Faculty/staff career news July 2022

July 21, 2022
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

To read complete versions of these abbreviated news items, where you see a faculty or staff name as a live link, click to reach the faculty/staff 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 or near the top. For employees without a profile page, the full text of each news item is included here.

Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, the College’s Inaugural Edmundite Fellow, was primary facilitator of a campus visit by one of the original “Freedom Riders,” David Dennis Sr., who joined his son for a well-attended March 3 program in McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall for this year’s annual Sutherland Lecture. The title of the presentation was “A Conversation with David Dennis Jr & David Dennis Sr.” and was based upon their forthcoming book, The Movement Made Us.  

George Ashline, professor of mathematics and statistics, again served this year as a faculty consultant for the hybrid 2022 Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Readings, held June 11-17, with the preparatory Pre-Reading from June 1 – June10.  Representing various universities, colleges, and high schools from around the world, over 1200 faculty consultants graded about 400,000 exams during the week-long reading in Kansas City and at remote reader locations.   

Jeffrey Ayres, political science/international studies faculty expert on U.S.-Canada relations, is an influential voice in ongoing conversations among American and Canadian scholars, business leaders and government officials concerning key lessons from the extended closure of the U.S. Canada border last year during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been active this year in bringing his expertise to media academic discussions like the “Border Barometer” project 

Valerie Bang-Jensen presented “Literacy Moves Outdoors: Story Walks, Word Gardens, and Interpretive Signage.” National Children and Youth Garden Symposium, American Horticultural Society. Virtual Conference. July 7-9, 2021. More recently Valerie was appointed to the Vermont Department of Library’s Red Clover selection committee, summer 2022. And, she has presented with colleague Mark Lubkowitz on ‘crosscutting concepts” and “literacy in the garden.” 

Katie Barry ’19 began work on May 24 as a student success advisor in the College’s new Office of Purposeful Learning. Previously, she worked as the senior operations and enrollment coordinator at Champlain College. Katie also had experience in Residential Life and Graduate Admissions at Boston College, as well as Orientation at Wellesley College.  

Anthony Bassignani, associate director for circulation services/research and instruction librarian of the Durick Library staff, was one of three staff members who helped lead student service trips to various locations over the winter break through MOVE, the volunteer service arm of Edmundite Campus ministry. Anthony was with a group that traveled to Hartford, CT, and spent the week volunteering at multiple organizations focused on addressing the problem of homelessness and food insecurity within the city of Hartford. 

Tim Birmingham ’02, career education coach in the Henry “Bud” Boucher, Jr. ‘69 Career Education Center at Saint Michael’s, is pursuing his certification as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through CoachVille and the International Coaching Federation (ICF). 

Michael Bosia of the political science faculty has a new scholarly article under review at the International Political Sociology, from Oxford University Press and one of the top ranked journals in international relations. The article is called, “The Dislocation of LGBT Politics: Pride, Globalization, and Geo-Temporality in Uganda and Serbia.” Also, Mike attended the International Studies Association annual meeting this spring in Nashville TN, and he learned that his research was the subject of a review article on state homophobia in a Turkish newspaper.  

Alain Brizard (physics) had some good news this spring 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 on social media. His direct association with fusion initiatives is primarily focused with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) fusion reactor in France. Alain also this spring gave a remote Colloquium at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. 

Fr. Michael Carter, S.S.E. ’12 of the religious studies faculty and resident Edmundite community in recent months wrote arts review for the national publication U.S. Catholic. His March offering was his third review for U.S. Catholic after previous reviews, one of a film and one of a musical artist’s new album. Film is an area of particular interest to the young Edmundite and one review looks at The Fallout; In the May edition of U.S. Catholic he reviewed a new album by a popular young musical artist named Mitski. 

Kelly Champlain has been on the job since January 16, 2022 as a resident director/area coordinator for the Saint Michael’s Office of Student Life. Most recently she worked at Heartworks Williston as a lead teacher in the 3-4 year old classroom 

Nick Clary, emeritus professor of English and the College’s longtime Shakespearian scholar, is staying active in his field.  remains most active in his field as coordinating editor of the Hamlet Works website, where he has been on the editing team since 1995; Nick also is on the same editing team that is working on The New Variorum Shakespeare edition of Hamlet. This summer he received a request from an Italian professor to use material from Hamlet Works in her new book, which he approved. 

