University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Marshall Distel, Geography Major, Spanish and Community/International Development Minors

Throughout the course of his undergraduate career at the University of Vermont, Marshall has been most interested in studying methods to reduce car dependency, encourage sustainable patterns of development, and to promote alternative forms of transportation. During his time at UVM, he has enrolled in nearly every planning and energy-related class the university has to offer, including the full-year program, the Integrated Study of Earth and the Environment (ISEE). He’s passionate about researching innovative methods to develop sustainable transportation and to encourage compact and energy-efficient land-use planning.

While studying abroad in Spain during the fall 2013 semester, he was awarded a travel grant through the Geography Department, funded by the Oaklawn Foundation, to travel to Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, and Zurichto study how sustainable transportation and dense development can benefit communities environmentally, economically, and socially. Additionally, Marshall has been developing a senior honors thesis titled "The Cul-de-sac Dream: Analyzing the Desirability of the Cul-de-sac in Burlington and the Surrounding Suburbs," to examine what is attractive about cul-de-sacs to residents in Chittenden County, and what are the drawbacks of cul-de-sacs from a planning perspective.

After graduation, he plans to find a job with a planning firm (preferably in Spain) and then eventually to pursue a master's degree in either city or transportation planning.

Kelsey Vivian, Theatre and English Double Major

Kelsey Vivian is a junior Theatre/English double major from West Greenwich, Rhode Island. She started off her first-year experience by enrolling in one of the Teacher-Advisor Programs (TAP) offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. During her time at UVM she has performed in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing (2014) and The Toys Take Over Christmas (2012). Her behind-the-scenes credits are much more extensive. She first became involved in the Theatre Department as a house manager and has gone on to stage manage several shows and to work on the scenic, costuming, and lighting crews of six productions at UVM. Currently she is an active Student Representative of the Theatre Department. .

This past summer she completed a ten-week paid internship at Saint Michael’s Playhouse as a stage management intern and worked with theatre professionals on four shows, including Young Frankenstein, The Fox on the Fairway, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Ring of Fire. She also volunteered to work on the Playhouse Junior shows, which included The Cat in the Hat and Dear Edwina. After her internship, Kelsey decided to apply to Actor’s Equity, the labor union for actors and stage managers, and is currently an Equity Member Candidate, working towards her Equity card.

At this point in time, Kelsey is interested in pursuing stage management professionally, although she would be happy with any job in the theatre. While working on Broadway is always a possibility, Kelsey is more interested in finding and establishing herself at a reputable theatre company and to bring professional theatre to those who can’t afford Broadway prices.

Kevin Santamaria, Economics and Political Science Double Major

Kevin Santamaria was born in Bogota, Columbia, and moved to Miami, Florida two months before his seventh birthday. During his first semester at UVM, Kevin was encouraged by English professor Elaine Harrington to further develop his writing skills during his Teacher-Advisor Program (TAP) course: Reading and Writing the News Media. Kevin also writes for the Vermont Cynic, UVM's student newspaper.

Four years later, Kevin is a last-semester senior with a double major in economics and political science. His journey through UVM has allowed him to discover many new interests in philosophy and political activism. He plans to continue to pursue his education outside of academia by traveling and exploring other cultures. Kevin believes that his education at UVM has equipped him with the tools that he needs to make a meaningful impact on the world by promoting alternative economics, human rights, and acceptance.

Natalie Williams, History Major and English Minor

During her time at the University of Vermont, Natalie has focused her studies on the contemporary history of the Americas. Her favorite class was History of Vermont because the material was very tangible—so much of what she learned in that class related to UVM’s campus or downtown Burlington. Natalie loved that she could pass buildings on the street and recognize them from slideshows from class and know their historical relevance. Recently she has revived her love for Post-Colonial courses, especially those related to Latin America.

Natalie has been especially involved with the Vermont Cynic while on campus. She joined as soon as she got to campus and hasn’t stopped working since. Natalie held the roles of Photo Editor, Multimedia Editor, and, most recently, Editor-in-Chief at the newspaper. It not only provided key creative outlet for her and helped her develop job skills, but it also served as her second family while at UVM.

After graduation in May, Natalie hopes to continue her love for journalism and work as a photojournalist at a newspaper.

Erin Kerr, Geography Major, and Assistant Professor Pablo Bose

In her sophomore year, Erin Kerr was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo during the 2012-2013 academic year. Kerr, a geography major, is in the Honors College and is currently participating in the Peace and Conflict Studies program through the School of International Training.

Kerr’s long-standing intellectual interest in the former Yugoslavia is rooted in the connections she made to the Bosnian community in her hometown of St. Johnsbury, Vt. After coming to UVM she became engrossed in the study of geopolitics through her coursework in the geography department. She took Development, Displacement and the Environment with Professor Pablo Bose during her first year at UVM, and then went on to conduct an independent study, also with Professor Bose, examining how former-Yugoslav countries have been affected by nationalism and colonialism, as well as how these countries fit into world-system theory. While in Serbia, Kerr will continue her research by examining how land distribution along ethnic lines was a factor throughout the Yugoslav Wars as well as the reparation and peace-building processes.

Pablo Bose, Assistant Professor of Geography, came to UVM in 2006. His areas of expertise include culture, space and power, transnationalism and diaspora, urban and cultural geography, political economy and ecology, India and South Asia.

The Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

Cody Reichenstein, Economics and Math Double Major

Studying at UVM in the College of Arts and Sciences gave Cody a lot of flexibility in his course of study. He was able to take courses in many fields before deciding to double major in economics and mathematics. In the fall of his junior year Cody studied abroad at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. There he took courses in economics, all of which counted towards his major at UVM, including a course on the economics of European integration taught by a top scholar in the field. “Studying abroad was a great experience to meet new people and to experience a different academic system and culture. While abroad I was able to explore many parts of the UK as well as take trips to France and the Netherlands,” says Cody.

