Faculty/Staff Career News February 2021

February 16, 2021
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

logoTo read complete versions of these abbreviated news items, where you see a faculty name as a live link, click to reach the faculty member’s personal page. Then visit that page’s “Recent News” tab, where this current item in fuller detail beyond the first few lines shown here will be at the top. For employees without a profile page, the full text of each news item is included here.

Kristyn Achilich, Environmental Science/Studies & The Farm (with both instructor and staff roles), was a winner of one of this year’s Staff Awards for her notable contributions to the College; the announcement came during a virtual Staff Assembly in September to celebrate community achievements among Saint Michael’s employees.

Meg Andrews-Mullett started work September 21 as office coordinator for the Saint Michael’s College Office of the Registrar. Most recently she worked for Music Contact International, a niche group travel organization in Burlington. Before that she lived in Boston and worked at Northeastern University and prior to that at Hult International Business School.

Alaba Apesin of the Saint Michael’s business administration and accounting faculty on November 8, 2020, presented her paper “Predictors of First-Year Students Leadership Development in Historically Black Institutions” at the International Leadership Association (ILA) 22nd Annual Global Conference, an online virtual event that ran from November 5-9, 2020.

George Ashline of the Saint Michael’s mathematics faculty on October 25 gave a joint presentation entitled “Expanding Horizons” at the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM) virtual fall conference. He also served this year as a faculty consultant for the online 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Readings, held June 13-19, with the preparatory Pre-Reading from June 1-10.

Sue Aubin of the Admission office was a winner of one of this year’s Staff Awards for her notable contributions to the College; the announcement came during a virtual Staff Assembly in September to celebrate community achievements among Saint Michael’s employees.

Jeffrey Ayres, political science professor and the former dean, participated on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s National Screening Canada Committee, Institute for International Education, November 2020; he also has recent publications in academic journals with a co-author, and has an honorary appointment with Carleton in Canada. He oversaw a zoom exchange between American and Canadian students fall semester.

Valerie Bang-Jensen of the education faculty and Mark Lubkowitz of biology were featured speakers at the virtual conference STEM20. The National Science Teaching Association had to cancel its spring conference where Valerie and Mark, were to be the live featured “elementary strand” speakers, so on July 27-28, they spoke at the NSTA’s re-envisioned virtual conference on “The Crosscutting Concepts: Science, Children’s Literature, and Beyond.”

Christine Bauer-Ramazani, instructor, MATESOL, as co-founder of the Electronic Village Online (EVO) in 2000, celebrated the 20th anniversary sessions of EVO. She also was invited by New York State’s TESOL Technology Enhanced Language Learning Special Interest Group as keynote speaker at the April 17 Virtual Conference; she contribute a chapter to books on technology in teacher education and professional development and an article to a volume on Online Teacher Education/Professional Development.

Margaret Bass was appointed at summer’s start as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. Margaret is familiar to the community, most recently as interim director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services, and worked earlier in Academic Support Services. Among her early substantial initiatives was organizing a well-received and well-attended online racial equity “Challenge” activity.

Krista Billingsley, director of criminology and assistant professor of anthropology and criminology, joined the faculty for the fall 2020 semester. She learned in October that she has received a Wenner-Gren Foundation Engaged Anthropology Grant to conduct research virtually with families of the disappeared in Nepal on a digital media project titled “Memorialization and Victim-Led Truth-Telling after Nepal’s Armed Conflict.”  The research will be conducted virtually January 2021-April 2021.

Tim Birmingham ’02, career education coach with the College’s Career Education & Alumni Engagement Center, this past summer, completed a course titled “Facilitating Career Development,” sponsored by the National Career Development Association (NCDA). He received the Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) designation through the NCDA. On October 27, Tim facilitated a Zoom presentation with the men’s lacrosse team (about 30 students) that covered career education resources, career readiness, and networking.

