University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Michael Ferris, Economics and Political Science Double Major

Michael Ferris is in his final year of undergraduate study at the University of Vermont, with majors in economics and political science and a minor in mathematics.

After graduation, he will begin work as a federal analyst with Deloitte's Federal Practice in the Washington, DC area. At UVM Michael was an undergraduate teaching aide and participated in the Concert Band, the Ski & Snowboard Club, and the Economics Club. Through hard work, he gained the confidence to take the lead in classroom discussions, and learned to apply the knowledge he acquired in class to the world around him. He attributes his success and happiness at UVM to the guidance of his teachers and interactions with his peers.

Michael spent his junior year studying at the London School of Economics. While living in London he explored quite a bit, often bicycling through the city. He was also able to travel the continent of Europe. Highlights include hiking Untersberg Mountain on the border of Austria and Germany, exploring a Christmas market in Copenhagen, and traveling by sleeper train from Poland to Germany.

Michael says, "While at UVM and abroad I developed skills in analysis, interpretation, and problem solving, which will help me going forward as I begin my career this summer. One thing I have discovered is the importance of networking and developing social skills conducive to building strong personal and professional relationships. This has occurred with my friends, classmates, alumni, and my professors." If you have any questions for Michael, please feel free to contact him at m.c.ferris@me.com.

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.

Theatre Students Head Off to Grad School

Alice Corvo, Ryan Howland, and Natalie Battistone have spent a lot of time together during their four years at UVM. That’s what happens when you are a Theatre major or minor and are actively involved with acting, directing, building sets, and writing plays. All three actors worked together last October in the Pulitzer-Prize winning play, “How I Learned to Drive,” directed by Theatre professor Gregory Ramos. Not only did the production bring them closer together, but they were also able to meet the playwright, Paula Vogel, who was brought to campus to speak at a symposium on women in theatre and stayed to see the production.

Having just completed participating in the Spring Festival of Plays and with Commencement a few weeks away, all three are finishing up their thesis projects and planning for new adventures in graduate school. Alice, a Theatre major with a double minor in English and Women’s and Gender Studies, will be off to London’s East 15 Acting School to begin a MFA program. Ryan, a Theatre major and English minor, has decided to continue his studies in Theatre Education at Emerson College in Boston. And Natalie, an Honors College student who is a Classical Civilization major and Theatre minor, will be attending the American Repertory Theatre Institute’s MFA acting program at Harvard.

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.

Kevin Santamaria, Economics and Political Science Double Major

Kevin Santamaria was born in Bogota, Columbia, and moved to Miami, Florida when he was six. 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.

After UVM, Kevin expects to attend graduate school in pursuit of a career where he would help promote sustainable and ecological economics through his writing to help advocate for human rights. He might defer graduate school if he decides to join the Peace Corps. Kevin is the first one in his family to go to college and he hopes that by pursuing higher education, his little brothers will be inspired to chase their dreams, no matter where they take them along the way.

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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