It’s the day before spring break here at UVM. I’ll spend this one catching up on a couple of writing projects and spending a bit of time outside, either on my bike or skis. Spring break is sort of the inflection point of the semester. For me, it never really feels like the semester is in full swing until spring break hits. But then, after spring break, it feels like a sprint to the end of the semester.
Spring break also signifies the time of the year when we start thinking about awards for students and faculty, wrapping up student thesis work, and ramping up our summer research plans. And today, I wanted to share some good news with you in each of these areas.
Happy Friday –
Yesterday, we learned that two of our faculty are going to receive awards for their excellence in providing service learning opportunities for ENVS students and others.
Amy Seidl will be awarded the Lynne Bond Outstanding Service learning Faculty Award, and Trish O’Kane will receive the Outstanding Service Learning Award for New Faculty.
About Amy, the committee wrote “The review committee was deeply impressed with your long-standing commitment to service-learning (as evidenced by your involvement in the Davis grant, the scholarship of service-learning pedagogy, and your choice to participate in the Faculty Fellows program for a second time), as well as with the depth of reflection and engagement required of your students. Finally, your broad-minded choice of community partnerships inspired the review committee.”
The committee was equally glowing about Trish: “The review committee was deeply impressed with the rigor and reciprocity demonstrated in your course, the explicit commitment to racial and social justice within the project and its broader context, and with the strength of the critical reflection assignments provided.”
Student thesis work
In student research news, Simon McIntosh ’17 is featured on the UVM front page for his thesis work in Mongolia. You can read about his work here. It’s impressive and inspiring stuff, and I’m really looking forward to Simon’s presentation of his thesis work (and while we’re at it – Patricia Stokowski, Bob Manning, and Rick Paradis deserve a round of applause for advising Simon’s project). The pictures and story are stunning. But I also really enjoyed Simon’s last line in the story:
“Write a thesis or do an independent study. Find a project that is yours,” McIntosh suggests to incoming students. “You should look at college as something you do, rather than something that’s done to you.”
And finally, I wanted to highlight the work that Ernesto Mendez and his group are doing on campus, in Vermont, and abroad. Ernesto and his team have renamed their group and started several new initiatives. Rather than recount them, I’ll just copy and paste Ernesto’s summary below.