latest from Burlington
Van Wagner at the wheel:
It is so rewarding to create a machine literally from nothing and
be able to compete in a vehicle that we built. I learned about deadlines,
commitment, how far a little support goes, and that talk is cheap until
you actually physically get something done.
Van Wagner and fellow engineering students on the Catamount
Racing Team drove their mini-baja buggy to a top 20 placing out
of 129 teams in a summer competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive
at a Womans World
Feminist perspective guides geographers work
Joni Seager is not in the habit of breaking-and-entering. But she is willing
to wager that she could step inside an empty home in just about any middle-class
American neighborhood and quickly discern copious information about the
inhabitants from their economic situation and ideas of good taste
to ethnicity and gender relationships.
Seager, UVM professor of geography, is one of the worlds foremost
scholars of feminist geography a rapidly expanding field of research
that explores the shape and shift of womens lives across continents
and cultures. Her research sends her searching for clues in homes, offices,
and institutions that reveal how men and women identify their own gender
roles and view the opposite sex.
It has been sixteen years since Seager and her colleague Ann Olson published
their groundbreaking book, The State of Women in the World Atlas.
The volume reported on the worldwide status of women and showed specifically
how womens welfare can be an index of the worlds present and
future wellbeing. Through maps, text and other graphics, the first edition
of the Atlas captured the shape of womens lives through issues
including property rights, beauty culture, and domestic violence and explored
womens roles in government, at work, and in the global economy.
Praised by the Washington Post as the innovative atlas no
thoughtful person, male or female, should be without, the book merited
critical kudos and prestigious awards. With a second edition published
in 1997 and third due next spring, the Atlas is a standard reference
book used internationally by students in grade school through college
and published in nearly a dozen languages.
Is the Atlas a book targeted solely to women? Absolutely not, says
Seager. Human rights abuses permeate all layers of a society,
she explains. Wherever you find women who are deprived of basic
human rights, you are not going to have great social structures.
For instance, it is not only fundamentalist groups such as Afghanistans
former Taliban that treat women demonically, Seager say. In
countries including Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Sudan,
restrictions on womens personal freedom range from mandatory dress
codes to limited or no access to education and jobs. Female genital mutilation
intended to prevent women from infidelity and anchor them to home
and hearth is practiced extensively in both the Middle East and
In nearly every world culture, Seager says, if women are not assertive,
their interests are put on the back burner. That lesson was learned in
Rwanda, Cambodia, and Bosnia. A recent United Nations resolution
that mandates women must be involved in post-crisis reconstruction has
raised womens voices in war-torn countries above a whisper, but
those voices often must be loud and repetitive to be heard. Because they
generally handle mundane family details, women often are the first to
notice when the water from the tap smells funny or when children seem
chronically sick. But Seager says that scientists and technology experts
are slow to understand the importance of womens observations and
concerns about the natural world.
Seagers own professional interests have taken her down many research
paths, and have elicited interest from mainstream media such as CNN, USA
Today, and BBC World Radio. She wrote about polar bear migration in
Manitoba in the New York Times and reported for Ms. magazine
on how military-think contributed to Midwestern floods in
1993. She challenged the concept of George Bush, Sr., as a pseudo-environmental
president in the Village Voice, and discussed global overpopulation
an issue she believes is rooted in mens need to control womens
bodies on National Public Radios Living on Earth.
In the 2001 book, Putting Women in Place, Seager and co-author
Mona Domosh, a Dartmouth geography professor, took a global look at the
gendering of place and space, from the arrangement of furniture
in Victorian homes to the movements of refugees across contemporary borders.
While Seagers activities and interests might appear to be all over
the map, she says the synergy among them fuels her research and teaching.
They all relate, she says, to her personal manifesto: The better
the state of women, the better the state of the world. Lynda
Kiplingers Personal Finance magazine ranked the University
of Vermont number 64 in its recent Best Public Colleges list, up from
95 in the 2000 ranking, the last year the magazine compiled the list.
