College welcomes new faculty, staff as fall semester begins

September 8, 2017

Here’s an introduction to several new faculty and staff at Saint Michael’s College for the fall semester 2017, along with news about promotions, departures or changes in status among other employees.

New Faculty:

Mike Larsen is joining the Mathematics Department in the role of professor and statistician. He will teach intro statistic, linear models, probability and mathematical statistics, and data analysis. He will take a leading collaborative role in the new academic programs in statistics and data science.  Previously he was a tenured professor in the Department of Statistics at George Washington University and its Biostatistics Center, where he was on faculty for 8 years. Prior to that he was an assistant and then associate professor at Iowa State University’s Department of Statistics and its Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology for 6 years. He received his degrees from Harvard in mathematics and statistics.  Mike’s research areas include survey sampling theory and methods, statistical methods for missing data, record linkage and use of administrative data sources and modeling complex data.  He has been involved in large-scale surveys, clinical trials, and national academy of science panels to review the U.S. Census Bureau. He was elected in the American Statistical Society as a Fellow, president of the Washington Statistical Society, and chair of the Survey Research Section. He moved to Essex, Vermont, with his wife Alice and three children, ages 2, 10, and 11. Mike says he “looks forward to meeting new friends and colleagues, and talking to many of you about your data and research!”

Trevien Stanger, who will be teaching as an Instructor in the Environmental Studies and Science Department, describes himself as “a tree-planter, writer, and environmental educator living and working in the Champlain Basin.” Trevien teaches a variety of courses in the ESS department, and his primary interests include ecological restoration, environmental justice, and wilderness studies.  He is currently at work on a coffee-table book about Lake Champlain, entitled Our Basin of Relations:  Creating a Culture of Clean Water in the Champlain Basin.

John Tapper has joined the Education Department as an Associate Professor. He completed his PhD in Teaching and Learning at New York University. His research includes teaching methods that support struggling math learners and the effects of poverty and race on mathematics learning. Before going to New York, John was the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Barre, Vermont. In the 1990s, he cofounded the nationally recognized Westminster Primary Program, an innovative non-graded public school in southern Vermont. John has provided professional development on topics ranging from mathematics learning to multiage teaching throughout the U.S., Eastern Europe, and Japan. “Mathematics, in schools at least, is about opportunity,” he said. “When students are successful with math classes they can graduate high school and go on to college. My goal, regardless of whether or not students enter STEM careers, is to be sure they have access to every opportunity math affords them.”

Alan D’Aiello joined the faculty of the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts (MJD) Department in August 2017 as a full-time instructor. He has a bachelor’s in history and English from the University of Rhode Island, and earned his master’s (2003) and doctorate (2016) from the University of Sussex School of Media, Film and Music in Brighton, England. His research interests include the interactions of digital communications technology with public space use. He has lectured on topics in public relations and political advertising, popular culture and alternative and citizen’s media, and has taught a variety of courses during his studies in England on topics that include media and culture, gender and feminism. He also has done extensive master’s and doctoral research at the intersection of media topics and queer studies, and has worked as an IT consultant and web designer at URI, “further expanding my understanding of the potentials, and pitfalls, of digital media,” he says. Alan’s personal interests are photography, gaming, cult films, vintage camera collecting, and ‘60’s & ‘70’s television and music.

Allison Cleary shifts into a full-time faculty role with the Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts Department. For the past six years Allison combined her faculty position with her role as the International Service Coordinator for MOVE, preparing students and staff for more than a dozen service journeys to India, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Allison earned her B.A. in English from Kenyon College and an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.  Prior to coming to Saint Michael’s she spent more than 20 years in the publishing field. With a focus on health, social justice and human interest, she has edited and written for a multitude of magazines, book publishers, and a variety of consumer, non-profit and corporate publications. Allison teaches Reporting, Multimedia, Magazine Feature Writing, and the Media Studies Internship courses among others. She looks forward to continue teaching and advising students on the campus publication The Defender print and online editions. “I often include community engagement in courses so students benefit from real-world challenges and organizations benefit from student insights. More than ever we need students to apply their skills to the world’s needs,” she said. “In the classroom, workplace and the international landscape, effective communication breaks barriers, educates and connects us as human beings.” Last year, Allison received the Engaged Educator Award from Saint Michael’s College and in 2013 she received the senior Class Appreciation Award.