After returning from the UK, he worked as a teaching assistant in the economics department and later became a research assistant. This close collaboration with faculty gave him the teaching and research experience that, combined with his studies, allowed him to gain admissions to several top economic Ph.D. programs. Cody feels that his time at UVM has provided him with the skills he needs to pursue his study of economics at UC-Davis and continue on the path to becoming an economist.

Minh Eric Le, Political Science and English Double Major

Minh Eric Le came to UVM from New York City and is originally from Saigon, Vietnam. Eric spent his first year on campus in the Integrated Social Sciences Program (ISSP) where participants have the opportunity to live together in a special residential community. In ISSP, students take five semester-long courses in disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, global studies, political science, and sociology--three courses in the fall semester and two in the spring.

After graduation Eric plans to move to California where he will ideally work in community organizing to motivate Asian communities to take action on Asian/Pacific Islander (API) issues, like immigration, labor, and civic action among the Asian population in the U.S.

Natalie Battistone, Classical Civilization Major

Senior Natalie Battistone spent part of her junior year abroad in Russia, studying with the Moscow Art Theatre. Natalie wanted a study abroad experience that wasn’t solely about traveling, but about training in an intensive environment where she could study forms and styles not offered at UVM and bring that experience back to campus. She felt aptly prepared to take such a drastic leap because of the classes she had taken in her first two years. Although she is a Classical Civilizations major, there were plenty of opportunities within the College of Arts and Sciences for her to study Russian, Performance, and Scene Design in addition to major requirements--as well as the necessary support to seek opportunities outside the bounds of UVM.

In September she played the lead role in the Department of Theatre's production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive. She is currently applying to graduate school.

Zoe McKenzie, Anthropology Major, and Associate Professor Deborah Blom

Zoe McKenzie, class of 2013, began her UVM studies in the fall of 2009 as a declared anthropology major. In her introductory TAP physical anthropology class with Professor Deborah Blom, Zoe’s interests developed quickly for the field of bioarchaeology. During the summer after her sophomore year, with the help of Professor Scott Van Keuren, Zoe attended an archaeological field school in Mule Creek, New Mexico through the University of Arizona in conjunction with Archaeology Southwest. Through this experience, Zoe gained valuable excavation and laboratory skills as well as knowledge of the inner workings of an archaeological excavation. In her junior year, Zoe was able to work more closely with both Professors Blom and Van Keuren as a teaching assistant in Primates and Anthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology.

Currently, Associate Professor Deborah Blom focuses her research in South American Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia, addressing questions of health and nutrition, diversity, identity, colonization, and migration within ancient Tiwanaku society, as well as earlier and later developments. These pursuits have led to publications and conference papers on human sacrifice, mortuary ritual, population movement, health and diet, social complexity, trade, and human body modification as a means of expressing identity.

Ty Williams, History and Political Science Double Major

As a Vermont native and history buff, sophomore Ty Williams was always interested in the joint history of UVM and the state itself. Moreover, he felt a personal connection with the students, the staff, and the campus before he even was accepted to UVM. For these reasons, Ty declared himself a History major at June Orientation 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. Due to an ever increasing interest in Political Science he has decided to pursue a less common path than the traditional major and minor, and added Political Science as his second major.

In addition to having more access to classes that he wants to take, Ty hopes that his double major, as well as the leadership opportunities he has been provided through his campus fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, will help him achieve his post-graduation goal: being accepted into a top-100 law school.

Nicole Ovregaard, Biology Major

Nicole has been working on two emergency department research projects, one that looks at blood coagulation in trauma patients and another that involves cognitive therapy for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. After graduation she plans to continue to work as an EMT, possibly become a paramedic, and also prepare herself for medical school or physician assistant school. She hopes to spend time working around the world as a medic as well, starting in December when she will be traveling to Haiti to work at the only critical care and trauma hospital in Port Au Prince.

The week before her first semester began, Nicole arrived from California and participated in TREK, an optional unique team-building and enrichment program for first-year students led by upper-class peers. TREK has offered new students diverse, experiential learning opportunities that promote community building, self-discovery, and connection with future classmates for over 30 years.

Eva Rouanet, Chemistry Major, and Associate Professor Matthias Brewer

Eva Rouanet, class of 2014, came to UVM from Westford, Massachusetts, and enrolled as a chemistry major. Her first-year Introduction to Research course exposed her to research methods and hands-on laboratory experiences, which she feels have benefited her in her coursework. In her sophomore year, she won the Donald C. Gregg Award, which is given for excellence in the study of organic chemistry. Eva is a subject area tutor in chemistry for the Learning Co-Op and just recently started the chemistry club, ChemCats. She is part of the Premedical Enhancement Program at UVM (PEP), where she shadows physicians and attends grand rounds. After graduating in 2014 with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in psychology, she hopes to attend medical school for her graduate studies. In her spare time, Eva volunteers at Fletcher Allen Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit and participates in Silks, which is a type of circus art, through the Trapeze School of New York in Boston.

Associate Professor Matthias Brewer’s research focuses on the development of new organic reactions and applications of those reactions to the synthesis of complex organic molecules and natural products. The overarching objective in his research is to develop synthetic methods that facilitate the efficient preparation of complex nitrogen-containing heterocyclic compounds from trivial starting materials and to apply these methods to the synthesis of both natural products and non-natural medicinal agents. Matthias Brewer was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award grant in 2008.

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