The magazine narrowed the 100-best list down from a field of more than
500 U.S. public colleges and universities. Weve heard anecdotal
evidence that UVM is a hot school, said UVM President Daniel Mark
Fogel. This is objective corroboration that were indeed on
a strong upward surge.
Ann Porter G76 retired this summer from the directorship
of the Fleming Museum, a position she held for thirteen years. Recognizing
Porters long career with the museum, twenty-three years in all,
Sen. Patrick Leahy said, All Vermonters, especially those in the
University of Vermont community, owe Ann a debt of gratitude for making
the museum an important center of learning and enjoyment for all of its
visitors. Janie Cohen, Fleming curator and assistant director for
the past eleven years, has been appointed director.
Robert Nashs article on How Sept. 11, 2001, Transformed
my Course on Religious Pluralism, Spirituality and Education, was
summarized in the June 26 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Nash, a professor of integrated professional studies, originally published
the article in the journal Religion and Education. An interview
with Nash in the Fall 2001 issue of Vermont Quarterly focused on
the professors views on teaching religion in public schools. To
read it on-line: http://www.uvm.edu/%7Euvmpr/
Prof shares national inventors honor
In science, complexity starts with simple curiosity, and big breakthroughs
can arise from basic questions. George Long, professor of biochemistry,
knows this well. A new drug, which has the potential to save thousands
of lives, began when he applied his lifelong joy in unfolding the mysteries
of creation to a particular crucial protein.
The process of investigation was exhilarating, it was so exciting
to finally satisfy my curiosity of what that molecule actually was,
says George Long of his early 1980s work analyzing human protein
C at the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly.
His goal wasnt necessarily to create a blockbuster drug after
all, only one in 10,000 lab molecules become marketable products
but the protein nonetheless has become a star. Its the active ingredient
in Xigris, the only drug to treat severe sepsis, a massive all-body infection
that kills as many as 300,000 people each year. In recognition of his
efforts in launching the project, Long was part of a group that won one
of the nations most prestigious awards for breakthrough inventions.
Longs path to the Intellectual Property Owners Association Inventor
of the Year awardan honor he shares with the inventors of the artificial
heart, liquid crystal display and Bose loudspeakers began in his
childhood backyard. One evening in 1957, his father took him outside and
together they watched the Russian Sputnik satellite make a ghostly trace
across the sky.
I got excited about science that night, Long says.
His enthusiasm accompanied him to graduate school at the University of
Washington, through academic and private sector jobs, and finally to UVM,
where he is still investigating the intriguing protein underlying the
sepsis drug. Long spent last summer on a grueling traipse through rural
Vermont and Quebec. He was part of a team interviewing and examining members
of a large family that share a blood-clotting disorder caused by a rare
genetic mutation that influences the production of human protein C. Painstakingly
tracing the diffusion of the gene through the 700-member family may yield
new insights into the genetics and mechanics of blood-clotting disorders.
Already the team believes they have traced the faulty gene back to a couple
who emigrated to Canada from France in the mid 1600s a result
curious. Kevin Foley
About Great Teachers
The annual Kroepsch-Maurice Teaching Awards honor UVM faculty who excel
in their ability to communicate and inspire. Who better than a former
student to share insight into what makes a great teacher great? The words
that follow, from those who supported the nominations of the 2002 winners,
offer a glimpse into the lasting impact of outstanding teaching.