Amy Knight has joined the Education Department as a full-time instructor. She has a bachelor’s in speech pathology and audiology from SUNY Buffalo (1995) and a master’s in Special Education concentrating in educational strategies for students with severe disabilities (University of Maine/Orono 2000). She has worked as a middle level special educator for the past 17 years with the Burlington School District

Gabriela Ochoa has joined the Department of Modern Languages and Literature as a full-time instructor. Gabriela, who also goes by “Gabi,” is originally from Guatemala and has taught Spanish in high school and college both in Guatemala and the United States. She earned a licenciatura in Political Science at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City and earned her Master’s Degree in History and Literature of Latin America from Middlebury College. Prior to teaching at Saint Michael´s, Gabi coordinated the Peace and Justice Center of Burlington. She tries to incorporate into her classroom her experience working in development and the fair trade movement and enjoys helping students find a connection between language and culture. She loves to help students recognize all the areas they can use their Spanish skills in their communities and in their professional lives. Gabi´s areas of research include historical memory in the post-war Latin American countries. “I love the community feel at Saint Mike´s and the way the small class size allows me to get to know my students well,” she said.

Fr. David Theroux, professor of religious studies, has been named the Director of Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture, a position formerly held by Edward Mahoney, who has retired.  He will also continue to teach in the Department of Religious Studies.

Amy Saks Pavese, returns to the College’s Education Department faculty that she served from 2007 to 2015, this time around as the department’s Licensure Coordinator. She lives in Essex with her husband, Jeff, and children Amelia and Thomas. Amy enjoys hiking, skiing, reading and cooking for friends. Drawing her back to the College, she said, was the College’s “commitment to social justice and clear focus on student growth and success; high quality, well-recognized teacher education program, returning to my professional ‘family’ in the Education Department, and so many students who are engaged and taking action to make a positive contribution to their local and global communities.” Amy said she hopes to “share my experience with, and positive energy and passion for, nurturing prospective teachers’ development into compassionate, skillful, reflective educators committed to ensuring the learning and growth of all students.”

New staff:

Megan Macaulay began work July 24, 2017 as a preschool teacher in the College’s Early Learning Center.  She previously taught at the Children’s Early Learning Space in Waterbury, VT, for five years and is planning a move to South Burlington from Waterbury in September. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, travel, live music and being with friends and family. “What brought me to Saint Michael’s Early Learning Center was its passion for putting children and families first,” she said. “The center is filled with so much love, care and dedication from the staff, children and parents that you can feel it the moment you enter the building.” Megan said strengths she hopes to bring to her work include “patience when a child is in need of calm; communication when a child cannot find their words: creativity in everyday activities; instructional skills throughout the day especially with self-modeling,” and, “My bubbly, loving, caring self every day for the children, parents and staff.”

Kathryn Miyahira’16 began her job as an admission counselor on July 10, 2017. She previously worked at Sniff & Barkens Native Advertising Partnerships. Kathryn lives in Burlington and has been doing improv at the Vermont Comedy Club and volunteering at All Breed Rescue. To explain her interest in returning to her alma mater to work, Kathryn points to former admissions counselors from her student days who “went above and beyond, making me feel like part of the community on campus before I even started. Kathryn, a California native, said she is “excited at the opportunity to provide that experience for visiting students and show students who come from farther away, like I did, how St. Mike’s can become their home away from home.” Her territory will include prospective students from Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Valentina Rojas ’17 started work as an admission counselor on June 19, 2017. She lives in Winooski. Valentina says, “I’m an alum and I absolutely loved my time here, so I couldn’t really leave.” The Miami, FL, native said she hopes to contribute “a recent graduate’s perspective as well as the one of someone who is from far away, yet decided to stay in Vermont. Her recruiting territory is Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Danielle Schiestle began her job as admission counselor on August 14, 2017. Her territory will include prospective students from Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from Marquette University in Wisconsin in 2016. She enjoys reading and movies. “Saint Mike’s is truly a special place. The students, staff, and faculty are all so welcoming and kind. I know how it feels to move somewhere completely new and know no one, and St. Mike’s has welcomed me with open arms. The passion for this community is tangible on campus, and the laughter and stories are endless!” Danielle said.