Gregg Blasdel is a professor emeritus of fine arts at Saint Michael’s College who lives and works in Burlington. According to the website “Spaces,” which covers news about “saving and preserving arts and cultural environments,” Gregg recently made a “huge contribution” to the Spaces archives, notably his “photography collection and archive resulting from his longstanding commitment to the study of art environments.”

Michael Bosia of the political science faculty was presented one of three major annual faculty awards, the Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award Winner, during the annual Academic Convocation, which was a virtual online event this year because of the pandemic.

Sam Boyer joined the College Finance Office recently as Senior Financial & Budget Analyst, starting work on May 18. Prior to coming to Saint Michael’s, Sam worked at Vermont Gas, Nokian Tires, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Sugarbush Resort and Copper Mountain Resort

Alain Brizard of the Saint Michael’s physics faculty shares that in December 2020, his paper titled “Hamiltonian formulations for perturbed dissipationless plasma equations,” written in collaboration with Cristel Chandre (University Aix-Marseille), was published in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

Kathy Butts, counseling director in Bergeron Wellness Center, was a winner of one of this year’s Staff Awards for her notable contributions to the College; the announcement came during a virtual Staff Assembly in September to celebrate community achievements among Saint Michael’s employees.

Sarah M. Childs, EdD, in July started work for the College as assistant dean of students/director of the Center for Multicultural Student Affairs and Services.

Brian Collier, associate professor of art & design, did a live interview on June 12, 2020 about his “unlawning” project for the Center for Research on Vermont, which was recorded and viewable online. His work in the past year included in an online exhibition, “ExtraNatural – Outside the Operation of Natural Laws” curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judy Hoos Fox, with content available online through August 31, 2020 on the website Virtual Views. Brian also was Featured Artist at ecoartspace.

Paul Constantino ’92 of the St. Mike’s biology faculty worked with a number of colleagues to publish four papers over the past year, all revolving around the question of how teeth adapt to diet. Two are written with Spanish colleagues and two with graduate students from Dartmouth and Rutgers.

Tari Cote started work October 1, 2020 as the new administrative assistant for several academic departments at Saint Michael’s. Previously Tari was the office manager at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue for 10 years, and before that was a renewal specialist at Choice Care Card (one year). Earlier still, she was a digital prepress technician at Lane Press for 19 years.

Joseph Covais, a Saint Michael’s adjunct psychology instructor and a 2003 alumnus of the graduate program in clinical psychology, has been signed with New Link, an imprint of Mystic publishing. His trilogy of novels: Psychotherapy With Ghosts. Book I: Quiet Room is scheduled for release on May 1, with Book II: Female Academy and Book III: Conventional Afterlife, to follow at six-month intervals. The novels, while classified as paranormal romances, examine the deeper questions of adult relationships, psychotherapy, and man’s connection to God.

Ben Davidson is the new Henry G. Fairbanks Visiting Humanities Scholar-in-Residence, having started work at Saint Michael’s in July 2020. He received his doctorate at New York University in 2018, and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Huntington Library and the Smithsonian Institution.

Anjanette DeCarlo of the Saint Michael’s anthropology/sociology adjunct faculty is one of the world’s leading authorities on frankincense, well-known from the story of the Three Magi visiting the baby Jesus after His birth as one of the gifts they bore (and also used to this day widely in Catholic liturgies around the world). However, it is becoming ever scarcer for a variety of reasons, and before Christmas, Catholic News Service ran a story about that, extensively quoting Anjanette.

Greg Delanty of the English faculty, an internationally acclaimed Irish poet, has a long list of publications and publicity about his work to share on the Recent News of his faculty profile page. Greg also in December did an interview for local-access cable TV Channel 17 in Burlington about his book No More Time. Greg also on October 8 gave a Zoom reading with a question and answer period, the day after the publication date for his new book No More Time.

Steven Doyon of the business administration and accounting faculty was presented one of three major annual faculty awards, the Joanne Rathgeb Teaching Award Winner, during the annual Academic Convocation, which was a virtual online event this year because of the pandemic.

