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December 2015 (Vol. 15, No. 5)

  • Kiplinger’s: UVM Again Among Best Value Public Colleges
  • Vermont Ranked No. 1 Among Top Peace Corps-Producing States
  • UVM Junior Makes U.S. Military History
  • Holocaust Center Receives Award from NEBHE
  • UVM Joins Higher Education Consortium on Poverty
  • Scientists Peg Anthropocene to First Farmers
  • Wild Bee Decline Threatens U.S. Crop Production
  • Taking Aim at Cancer with New Genomic Tests
  • Paradoxes of Paris: Reflections from COP21
  • Two Students Win Prestigious Gilman Scholarships
  • For the Love of Bernie
  • Political Science Major Enjoying Insider View as White House Intern
  • Alumni Advice: Creating Your Own Success
  • UVM in the National News
  • Athletics Update
  • In Memoriam

Kiplinger’s: UVM Again Among Best Value Public Colleges
In its annual ratings, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has again ranked UVM among the top 100 best value public colleges in the country. To compile its best value list, Kiplinger’s initially sorts schools on quality measures. It then adds cost data, including tuition, fees, room-and-board and financial aid, and re-ranks the schools. “We rank our top 100 public colleges and universities based on our definition of value: a quality education at an affordable price,” the magazine writes. “Among the factors we consider: high four-year graduation rates, low student-faculty ratios, reasonable price tags and generous need-based aid for students who qualify. For the first time, we only give schools credit for four-year graduation rates because making it to graduation day on time keeps costs down.” UVM was ranked 11th among all publics on the Kiplinger’s list for its four-year graduation rate of 65 percent. Overall, UVM was ranked 85th for in-state and 95th for out-of-state students, respectively. For its best value rankings of public and private colleges, the magazine draws from a field of nearly 1,200 higher education institutions in the U.S. Read more here.

Vermont Ranked No. 1 Among Top Peace Corps-Producing States
The Peace Corps announced on December 8 that for the third straight year, Vermont ranks No. 1 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving worldwide in the Peace Corps, with a ratio that also represents 8.3 volunteers for every 100,000 residents, the highest per capita rate in the nation. In addition, the Burlington-South Burlington metropolitan area ranked No. 3 per capita nationally, with 18 area residents serving as volunteers, a number which represents 8.3 of every 100,000 residents. Only Ithaca, New York and Missoula, Montana had higher per capita rates. Read more here.

UVM Junior Makes U.S. Military History
UVM junior Skylar Anderson has made U.S. military history by becoming the first woman soldier to graduate as a combat engineer. The story was reported by the Associated Press and ran in news outlets nationwide. Anderson hopes to become an equine veterinarian after graduating and completing her military service. Read more here.

Holocaust Center Receives Award from NEBHE
The New England Board of Higher Education (NEHBE) has chosen the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermontas the recipient of its 2016 Robert J. McKenna Award for Program Achievement. The award will be presented at NEBHE’s 2016 New England Higher Education Excellence Awards Dinner in Boston on March 4, 2016. Four hundred higher education, government and business leaders from the region are expected to attend. Read more here.

UVM Joins Higher Education Consortium on Poverty
The University of Vermont strengthened its commitment to better understand and create solutions that reduce societal inequities caused by poverty by joining the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP). The consortium, a 21-member organization of colleges and universities, encourages the exploration of poverty as a complex social problem by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students. The partnership gives UVM’s College of Education and Social Services (CESS) the ability to work with member institutions to develop and integrate a rigorous classroom study of poverty with tailored summer internships and co-curricular activities during the academic year. Read more here.

Scientists Peg Anthropocene to First Farmers
A new analysis of the fossil record shows that a deep pattern in nature remained the same for 300 million years. Then, 6,000 years ago, the pattern was disrupted — at about the same time that agriculture spread across North America. In the hunt for the beginning of the much-debated “Anthropocene” — a supposed new geologic era defined by human influence of the planet — research by a team including University of Vermont biologist Nicholas Gotelli, an expert on statistics and the senior author of a new study published in the December 16 journal Nature, suggests a need to look back farther in time than the arrival of human-caused climate change, atomic weapons, urbanization or the industrial revolution. Read more here.