Hannah Piette is an intern in Athletic Communications (started August 21).

Patrick McCann has joined the Department of Public Safety as a part-time public safety officer (start date August 14, 2017)

Mary Wright is a Learning Specialist in Academic Affairs (started August 2017).

Olivia Mueller is a Resident Director in Student Affairs (started August 2017).

Kunga Dolma started work as a days and weekend custodian in the Custodial Services Department (started September 2017)

Robert Phipps is a daytime custodian in the Custodial Services Department (started August 2017).

Kyle Whitford started July 2017 in the Technical Trades Department/HVAC Shop.

Jeffrey Fontaine started August 2017 as an investigator for Public Safety.

Parker McKinney joined the Athletics staff as trainer intern (started August 2017).

Kayla Ciampa joined Athletics as a trainer (started August 2017)

James Bender joined Athletics as Assistant Alpine Ski Coach (start date October 1, 2017)

Morgan Shore joined Bergeron Wellness Center/Health Services (August 2017) as a receptionist.

Caitlin Huseman started work in August 2017 as the Managing Director of University Abroad and International Education Consultancy (IEC) Study Abroad Programs.

Norka Chamorro starts work September 11, 2017, as Payroll and Benefits Assistant in Human Resources.

New adjunct lecturers and departments this semester:

Matthew Sadowsky (Graduate Psychology); John Nagle (Fine Arts/Theater); Catherine Holly (Sociology and Anthropology); Amy Curtis (Graduate Psychology); Rebecca Haslam (Education); Mary McKee (Graduate Education); Nicole Dagesse (Fine Arts/Theater); Alexandra Altman (Graduate Psychology; Rachel Garnett (Graduate Psychology); Alla Fil (Modern Languages & Literature); Abigail Lanfear (Graduate Education); Lucy Dong (Modern Languages & Literature);


Though not comprehensive, here are lists of some key faculty changes for Fall 2017:

Full-time Faculty not returning for Fall 2017: Laura Benton Dapkiewicz, Biology; Patricia Delaney (2-year leave), Sociology and Anthropology; Farrah Fatemi (leave), Environmental Studies and Science; Tania Hayes, Education; Sajida Jalalzai (leave), Religious Studies; David Mindich (leave), Media Studies, Journalism, Digital Arts; Phil Yates, Mathematics. *“Leave” indicates a contractual option of returning to Saint Michael’s, though not necessarily an intention/likelihood of that on the part of the absent faculty member.

Retiring Faculty (Emeritus): Jeffrey Adams, Psychology; William Grover, Political Science; Catherine Hurst, Fine Arts; Diane Lander; Business Administration and Accounting; David Landers, Psychology; Adrian Languasco, Modern Languages and Literature; Edward Mahoney, Religious Studies; Denise Martin, Biology. The community this summer also mourned the loss of Joseph Kroger, Religious Studies, who had just retired to emeritus status before his death.

Other New Emeritus Faculty who had retired previously include Arthur Hessler, Biology; Robert Fox, Applied Linguistics; Ronald Provost, Chemistry.


Fall 2017: Jerald Swope, Media Studies, Journalism, Digital Arts; Spring 2018: Brian Collier, Fine Arts/Art; All Year 2017-2018: Kathryn Dungy, History.

Promotions: Nathaniel Lew to Professor of Fine Arts/Music; John O’Meara to Professor of Physics.

Faculty awarded Tenure Fall 2017: Christina Chant, Chemistry; Laurence Clerfeuille, Modern Languages and Literature.

The Communications Office will share news of new faculty in our weekly newsletter Saint Michael’s College This Week or on the website news feed as others join the community, or as more information becomes available about those already here.

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