Meggan Roberge Dulude ’07 M’10, associate athletic director, was the subject of a flattering and extensive feature on December 23 in the St. Albans Messenger, a northwestern Vermont daily newspaper and website, written by reporter Ruthie LaRoche.

Kathryn Dungy of the history faculty in January made an online academic presentation at the Louisiana Historical Association Virtual Conference about the mob killing of an African-American man in 1869. She also offered introductory remarks for the Norbert A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture for Fall 2020; was quoted in a Seven Days story about women’s suffrage; wrote an essay on race/social issues published online by VTDigger; and signed an open letter to NEH leaders calling for K-12 teachers to address slavery’s legacies more clearly and confidently.

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, was featured in the Translator Relay at Words Without Borders in June. The Winter Garden Photograph, her translation of poems by Cuban Reina María Rodríguez that won the PEN Award for Literary Translation in February, was also named a Finalist for the National Translation Prize in the fall. She had many other honors and appearances, listed in Recent News of her faculty profile.

Dawn Ellinwood, dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Saint Michael’s, in August was quoted extensively in a story by writer Katie Bahr for the national U.S. Catholic magazine about adjustments Catholic colleges are having to make because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dawn told the author that one of the biggest challenges with reopening has been responding to a health crisis that changes by the day.

Doug Facey, biology professor emeritus, was a Zoom presenter for the North Branch Nature Center on October 28 for a virtual program titled “Fishes of Vermont: Confessions of an Ichthyologist with Doug Facey – Naturalist Journeys Online Presentation Series.”

Bret Findley of the chemistry faculty, Alain Brizard of the physics faculty and George Ashline of the mathematics faculty all managed to supervise substantial student research projects over the summer despite the pandemic by using virtual tools when necessary. Bret supervised one project on introducing students to “computational chemistry”; Bret and George oversaw a student project developing exercises for students that more clearly link calculus and chemistry; Alain supervised a project exploring oscillating chemical reactions.

Carla Francis began work as development and gift planning officer for the Saint Michael’s College Office of Institutional Advancement in April of 2020, though she had worked in other IA capacities since October 2019. Before coming to Saint Michael’s, Carla worked in Development at a statewide land trust (Oconee River Land Trust) in Athens, Georgia. Prior to that, she worked for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension as an educator at a residential environmental education center (Rock Eagle 4-H Center).

Traci Griffith of the media studies, journalism and digital arts faculty co-hosted a conversation on Vermont Public Radio June 18 concerning issues of race, injustice and policing for Vermont. Traci during her leave of absence from campus teaching duties has among her many projects, been co-hosting a podcast for regional Public Radio, called NEXT, about important current issues in the region. Many other appearances, honors and achievements from this period are listed in Recent News of her faculty profile page.

Jim Hefferon of the mathematics faculty has received the Daniel Solow Author’s Award for 2020 from the Mathematical Association of America. It recognizes authors of teaching materials for their impact on undergraduate education in mathematics. The citation for the award describes Jim’s text Linear Algebra, which has been available since 1996 online and points to the quality of the presentation of information and celebrates that it is free to access.

David S. Heroux of the Saint Michael’s College chemistry faculty recently was published in Celebrating Chemistry, a publication of the American Chemical Society’s Office of Science Outreach in conjunction with the Committee on Community Activities (CCA). He wrote the introductory article for the publication’s theme “Sticking with Chemistry.” David also developed and co-authored an activity designed for children to test tape stickiness.

Valerie Hird, instructor in the Fine Arts/Art Department, contributed to an upcoming show at the Nohra Haime Gallery in New York City titled “What did Happen to Alice?” from March 3 through April 3, 2021. She made a virtual artist talk on February 3 through the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston presenting her work with the international collaborative project, GENESIS TREE NY.