James Kraushaar, Associate Professor, Business
I honestly believe, especially looking back on it now, that as much
learning came from the process we were engaged in, as from the actual
content, which we studied and were taught. Working in teams of four or
five people taught me volumes on how to deal with people, all types, the
loud and quiet ones, the over-achievers and under-achievers. These are
valuable lessons I use every day of my business career. Mark
Stephanie Kaza, Associate Professor, Natural Resources & environmental
Her own practice of engaged Buddhism added emphasis to her teaching
about the variety of radical environmental philosophies and their common
thread of turning beliefs into concrete action. Our assignments were specifically
designed to make us examine our own values, and no matter what we found
them to be, put them into practice outside the classroom. This was a lesson
that has remained with me ever since. Rachel Jolly 94
Ned Lecky, Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
I first met Dr. Ned while stumbling over my own books, binders and
papers, my mind skeptically preoccupied with my college career when it
should have been focused on junior exams. That day, fortunately, his door
was open. Id heard from peers that Dr. Ned was the man to know.
Walking into his office was the smartest thing I did that year.
Joseph Schall, Professor, Biology
When I sat down to prepare for another Schall Lecture,
I got myself ready to work. And when the period ended, although I was
always tired, feeling as though I had definitely gotten my moneys
worth, I invariably wanted more. Often I would try to linger just a little
longer in the settling intellectual wake, just for one more anecdote or
spry remark, before ducking into the caverns of Given for the rest of
my day. Josh Krembs
Sheila Weaver, Lecturer, Statistics
The idea of college-level statistics sent a ripple of fright and
anxiety to the furthest reaches of my stomach and the very tips of my
Sheila Weaver, the professor who guided me through that
semester-long numerical jungle, not only made the classroom environment
fun and conducive to learning, but, through service learning projects,
she also sought out ways to expand the educational experience beyond the
all-too-common boundaries of four walls and a blackboard.
Fine, Just Finish Your Milk
If kids dont end up with that tell-tale milk mustache
when they devour their lunches at day camp, school or home, they may not
be getting their daily requirement of calcium. But, popular ads to the
contrary, the mustache neednt be white pink or brown will
do. Rachel Johnson, acting dean of CALS, says her recent study indicates
that flavored milks give children the calcium they need in a form they'll
actually drink, without adding extra fat and sugar to their diets.
Her research, published in May in the Journal of the American Dietetic
Association, found that children who consume flavored milk have higher
calcium intakes than those who don't.
Researchers on the study evaluated data from the USDAs Continuing
Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals to determine the typical beverage
intake of 3,888 children (2,763 ages 5-11 and 1,125 ages 12-17). The results
showed that children who drink flavored milk consume fewer nutrient-poor
soft drinks and fruit drinks than their counterparts who don't drink flavored
And while many moms may be concerned that flavored milk will add
to their childs added sugar intake, this study shows that flavored
milk actually helps boost their overall calcium intake, without impacting
total added sugar intake, Johnson, the studys lead author,
said. By encouraging flavored milk consumption, parents can help
reverse the trend toward soft drink and fruit drink consumption, which
are crowding out more nutritious beverages like milk and negatively impacting
childrens diet quality.
IBM Grant Will Boost Vermont Education
The UVM College of Education and Social Services will partner with the
Vermont Department of Education and the Vermont State Colleges on a $1.5
million grant from IBM designed to deliver higher-quality training and
resources for Vermonts preparing and practicing teachers.
This project provides an opportunity to work with our partners in
Vermont to further develop the ways that UVM is preparing educators to
integrate technology in their practice, their research, and their own
planning for lifelong learning and professional growth, says Jill
Tarule, dean of the College of Education and Social Services.
The IBM grant will unite a number of state initiatives through IBM Learning
Village new Web-based educational tools designed to drive higher
student achievement. The grant will ultimately impact both student and
veteran teachers across the state.
The Vermont grant is part of a $15 million Reinventing Education grant
program announced August 22, the third round of such grants from IBM since
1994. Vermont was awarded $2 million from the first IBM school reform
grants to create Standards Into Action, a set of online tools to help
teachers connect Vermonts education standards to classroom practice.
On the Civil Rights Trail
Martin Luther King died years before Debi Budnick, a senior in environmental
science, was born. But after spending a week in Alabama and Georgia
walking the bridge from Montgomery to Selma, standing on the courthouse
steps on the day Bobby Cherry began his trial for the 1963 murder of four
black church girls the past became tangibly present for the 21-year-old.