Brian Collier, associate professor of art & design and curator/director of the McCarthy Art Gallery, will be exhibiting new sculptures for The Current: A Center for Contemporary Art in Stowe, VT in August ‘22. Brian installed a Lawn to Pollinator Habitat demo site at Geprags Community Park in Hinesburg, VT, in collaboration with his Vermont Master Naturalist colleagues. At Shelburne Museum, he is exhibiting video work done with his sons; he also is co-curating a Fall ‘22 exhibition of new work by Michelle Brody in the McCarthy Gallery. 

John Paul Devlin, professor of fine arts, theatre worked with Chuck Tobin, Saint Michael’s Playhouse Producing Artistic Director, to hire a company of 50 theatre artists who are bringing back professional theatre to the McCarthy Arts Center for the first time since 2019. Three shows are being presented this summer: John served as the Production Manager and Lead Covid Compliance officer for the company for the season and designed the lighting for the last show, DESPERATE MEASURES. 

Chris Donovan, veteran head coach for Saint Michael’s women’s ice hockey, attended a “Hockey of Tomorrow” seminar in Montreal on Wednesday, July 6. The seminar focused on ways that technology likely will be used in the game of hockey in the near future.  

Steven Doyon ’88 has earned the 2022 Dr. Dave Landers Faculty Mentor Award thanks to his support and dedication to the College’s student-athletes, the Saint Michael’s College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) announced this past spring. Steve serves as faculty adviser to the Saint Michael’s chapter of Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society for business, management and administration. Last school year, he earned the College’s Joanne Rathgeb Teaching Award. 

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, spoke on the panel “Translation Rights and Permissions” for the 45th conference of the American Literary Translators’ Association in June 2022. She presented new poetry and translations for “Us & Them,” a series at Molasses Books, Brooklyn, in May. She reviewed “Ova completa,” by Susana Thenón, for The Rumpus. Her literary translations appeared in Astra (poems by Marcelo Morales) and Asymptote’s Translation Tuesdays (a piece by Soleida Ríos). 

Katy Farber was to start work August 1 as a Saint Michael’s College assistant professor of STEM Education. Before being hired by the College, Katy worked at Stowe Elementary School, the University of Vermont’s Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education and Rumney School in Middlesex — the Central Vermont town where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Katy loves being outside with family and friends, listening to music, running, hiking and jumping into Vermont ponds and lakes. 

Ashley (Whittemore) Freccia ’12 started working at the College at he end of February. Serving remotely in Institutional Advancement as a Major Gifts & Alumni Engagement Officer for the New York region. Prior to coming to Saint Michael’s, she worked in Institutional Advancement at Brandeis University and Colby College. She lives in Stamford, CT with her husband and their one-year-old twin daughters. 

Gretchen Galbraith started work on July 11 as Dean of Faculty at Saint Michael’s. Gretchen comes to Saint Michael’s 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. There she chaired the History Department and was Interim Director of the Honors College.  

Erin Grainger, adjunct for the fine arts/music faculty, performed in a workshop premiere presentation of a developing music theatre piece, Spoon River, composed by Randal Pierce. Erin also was selected as a Conducting Fellow for the University of Toronto’s Choral Conducting Symposium, held July 2022. 

David Heroux of the Saint Michael’s chemistry faculty was recently appointed to the executive committee of the American Chemical Society’s Committee for Community Activities. A member of the committee for three years, he will now serve as the National Chemistry Week Chair of the Program Development and Promotion Subcommittee.  

Kristen Hindes, associate director for research & instruction/interlibrary loan of the Durick Library staff at Saint Michel’s College, recently was co-author with Beth Dietrich (formerly at Saint Michael’s and currently at Champlain College) of an article that was published by the online Journal of Library Outreach & Engagement, which is produced by the prestigious University of Illinois School of Library Science. The title of the article is “Notes from the Pandemic Field: Challenge or Opportunity?” exploring academic library collaborations. 

Jon Hyde and Kimberly Sultze, professors of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts, recently won the 2022 International Bicycle Photography Competition’s open category with their photo essay, “Ghost Riders.” The images were created using long exposures and flash photography of mountain biking at night in the mountains and deserts of the American West.  The photographs were featured in BIKE Magazine (London).  Over the past few months, Jon and Kimberly’s wildlife, travel, and adventure photography has also been exhibited in galleries. 