John Hughes, emeritus professor of political science, was a guest in June on the former WDEV radio Vermont news talk program, The Dave Gram Show. Said John about the segment, “I did an interview with Dave Gram, WDEV, about the first amendment implications of the clearing of Lafayette Park for Trump’s photo-op.” Earlier in the semester John was on the same show to discuss Trump’s threat to not respect the results of an election should he lose.

John Kenney, a recently retired Saint Michael’s emeritus religious studies professor with an international reputation for his scholarship about Saint Augustine and how the philosophy of Platonism shaped Christianity, is co-editor of a new book titled Christian Platonism: A History — released by prestigious Cambridge University Press in January.

Katie Kirby, professor of philosophy, in June was a guest for a segment on the former WDEV news talk show, The Dave Gram Show. From the Waterbury radio station’s website teaser about that show: “Terence Cuneo of the University of Vermont and Katherine Kirby of St. Michael’s answer this question: Has postmodernism’s skepticism about facts harmed American politics?” Also, this past summer, Katie organized and hosted The North American Levinas Society (NALS) 2020 conference, which was well-attended and got strong feedback.

Ari Kirshenbaum of the psychology and neuroscience faculty was featured in the website WalletHub’s recent piece about “The Real Cost of Smoking.” In the interview with the site’s financial writer Adam McCann, Ari puts extensive charts of data in context by answering key questions readers might have, in a Q&A format: questions such as, “What are the most effective strategies for individuals trying to quit smoking?” “What approaches typically fail?” and “Should e-cigarettes be regulated and taxed as cigarettes or as medical devices?”

Richard Kujawa, professor of geography/ chair of environmental studies/science, in partnership with Clare Ginger from the Rubenstein School at the University of Vermont, was informed that their poster “Community Resilience, Climate Change, and Governance in Vermont: An examination of hazard mitigation, emergency response and water quality policy and practices,” has been accepted for the International Symposium for Society & Resource Management (ISSRM) 2020. More Kujawa headlines on his faculty profile under Recent News.

Adrie Kusserow of the anthropology/sociology faculty wrote an article titled “Opening Up Fieldwork with Ethnographic Poetry,” which recently was published in Anthropoligica: Journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society.

Michael Larsen, professor & chair of mathematics & statistics, is a co-editor of the book Administrative Records for Survey Methodology (Wiley), scheduled to appear in 2021. He was guest co-editor of a special issue on data integration (Statistics in Transition, journal of the Polish Statistical Society) in August 2020. Mike has many other professional achievements in recent months for his role leading studies, editing professional journals and contributing to important studies for public policy; see Recent News of his faculty profile page.

Robert Letovsky of the business administration/accounting faculty on February was to lead a book discussion for a new online group initiative by the Institutional Advancement office, called SMC Reads, on the U.S. as arsenal of democracy; he joined the board of the Ethan Allen Institute, which bills itself as “Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization.” He had case studies published in professional journals and appeared on local TV reports with insights on breaking business news in recent months.

Buff Lindau, the retired longtime public relations/marketing/communications chief for Saint Michael’s, is also a poet, with several of her works published in various journals through the years. Now in another milestone, Buff also recently saw publication of a new book collection of her poems by Onion River Press titled The House That Holds.

Mark Lubkowitz of the biology faculty in November made another of his engaging YouTube videos to explain various scientific questions in the news of our world, as he has done in the past. In the video Mark explains the science behind Pfizer’s and Moderna’s RNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. Earlier, in the summer, Mark, on a similar YouTube video, addressed the topic of COVID-19.

Mary Masson, Bergeron Wellness Center director, was a winner of one of this year’s Staff Awards for her notable contributions to the College; the announcement came during a virtual Staff Assembly in September to celebrate community achievements among Saint Michael’s employees.

Bhuttu Mathews of the Saint Michael’s Counseling Center staff was a guest this fall on the radio when Traci Griffith of the College’s Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts faculty co-hosted a special New Hampshire Public Radio series titled “Racism in New England.” Bhuttu was on the series’ third episode along with a panel of five other mental health professionals from the region who were helping Traci and her co-host, Jennifer Rocks of Maine Public Radio, explore racism’s impact on mental health.

