University of Vermont

Who is CEMS?

Alex Hoffman
  • Alex Hoffman
  • Mechanical Engineering Major
  • Class of 2016
  • [ Demarest, New Jersey ]

"Burlington is super attractive because of the quality of life, the food and art scene, and the prximity to the lake and mountains for outdoor activities."

Alex’s Mechanical Engineering experience has diverse applications. And he’s keeping his career options wide open, maybe hybrid-electric vehicle power-train systems, space or nuclear technology. He is also interested in Burlington’s artisanal food culture. His CEMS professors have inspired him to explore varied opportunities. “Dr. William Louisos has helped me make a ton of interdisciplinary connections through his insanely thought-provoking lectures. Yves Dubief highlighted the importance of Computer Science in engineering. Both started at the fundamental level explaining the underlying phenomena, then built upon the concepts until we could solve real-world problems. Neither coddled the students,” he says. Alex, assistant outreach coordinator for the UVM Society of Women Engineers student chapter, appreciates the friendliness of CEMS faculty and staff. His friendly advice for incoming CEMS students is this: “Don’t blow off the introductory classes, learn computer programming, be organized, talk to the professors. Ask questions and make friends in your major,” he says. Read More

Nick Medor
  • Nick Medor
  • Electrical Engineering Major
  • Class of 2017
  • [ Swanton, Vermont ]

"Don't be afraid to branch out and get involved ina club or two, but also don't let your academics take a back seat."

As a native Vermonter whose brother graduated from UVM’s School of Business Administration, it’s no surprise Nick chose UVM. He has taken advantage of hands-on opportunities as he explores career options in Electrical Engineering. An internship last summer with the Rutland-based Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) gave him invaluable exposure to power systems and the power industry. In VELCO’s System Protection Department, his duties included basic wiring, interpreting plans and labeling equipment. “I was fortunate to be given incredibly meaningful work that will help me determine whether I want a career in power engineering.” A highlight was touring the headquarters of ISO New England, which controls the region’s power grid. Nick is a member of UVM’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is an avid broomball (similar to ice hockey) player. “IEEE is great for professional development, and broomball is a good complement to my serious and rigorous academic program,” he says. “Some teams take broomball to the next level, but we’re out there to have fun.” Read More

Blake Colyer
  • Blake Colyer
  • Mathematics Major
  • Class of 2016
  • [ Scotia, New York ]

"The students, professors and campus exude a positive energy that I was immediately drawn to."

The learning environment at UVM has given Blake all the support she has needed - and all the stimulation. She cites CEMS faculty members Kenneth Golden and Richard Foote as being among her mentors. "Their wealth of knowledge and passion for the subject is obvious from the moment you step into the classroom. Their constant enthusiasm and willingness to aid you in reaching that 'aha' moment greatly eased the pain of endless mathematical proofs. My own passion for mathematics certianly burned brighter after a semester with these great professors," Blake says. She wants to continue to use the computer and analytical skills she has gained through courses and internships as she begins a career. Blake’s advice for new students is, “Don’t be afraid to be afraid. You have come to a wonderful place full of like-minded people, so don’t be scared to put yourself out there. There is a wonderful amount of open-mindedness and it is very easy to be yourself here.” Read More

Diane Brown
  • Diane Brown
  • Environmental Engineering Major
  • Class of 2016
  • [ Elkridge, Maryland ]

“People are here to help you and want to see you be successful.”

A big reason Diane wanted to attend UVM was to be part of the varsity swimming and diving team, for which she swims the sprint freestyle. A big reason she has been satisfied in CEMS is the faculty, students and staff. “People are so friendly, accepting and versatile,” she says. “Everyone really gets involved in the UVM community.” Diane is an Environmental Engineering. That’s a field in great demand with the challenges of climate change, energy sustainability and other environmental concerns. “I was most interested in the new technology involved in the environmental movement,” she says. Among the faculty Diane has been most impressed by are Alison Pechenick and Huijie Lu. Pechenick “made MATLAB coding not seem so scary to someone who has never programmed before,” Diane says, and with Lu, “Everything you do seems directly related to working in the field.” Read More

Jessie Johnson
  • Jessie Johnson
  • Civil Engineering Major
  • Class of 2016
  • [ Shelburne, Vermont ]

“Try everything...You’d be amazed at how fast four years goes by.”

At UVM, Jessie has enjoyed learning by trying new things. She put that into practice early on when she switched her major from Biology to Civil Engineering. While she finishes her degree, she is working as field office engineer for PC Construction, which is building UVM’s new STEM complex. “I’m very interested in green engineering, sustainable construction practices and energy efficiency, so hopefully I’ll figure out a way to get a permanent job in that field,” she says. Jessie’s involvement with groups and activities has been a highlight of her time at UVM. She’s a founding member of CEMS’ Student Mentoring and Resource Team (SMART) and has held officer positions in her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, in addition to working as a group fitness instructor at local gyms. “I have learned from these experiences that leadership is something I absolutely love. Leadership challenges me and helps me grow by pushing me to become more self-sufficient and curious,” she says. Jessie also spent a full year in Wales during her junior year. “I didn’t want to be a tourist, I wanted to be a part of a community. It was the best educational decision I have made.” Read More

Nick Strayer
  • Nick Strayer
  • Statistics Major
  • Class of 2016
  • [ Chelsea, Michigan ]

“UVM faculty knew not only my name but my story, and that is absolutely invaluable.”

After graduating from CEMS in May of 2015 with a Statistics major, Nick was accepted into the biostatistics doctoral program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine on a fellowship. “After my Ph.D., I hope to find a faculty position at a school that can allow me to give the fantastic research and teaching experiences I’ve had to my students,” he says. Nick had many resume-building experiences at UVM. In addition to attending and presenting his research at academic conferences, he developed a winning project for UVM’s Computer Science Fair: a way to teach sign language using gesture recognition and 3-D graphics. “This taught me how to bring a product from idea to fruition that is attractive and usable to others,” he says. It also generated multiple internship offers from companies. Among other memorable CEMS professors, Richard Single introduced Nick to biostatistics. “He showed me how my propensity for the quantitative could be channeled into something that has the ability to truly help people and make a difference.” Read More

Michelle Marin
  • Michelle Marin
  • Computer Science and Information Systems Major
  • Class of 2017
  • [ Montreal, Quebec ]

“I'm encouraged by the Computer Science department to take leadership in my field. Through this leadership I find valuable opportunities that advance my educational goals and career prospects.”

Michelle has found her home in the CEMS Computer Science department. With inspiring professors and helpful peers, it’s a tight-knit group. “Our teachers know us, and we all know each other, and we try to help each other out. We are all in it together,” she says. “The awesome part about the department is how all the teachers are very supportive. They really care about their students and push us to do better.” Michelle is president of the Society of Women in Computer Science (SWICS). “That has helped me learn a lot about what it means to be a leader. One of the most important things -- and it applies everywhere -- is to not be afraid to ask for help,” she says. Michelle encourages new students to get involved in activities early on. “It doesn’t really matter what you join. There are so many things to do at UVM, you’re sure to find something you’ll like.” Read More