Angela Irvine, the College’s director of foundation relations and sponsored programs, put her job skills to work in community service this summer when she secured $160,000 in grants to support the development of inner-city mountain bike programs in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Denver and Oakland. Little Bellas is a mountain bike mentoring program for girls ages 7-16 and includes a junior mentoring and adventure program for girls 16-18. The program has served over 6,000 girls, included nearly 800 female mentors. 

Daniel Johnson, an adjunct professor in the English Department, will have several poems published in literary journals this summer such as the Irish publications the Waxed Lemon and the Poetry Bus, as well as the American journals the Cumberland Review and Soup Can Magazine. His poem “Sestina For a Lost Cow” was selected as a prize winner in the poetry contest run by Southword, an internationally recognized journal out of Cork, Ireland. He’s also authored a scholarly article on the poetry of Saint Michael’s College’s own Greg Delanty. 

John Keating ’17, Rescue Chief for Saint Michael’s Fire & Rescue, was a guest April 21 on host Ric Cengeri’s Vermont Viewpoint morning call-in show on Waterbury radio station WDEV in Central Vermont, telling about SMFR and its recent celebration of 50-plus years serving the campus and wider community 

Ari Kirshenbaum, professor of psychology at Saint Michael’s College, recently brought five students to the Eastern Psychological Association’s annual convention in New York City in early March. Two students were able to present their research, while three students — Kirshenbaum’s lab assistants for his nicotine study — came to observe speakers and poster session. 

Choeden Lama in June assumed her role as the new assistant director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMAS) at Saint Michael’s College. Choeden will assist in many facets of the Center including holistic student advising, event programming, training student-employees, advising student clubs and organizations, and supporting the Director of CMAS, Sarah Childs. She graduated in 2020 from the University of Vermont (UVM) where she received her B.S. in psychological sciences and was involved extensively in the Mosaic Center for Students of Color. 

Howie LeBlanco started work in May as the College’s first Director of Human Resources: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Howie most recently served as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he helped to establish the inaugural Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In this role, he served as a senior leader on the President’s Cabinet and an advisor to the President on decision-making and College strategies grounded in equity, inclusion, and belonging.  

Mark Lubkowitz and Valerie Bang-Jensen learned in July they and collaborators from Iowa State and University of Missouri have been awarded a four-year $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The team will investigate how leaf angle in corn can be genetically manipulated to increase photosynthesis and thereby crop yield. Mark and Valerie will develop outreach modules to disseminate plant science to primary and secondary school systems. Mark and Valerie also will design workshops about school gardens and literacy for K-12 teachers. 

Bhuttu Mathews, a Saint Michael’s rugby coach who until recently also had worked as a personal counselor in Bergeron Wellness Center, was one of three staff members who helped lead student service trips to various locations over the winter break through MOVE, the volunteer service arm of Edmundite Campus ministry. Bhuttu was with a group that traveled to Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, NY, on Long Island to immerse themselves in a week of service with the clients of Hope House Ministries’ numerous social service programs.  

Declan McCabe of the biology faculty was a featured speaker at Main Street Landing in Burlington in late April when he gave a talk on “Wildlife in Greater Burlington” He also presented “Turning Stones: Exploring Life in Fresh Water,” for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in St. Albans; was a June guest on host Ric Cengeri’s Vermont Viewpoint morning radio show (WDEV Waterbury), discussing aquatic macroinvertebrates, based on a column that was part of his regular series, The Outside Story. Alo, his hometown paper in Ireland profiled him. 

Shefali Misra of the political science faculty joined a Saint Michael’s community Zoom conversation about the crisis in Ukraine in February sponsored by the College’s new Center for Global Engagement, illustrating the important practical utility of such a Center to help people understand and process world issues affecting their lives. President Lorraine Sterritt joined scores of students, college leaders, faculty and staff tuning in by Zoom to hear the panel. 

Karen Popovich of the Saint Michael’s College business administration and accounting faculty is active with the American Councils for International Education. In April she presented a three-hour webinar for Romanian educators about challenges teachers have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began, sharing how Saint Michael’s rose to the challenge. One vital “lesson learned” during this first of a series of ACIE professional development webinars for volunteer participants amounted to a simple formula, Popovich said: “Educator Growth = teaching with love.”  