Declan McCabe of the biology faculty has continued to write his periodic nature columns titled “The Outside Story” for Northern Woodlands Magazine and for several Vermont newspapers. Declan’s forthcoming book, Turning Stones: Life in Freshwater includes an essay that also appeared as an Outside Story column. Declan started a new column for the magazine, gave other popular nature talks and had a mention on websites for his work; more headlines under Recent News of his faculty profile.

Michael McMahon, painter in Building Trades at the College, was a winner of one of this year’s Staff Awards for his notable contributions to the College; the announcement came during a virtual Staff Assembly in September to celebrate community achievements among Saint Michael’s employees.

Sullivan Miele ’20 began work August 3 as an admission counselor for the College. His previous employers have included The Boot Pro in Ludlow, VT.

Ronald Miller, professor of psychology at Saint Michael’s and director of the master’s program in clinical psychology, in early August, 2020, presented a paper entitled:  ‘Eupractice:’ as an Antidote to Best Practices” for a symposium sponsored by Division 1 (General Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), a paper which was co-listed in the program by 10 other divisions of the organization.  Also, the documentary film on mental illness in Quebec for which Ron was interviewed last year is set for delayed release because of COVID-19.

Jerome Monachino, associate director of Edmundite Campus Ministry liturgical music at Saint Michael’s, wrote an essay that was selected for publication in the recent online and print edition of the national magazine U.S. Catholic that went live this past week, as part of a feature called “In The Pews.” Jerome’s reflection responded to the magazine’s inquiry: “What’s your favorite type of church music? What do you think of the state of liturgical music today?”

Tara Natarajan, dean of the faculty at Saint Michael’s College, organized and oversaw two well-received and productive days of professional development with faculty on July 9 and 10 to prepare for the coming reopening amid the challenges of a COVID-19 pandemic.

Barbara O’Donovan, the College’s engineering degree program leader and adviser, met with the technical coordinator of the College’s MakerSpace, Eric Roy before the fall semester to collaborate on a project for her EG 220 Statics class, sending materials through the mail to students for a bridge-building activity.

Susan Ouellette of the history faculty was part of the panel on Women’s Suffrage with her St. Mike’s history colleague Katherine Dungy in June. Susan also gave two talks in November, one November 4 on women’s education for the First Wednesday lectures sponsored through Vermont Humanities, and the second on November 5 on her book for a museum group in Delaware. And, she will be giving the First Annual Birthday Memorial Lecture for the students and alumni of the Emma Willard School in Troy on February 23.

Jacob Pelletier, assistant director of alumni engagement, and Saint Michael’s English Professor Lorrie Smith (recently emeritus), on November 19 led an online discussion of Angie Thomas’ book The Hate U Give for the book group SMC Reads —  a relatively new initiative that includes participants from both the campus community and alumni/parents.

Fran Pepperman Taylor, music adjunct and conductor of the College’s String Orchestra, coordinated production of a virtual performance by the student ensemble playing a classical work. The video, viewable on YouTube, was produced by Virtual Ensemble Services. The piece is “Concerto alla Rustica in G Major, RV 151” by Antonio Vivaldi, performed by the Saint Michael’s College String Orchestra.

Karen Popovich of the Saint Michael’s business faculty recently had two case studies published in professional journals in recent months Says Karen, “I’m especially excited about our Maple Syrup case which was a collaboration with Kristin Juel of the St. Mike’s French faculty, who owns and operates a sugar farm in Underhill, VT.”  See detailed citations under Recent News of her faculty profile page.

Jennifer Purcell of the history faculty this summer received a glowing review from Gilli Bush-Bailey, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London, UK, for a new Purcell book titled Mother of the BBC: Mabel Constanduros and the Development of Popular Entertainment on the BBC, 1925-57.

