University of Vermont

Office of Community-Engaged Learning (CELO)

Celebrating Success in Service-Learning

Members of UVM College of Agriculture & Life Sciences recognized for their work creating community-engaged learning opportunities for students.

group of women
UVM Extension’s Naomi Wolcott-MacClausland (right) and leaders of CDAE / NFS 295 Sustainable Development in Kenya (left). Farryl Bertmann (far left), Mary Lynn Riggs (second from right) and Isaiah Thomas Thiango (not pictured) were recognized for their partnership. (Photos: Andy Duback)

UVM has long valued the importance of community engagement and experiential education in preparing its students for 21st century citizenship. More than 400 students participated in service-learning courses in the College of Agriculture and Life Science this year where they gained real-world experience working on issues spanning from consumer protection in Vermont to sustainable development in Kenya. 

These experiences are made possible by the dedication of our faculty, staff and community partners, four of whom were recently recognized by UVM’s Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service-Learning (CUPS) for their outstanding commitments to community-engaged learning.

Farryl Bertmann, lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, received CUPS’ Outstanding New Service-Learning Faculty Award for her work teaching CDAE / NFS 295: Sustainable Development and Education in Kenya, an advanced service-learning project-based course that culminates in a two-week service trip to Kenya. Students enrolled in the course spend the fall semester learning about and developing projects in education, food systems, conservation and public health that are implemented in partnership with community partners in Nairobi and Homa Bay, Kenya.

“Farryl is simultaneously kind and rigorous, holding our students to rigorous expectations as they adapt to significantly different on-the-ground projects than had been planned — a necessity in service-learning, and especially so in international contexts,” said Jane Kolodinsky, chair of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, who co-teaches the course and nominated Bertmann for the award.

Community partners for the course, Mary Lynn Riggs of Go Global VT and Isaiah Thomas Thiango of the Vianeey Centre in Kenya, were recognized for their partnership receiving CUPS’ Outstanding Community Partner in Service-Learning Award. Riggs and Thiango have been indispensable in defining the local context and building the relationships necessary to prepare students to study these critical issues, both in Burlington and on the ground in Kenya, said Kolodinsky. 

Naomi Wolcott-MacClausland, migrant health coordinator with UVM Extension, was also recognized as an Outstanding Community Partner in Service-Learning. In her role, Wolcott-MacClausland coordinates activities of UVM Extension’s Huertas Project, a community-based food access project that enables local Latinx migrant farmworkers and families to access culturally familiar and locally grown foods through cultivating kitchen gardens. She also manages internships and field placements with UVM Extension’s Bridges to Health program, a health outreach program for migrant farmworkers in Vermont, and serves as a point of connection enabling UVM students across campus to get involved through service-learning courses and internships.

Learn more about service-learning partnerships and opportunities on the CUPS website.