Shelby Priest recently joined the Saint Michael’s Institutional Advancement staff as development coordinator. She previously was in the Finance Department at Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington for nine years, and prior to that, she worked for several local Vermont companies where she gained experience in event planning, project management and marketing. 

Jennifer Purcell of the Saint Michael’s history faculty did a radio interview earlier this past winter about her book, Mother of the BBC, with Scottish DJ, John Cavanagh. Jen also has done another interview about the book for a podcast in honor of the BBC’s 100th anniversary this year. Also, the first book in the Mass Observation Critical Series that Jen edits also came out this past winter. Another book will be out next month, and one of her two publications for the series, an edited volume of a 1937 book entitled Mass-Observation, should come later in the year. 

Joel Ribout, director of facilities, was one of three staff members who helped lead student service trips to various locations across the U.S. over the winter break through MOVE, the volunteer service arm of Edmundite Campus Ministry. Joel was with a group that traveled to New Orleans and volunteered with New Orleans Mission, a faith-based organization dedicated to providing resources and spiritual support to those experiencing homelessness, poverty, addiction, hunger and oppression. 

Maria Rinaldi ’00 of the Saint Michael’s Admission Office staff and a longtime member of the Liturgical Choir in the campus chapel, in recent years founded a special singing group that was the subject of a nice feature piece on the Burlington-Plattsburgh area NBC affiliate, airing on newscasts two days in July when the group presented local concerts. Maria founded the group in late 2019 as her response to ongoing division she saw happening across the country.  

Janel Roberge this summer left her position with VT EPSCoR and joined the College Registrar’s Office as the Coordinator of Online & Nontraditional Programs, taking over for Alex Colletta following his departure from St. Mike’s. “I’m thrilled to be in this role and even more happy that I get to continue to be a part of a community that has felt like home since the moment I stepped on campus in 2008. And I get to keep adjuncting for the Biology Department — I officially started on May 18.” 

Sydney Rybicki ’18, M ’21 started work on March 14 as the College’s new assistant director for alumni & family engagement in the Institutional Advancement Office. Most recently she worked at Stowe Middle High School as a language teacher, and before that, she worked in the Saint Michael’s College Student Life Office while earning her Master of Arts in Teaching with licensure and endorsement in teaching PK-12 ELL. She completed her student teaching at Winooski High School in an ELL classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Silverman, emeritus professor from the Education Department, and Hideko Furukawa, former professor in Department of Modern Languages and Literature, led a highly successful two-week summer study trip to Japan in May 2022. Seven students from various majors interacted with students from Kokugakuin University in Tokyo; engaged in artisan workshops, visited temples and shrines; shared time with a Buddhist Monk; and enjoyed Japanese cuisine. Each student researched topics from fashion to colors to food. 

Daniel Simmons of the political science faculty joined a Saint Michael’s community Zoom conversation about the crisis in Ukraine in February sponsored by the College’s new Center for Global Engagement, illustrating the important practical utility of such a Center to help people understand and process world issues affecting their lives. President Lorraine Sterritt joined scores of students, college leaders, faculty and staff tuning in by Zoom to hear the panel experts. 

Patricia Siplon of the political science faculty joined a Saint Michael’s community Zoom conversation about the crisis in Ukraine in February sponsored by the College’s new Center for Global Engagement, illustrating the important practical utility of such a Center to help people understand and process world issues affecting their lives. President Lorraine Sterritt joined scores of students, college leaders, faculty and staff tuning in by Zoom to hear the panel experts. 

Doug  Slaybaugh, retired longtime history professor at the College, like many faculty retirees, uses his gifts and experience to serve the wider community. Doug shares: “With the encouragement of Susan Ouellette, my former colleague in the History Department at Saint Michael’s, I joined the board of the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum in January 2020. The past two years have been challenging with the COVID pandemic nearly shuttering the Homestead, and the ever-present demands of fundraising … Yet we persisted and are optimistic …”  

Anya Sonwaldt ’22, a recent Health Sciences graduate, is the newest hire in the College’s Information Technology Department where her job title is now system administrator, focusing on networking. States Anna: “I have spent the last four years working at the IT Helpdesk …and loved the atmosphere and large amount of knowledge I was learning. This is a career path that I never thought I’d be pursuing, but I have thoroughly enjoyed learning all the systems and how they work. This past spring, I was part-time and have since transitioned to full-time work.” 