Army Reserves Sgt. Major Russell Sabens, who in civilian life is fleet administrator at Saint Michael’s, is retiring from his distinguished service with the Vermont National Guard and Army Reserves after 41 years of duty – he signed on at age 17 — though the 58-year old still plans to continue working for the College.

Daniel Simmons of the Saint Michael’s political science faculty gave two interviews in early fall semester to greater Burlington local television news reporters to discuss what to expect from the first presidential debate. One was with reporter Jolie Sherman from Local 22/44, the ABC and Fox affiliate; the other was with reporter Liz Strzepa from NBC5for a September 29 report.

Patricia Siplon of the political science faculty was quoted in an early December 2020 article by reporter Xander Landen about leadership changes in Vermont’s Progressive Party, appearing on the Vermont news website VTDigger. Since the start of the semester, Trish has been coordinator and chief faculty leader of SMC CAN!, a community initiative and network of students, faculty and staff dedicated to confronting pandemic challenges at the College.

Jenny Stearns of the Saint Michael’s education faculty made a presentation to a Vermont state Task Force, the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, on January 28. The director of the Task Force has now featured Jenny’s presentation in this VTAEYC publication, which was distributed across the state on February 5.

Heidi St. Peter has accepted a new role at Saint Michael’s as assistant dean for advising and student development and began work in that role this past summer. She has been an essential part of Saint Michael’s College for the last 15 years, as director of MOVE, coordinator of peer tutoring, and most recently director of academic support, Heidi has worked closely with students, staff, and faculty across the college to design and coordinate campus-wide programs in community engaged learning, new student orientation, and academic enrichment and support.

Laura Stroup and Trevien Stanger of the Saint Michael’s Environmental Studies/Science programs learned in late January that they will be awarded money for the College’s Natural Area for supplies and conducting student projects. Pat Phillips, the Green Mountain Audubon Board member they have been working with (on biology Professor Declan McCabe’s recommendation) gave the good news.

Karen Talentino, professor of biology/environmental science and former VPAA at the College, this past summer completed a two-week training session to become certified as a Climate Reality Leader, as part of the Climate Reality Project (CRP). CRP was founded and chaired by Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and is dedicated to catalyzing a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. She has made over 10 presentations to various groups including for a College speaker series.

William Tortolano, the 90-year-old Saint Michael’s emeritus music professor and organist and the longtime director of the Saint Michael’s Chorale and founder of the College’s Fine Arts Department, was featured in the fall issue of GIA Quarterly, a liturgical music journal, which published a nice story written in the first-person by Bill, in which he shared amusing and interesting remembrances of his many years as a liturgical musician.

Peter Vantine, director of the First-Year Seminar Program and chair and associate professor of classical and modern languages and literature: French, was presented one of three major annual faculty awards, the Norbert A. Kuntz Service Award, during the annual Academic Convocation, which was a virtual online event this year because of the pandemic.

Shelley Vermilya, instructor in the College’s Gender Studies program, for the recent MLK Jr. Holiday January, spoke her insights about the occasion for a central Vermont high school. She did this online presentation in her capacity as “Equity Scholar in Residence” for U-32 High School outside Montpelier.

Patrick Walsh of the economics faculty has frequently in the past taken to YouTube to help explain, in relatable terms for the general public, many of the economic headlines of the nation and the world, including for a time under the title of  “The Econ Guy.” A recent post he did this summer had the following introduction on YouTube: “Patrick Walsh, Professor of Economics, tackles the many questions surrounding the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about what to expect … as the pandemic affects the United States.”

Xinting Zhen of the College’s business faculty co-authored with Desheng Yin, “Employment Protection and Banking Power: Evidence from Adoption of Wrongful Discharge Laws,” in the journal Sustainability. 2021; Volume 13 (No.4):1635. This article belongs to the Special Issue “Harnessing Sustainability to Corporate Finance and Financial Institutions).” Xinting also advises a student team preparing for the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Challenge, an annual global competition to be held in February.

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