I think our graduating seniors who are doing capstone theses have handed in most of them. I love looking through them. And it turns out that others do to. Beginning in 2010, ENVS started posting theses online here. Starting this year, we intend to post all (or at least most) theses online for the world to see. For me, this is really important and impactful because we're sharing the knowledge our students generate. Amazingly, ENVS theses have been downloaded more than 24,000 times, and almost 5,500 times just in the past year. Some of them have even been cited in peer-reviewed publications by scholars around the world. The academic community is noticing and using the knowledge our students generate.
Recently, Laurie Kutner shared a story about how one of our online theses fortuitously connected two people. Here's the story, in a nutshell (and I'm paraphrasing some of Laurie's email to me about it):
Are you familiar with Katharine Monstream's art? She's quite a well-known local artist who does watercolor VT landscape themed paintings -- you've certainly seen her line of greeting cards around if nothing else and may have even sent one.
So - Katharine is a friend of Laurie's from back in the day. She recently showed Laurie her next themed exhibit that she's working on -- this one is featuring Vermont swimming holes (you'll see the info on the May 11 opening at the end of this e-mail). Because Laurie knows so much about our online collection of theses, she told Katharine about one of her favorite ENVS theses - the one by Eli Sobel in 2011 on Vermont swimming holes. She was really interested in seeing it, and as it's in our ENVS electronic thesis collection, she could easily access it from anywhere in the world. She read it, was very taken with it, and found out that Eli was friends with her daughter's roommate. She got in contact with Eli about his senior thesis on Vermont swimming holes, and now perhaps Eli is going to go to the art opening on May 11 (today!) in Burlington.
That connection came about because our students do such interesting work, and their work is increasingly online for the world to see. I hope that the work we're putting online in the coming weeks will continue to advertise what wonderful scholarship our students do, and continue to connect people to one another in fortuitous ways.
S W I M M I N G H O L E S
An exhibit of northern Vermont's finest,
-some well known, some secret- in watercolor and oil.
Opens Friday night, May 11th, 5:30-8.
Facebook link to event: https://www.facebook.com/events/421605188301717/
129 St. Paul Street. Burlington, VT
Our Environmental Program is what it is because of years of dedication by an incredible group of faculty and staff, our relationships with one another, our impressive alumni, and of course because of the wonderful students we’re able to attract to Burlington. In the year and half I’ve been here, I’ve visited 9 of the 10 Natural Areas, but some of them only once. I’ve taught a single class and mentored a handful of students. And I’ve gotten to know a few people around campus and built some relationships.
Contrast that with the amazing career of Rick Paradis. Rick is retiring after 33 years in Our Environmental Program. In those 33 years, Rick served as the Director of the Natural Areas, one the Crown Jewels of UVM. He’s spent truly countless hours protecting the Natural Areas, studying them, leading trips to them, and advocating for them. He taught thousands of students in the field and in the classroom in more than two dozen different courses. And he has mentored dozens, if not hundreds of them, as they too because stewards of landscapes. It’s not uncommon to hear from students about how Rick changed their lives. He has built life-long relationships with people all over Vermont and New England, if not the entire country.
Rick truly embodies what Our Environmental Program is about - a dedication to teaching students and getting them in the field, building relationships with one another and partners around the state and the country, and advocating with evidence for the preservation of what matters most to us. In the short time I’ve known Rick, he’s become a friend and a true mentor, and I’ll be eternally grateful for all that I’ve learned from him, and will learn from him. I know I’m not alone in thinking that.
So, Rick, thanks so much for so much.
If you’d like to read more about Rick and his many lasting contributions, The Rubenstein School has a really nice piece here.
Happy Friday -
If you would like to work with Nate
Please email him a summary of your research experience and research goals, along with a CV.