutions, foundations, and families, across the country and around the world. 


Haggerty '97 a Teacher of Year finalist 

From the local news website in West Hartford, CT, a story about Saint Michel’s alumna Michelle Haggerty '97 being one of three finalists for West Hartford Teacher of the Year. From the story by reporter Ronni Newton: On Teacher Appreciation Day, midway through Teacher Appreciation Week, the 2022 finalists for West Hartford Teacher of the Year were announced Tuesday night to the Board of Education. The 2022 finalists include Alanna Goldberg, a speech-language pathologist at Charter Oak International Academy; Michele Haggerty, a first grade teacher at Smith STEM School; and Troy Jones, a health and physical education teacher at Bristow Middle School … Haggerty, originally from Wethersfield, is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont and has spent her entire 22-year career at Smith STEM School where she currently teaches first grade and has also taught second and third grades. It’s also her first time accepting the Teacher of the Year nomination.




Source: Saint Michael's College. Colchester. May 6, 2022