Patrick Standen (philosophy faculty) has a book publication from publisher Onion River Press is Disability: The Genealogy of a Concept from Prehistory to Mid-20th Century. He learned this summer it is being reviewed by prestigious journals. Also, Patrick was elected to his Vermont high school’s Hall of Fame and was the guest of honor at this year’s alumni parade on June 19. “He’s working on his second book; and was second in his division at this year’s Vermont City Marathon. 

Trevien Stanger, Saint Michael’s College instructor of environmental studies and sciences, appears in a recent environmental film No Other Lake, about Lake Champlain; he talks about how societal despair can lead to the biggest moments of change. He and other Saint Michael’s College people are prominent in the film featured in an article recently by Seven Days, the Burlington-area weekly newspaper and website.  

Heidi St. Peter ‘96 this summer became the College’s become its first director of purposeful learning. Heidi spent her St. Mike’s undergraduate student days as an English major and ardent volunteer with strong mentors, and later returned to leadership roles for the MOVE program in Edmundite Campus Ministry before taking on more recent key roles in academic support and Academic Affairs. The new position emerged from recent work on the College’s new Strategic Plan that aims to identify thoughtful ways forward for the College. 

Brian Swisher, instructor and general biology lab coordinator for the Saint Michael’s Biology Department this past spring semester brought students in in his BI-260 Behavioral Ecology class visiting Burlington’s waterfront ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. They toured both behind-the-scenes and on the main exhibit floors with members of the Center’s Animal Care Department to learn about captive animal husbandry. 

Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo of the Saint Michael’s psychology/neuroscience faculty shares news of a recent publication that she co-authored with her psychology faculty colleague Anthony Richardson. Here is the citation for the work, to which the authors contributed equally according to a note that followed the citation: “Richardson, A. E., & † VanderKaay Tomasulo, M. M.  (2022): Stress-induced HPA activation in virtual navigation and spatial attention performance. BMC Neuroscience, 23(1).”  

John Trono of the computer science faculty had a publication in late 2021. Here’s the citation: “The NCAA CFP Committee Goes to Monte Carlo …”, Math Horizons, Volume 29, #2, November, 2021. 

Leandre Waldo brings a wealth of relevant experience in communications and higher education as she started work at Saint Michael’s College as chief of staff for President Lorraine Sterritt, as of February 21. In her years working at Champlain College, Vermont Technical College and Boston College she has taken on multifunctional roles including strategic project leadership, communications, issue resolution, crisis management, media relations, enrollment, and marketing. 

Catherine Welch ’10, a veteran member of the Saint Michael’s Student Life Office in roles of increasing responsibility (most recently Assistant Dean of Students/Coordinator of Title IX and Student Life Outreach), has accepted the position of Associate Dean of Student Success/Title IX Coordinator. Catherine will partner with the Director of Purposeful Learning, with an eye toward data analytics, assessment and continuous review of the Purposeful Learning program.  

Vernita Weller this summer moved from her position in the Saint Michael’s College Admission office to the newly created role of Success Advisor in the Office of Purposeful Learning. Originally from Boston, Vernita has lived in Vermont for many years. She holds a bachelor’s in American History, two master’s degrees in theology and religion, and is currently a doctoral candidate for Organizational Leadership in Spiritual Formation. 

Ben White, director of Saint Michael’s MATESOL Program, as part of his sabbatical has been carrying out a research project on language learning and teaching at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. On Friday, March 11, he offered a workshop for faculty and graduate students in the university’s Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Españolas. The session, entitled “Conceptualizing Determiners,” explored techniques for teaching grammar in a visual manner informed by research in cognitive linguistics. 

Joan Wry ’79 (English faculty) recently received a $500 award from the national Ralph Waldo Emerson Society. She had proposed an ‘Emerson-themed’ training camp for the men’s and women’s cross country teams (for which she is the faculty affiliate). The pre-season camp will be at Sleepy Hollow Training Center, owned by the family of St. Mike’s coach Molly Enman Peters. Joan also was a guest in March on radio station WDEV’s Vermont Viewpoint show, describing the “Snow Seminar” that she has taught at Saint Michael’s for several years. 

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