Wild Bee Decline Threatens U.S. Crop Production
The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they’re disappearing in many of the country’s most important farmlands — including California’s Central Valley, the Midwest’s corn belt and the Mississippi River valley. A research team led by Insu Koh and Taylor Ricketts, bee experts at the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, estimates that wild bee abundance between 2008 and 2013 declined in 23 percent of the contiguous U.S. If losses of these crucial pollinators continue, the new nationwide assessment indicates that farmers will face increasing costs — and that the problem may even destabilize the nation’s crop production. The findings were published December 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more here.

Taking Aim at Cancer with New Genomic Tests
No two patients with lung cancer are exactly alike – some are former smokers and others have never smoked – and often, different genetic mutations are responsible for their disease. While treatments exist to target many of these mutations, cancer cells can be tricky to treat: they can adapt and sneak around the targeted drugs and continue to grow. Next month, the University of Vermont Medical Center Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will launch a test that will help physicians better understand the specific molecular pathways of these types of cancers, and – more importantly – determine a personalized treatment for each patient. Read more here.

Paradoxes of Paris: Reflections from COP21
Jennie Stephens, Blittersdorf Professor of Science and Policy, is one of four UVM people — three faculty members and one student — to make the trip to Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21. One week in, Stephens shared her perspective on the events surrounding the negotiations, how this year’s COP differs from those of the past, and the feelings of both hope and futility in the air as world leaders attempt to create a plan to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. Read her thoughts here.

Two Students Win Prestigious Gilman Scholarships
Two University of Vermont students have been awarded prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships. The Gilman is a nationally competitive award given to accomplished students with financial need who wish to study abroad, and it seeks to support students as they prepare themselves to become active and engaged citizens in an increasingly globalized world. The two UVM students received a total of $8,500 in study abroad scholarship money from the Gilman awards for the spring 2016 semester. Read more here.

For the Love of Bernie
For alumna Arianna Jones '09, deputy communications director for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, life is no less hectic than it was five months ago in New York City as a producer on MSNBC’s The Ed Show. Based on a recent coffee break at Muddy Waters in Burlington, it’s hard to imagine it has ever been busier. Read more here.

Political Science Major Enjoying Insider View as White House Intern
Political science major Finn Galloway-Kane had built a pretty impressive resume heading into his senior year with an internship in Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office and a term as a senator in UVM’s Student Government Association under his belt. Then the White House called and offered him a coveted internship in the Office of the Vice President. He soon found himself preparing briefing materials for Vice President Joe Biden, seating members of Congress at a welcoming event for the Pope, and listening to a speaker series for interns featuring the likes of President and Michelle Obama. Read more here.

Alumni Advice: Creating Your Own Success
A chance interaction changed the course of Amelia Gulkis’s career. The UVM alumna, who graduated in 2001 with a degree in history, is now the chief operating officer of EnSave, an agricultural energy-efficiency company in Richmond that helps clients from around the country. Gulkis learned about the unadvertised writing position at EnSave from a colleague in a book club. That colleague also sat on a local nonprofit board with EnSave president Craig Metz. For Gulkis, that connection changed everything. Read more here.

UVM in the National News
UVM news, research and opinion have led to feature stories in numerous national news outlets in recent months, including The Washington Post, BBC News Magazine, Scientific American, Reuters, and The New York Times. See the full summaries of national media coverage of UVM news and people here.

ATHLETICS UPDATE

Men's Hockey to Host Martin St. Louis Night Jan. 8
The Vermont men's hockey program will honor its all-time leading scorer by hosting Martin St. Louis Night on Friday, Jan. 8, when the Catamounts face former ECAC rival Dartmouth at 7:05 p.m. Martin St. Louis '97 will be in attendance to be recognized during a special pre-game presentation on the ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Reserved and general admission tickets are still available online at UVMathletics.com/Tickets, in person at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office in Patrick Gym (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), or over the phone by calling 802-656-4410.

Amanda Pelkey Selected to Play in NWHL All-Star Game
Boston Pride forward and former Catamount Amanda Pelkey was one of 22 skaters named to the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game. All-Star Game captains Hilary Knight and Emily Pfalzer each chose 11 members of their 14-player squad for the Jan. 24 showdown. Pelkey's teammate Hilary Knight drafted her in the 10th round of selections as 11 players from the Boston Pride were taken in the draft. Over the holidays, fans can check out Pelkey and the Boston Pride in action on NESNplus. The Pride's upcoming game against the Buffalo Beauts on Sunday, Jan. 3 will be broadcast live on the regional network at 3 p.m.

Hannah Halvorsen To Ski for UVM Nordic Team
Rising Nordic skiing standout Hannah Halvorsen has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the UVM Nordic ski team. Halvorsen, a native of Truckee, California, currently competes at the Sugar Bowl Academy in the Lake Tahoe region. Halvorsen competed in the Scandinavian Cup (March 2015) where she finished second in the 5K freestyle race. She also put together strong performances at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, to qualify for the U18 Nations' Cup team that traveled to Finland. At the 2015 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Michigan, she placed fifth overall in the classic sprint race and qualified for the World Junior Championships. However, Halvorsen returned to compete in the U18 Nations' Cup in Sweden and finished third in the 5K freestyle and fifth in the sprint race.

Sign Up for New Catamount Score Alerts
Fans of University of Vermont athletic teams have a new way of keeping up to date with results from the Catamounts through the new "Catamount Score Alert" text message update service provided by Phizzle. Fans who formerly received updates through our website provider, SIDEARM Sports, will need to re-register for the new service by texting UVM to 83200 or by clicking here (message and data rates may apply). Catamount Score Alerts will provide options to receive the final score for Vermont teams throughout the season. Sign up today to receive the latest results from your favorite team or teams.

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IN MEMORIAM

Larry Kost, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, died on Saturday, December 26, 2015. Larry earned his bachelor of sciences from the University of St. Thomas in 1965 and his master’s of science in 1968 from the University of Arizona. Larry joined the University of Vermont community in 1973 and served on the faculty for over 42 years. During his tenure, he taught over 7,000 students. He served as the Chair of the Math High School Prize Committee for 28 years. He was the co-creator of two courses for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and co-authored a textbook for one of the courses. He also co-authored a software package designed to assist in teaching and learning calculus. Larry was recognized for his accomplishments in teaching with the Kroepsch-Maurice Teaching Excellence Award. A campus memorial service is planned for Friday, January 8, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in North Lounge of Billings Library with a reception to follow.

Alfred C. “Tuna” Snider, the University of Vermont’s beloved debate team director and an international legend in the arena of academic argument, died Friday, December 11. Snider, who was UVM’s Edwin W. Lawrence Professor of Forensics, led the university’s Lawrence Debate Union for more than three decades and took the student team to international acclaim. UVM currently ranks 15th in the world among academic teams in the International Debate Education Association and reached the No. 7 spot in 2011, joining the top 10 alongside the distinguished debaters at Yale and Cornell universities, Oxford and Cambridge universities in England and the London School of Economics. Born in California, Snider argued his way through high school and as an undergraduate at Brown University in Providence, R.I., where he was a top-ranked debater with a major in Asian Civilization. He earned his master’s degree in rhetoric and public address from Emerson College in Boston and his doctorate in communication studies, personal and social influence from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

UVM President Thomas Sullivan expressed the depth of Snider’s loss and the worldwide recognition he brought to the UVM community. “Alfred ‘Tuna’ Snider was a compelling teacher and beloved coach who inspired generations of debaters at UVM to do great things not only on the college debate circuit but in their lives after graduation,” Sullivan said. “Through his frequent travels as a debate coach, his influence extended far beyond the campus borders to young people around the world. His family, the UVM community, and the world of debate at large have suffered a great loss. Tuna will be dearly missed.”

Snider’s family has requested that any donations made in his honor go to the Lawrence Debate Union. Donations may be made online or by phone: (888) 458-8691. A memorial and reception will be held Friday, April 29, at 4 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel. Read more here.


Dateline UVM Would Like to Hear from You: Send comments, questions, and address changes to Dateline UVM Editor Jay Goyette (jay.goyette@uvm.edu)