Budnick, along with seven other students and two staff, participated in
UVMs first Alternative Summer Break. (Volunteer alternative
breaks during other recesses are a well-established tradition; last
year, students had 19 other opportunities to volunteer a weekend or a
week.) The idea behind the summer trip, says Andrew Feldman, UVMs
community service coordinator, was to offer students another opportunity
to combine exploration, service, reflection and teaching.
They all have to bring what they learned back to Burlington,
Feldman explains. Break participants, who wrote application essays to
win a coveted spot in the trip van, will give slide and classroom presentation
this fall to their peers.
But some things, Budnick says, are impossible to bring back. The feeling
of spending a week with eight others, sharing late nights, work on soup
lines and emotional conversations about race and privilege. The emotion
of the groups visit to the Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama.
We spoke to a woman named Joanne there who was in the Selma march,
Budnick recalls. She was moved to tears telling a story that she
has told millions of times to visitors. Thats when it finally hit
me that all this had taken place so recently. Joanne is my mothers
age, it could have happened to my mother. Or me.
Media Turn to Gause for Saudi Expertise
When national news media need expert commentary on United States-Saudi
relations, they frequently seek out Gregory Gause, director of UVMs
Middle East Studies Program. The associate professor of political science
provided analysis of the breakdown in U.S.-Saudi Arabian relations in
prominent articles posted by the Reuters and Yahoo! news wires in mid-August.
Gause was also interviewed August 13 on National Public Radios All
Things Considered program, where he said there appears to be a consensus
among the neo-conservative right that Saudi Arabia isnt a
good bet for the United States anymore. Read the transcript of the
NPR interview at http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/transcripts/2002/aug/020813.ohara.html.
Gause, whose teaching and research interests focus on the politics of
the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf area, travels regularly to the Middle East
and has visited the region three times since Sept. 11, 2001.
Rains Trickle-Down Effect
Amid the recent hoopla over the EPAs and Bush administrations
plans to make it easier for power plants, oil refineries and chemical
factories (major sources of acid rain nationwide) to expand without installing
new pollution controls and the U.S. Senates passing the Clean Power
Act, theres an important new wrinkle to the story.
A study by UVM researchers finds that acid rains damage to Americas
forests may be much more widespread than previously believed. It may actually
create conditions in trees similar to compromised immune systems in humans,
creating a potentially grave scenario.
As with immune-compromised humans, plants may appear and function
as if they were healthy, until exposed to even a routine stress or disease,
then experience declines far more exaggerated than expected, says
Donald DeHayes, dean and professor in the School of Natural Resources.
DeHayes co-authored the study published in June by the journal Ecosystem
Up to now, acid rain has been associated with the decline of forests in
certain specific locations. DeHayes and colleagues, UVM senior researcher
Gary Hawley and USDA Forest Service scientist and UVM adjunct faculty
Paul Schaberg previously documented the mechanism through which acid rain
depletes calcium and weakens high elevation red spruce trees, making them
more vulnerable to winter freezing injury.
Their new work shows that this mechanism is also applicable to other tree
species, including balsam fir, white pine, and eastern hemlock. Because
calcium is a critical ingredient in the plant's stress response system,
acid rains depletion of cellular calcium may suppress the capacity
of trees to survive environmental stresses.
This connection between calcium deficiency and environmental stress exposure
is already a known common component in the declines of red spruce, sugar
maple and flowering dogwood. The immune response hypothesis
provides an overarching explanation of how acid rain ultimately threatens
DeHayes points out those calcium deficiencies in plants are passed on
to herbivores, altering their nutrition. For instance, birds eating calcium-
deficient plant material might have less calcium for egg production. Insects
could experience weaker exoskeletons. Mammals could have weaker bones
or change in the quantity or quality of milk production.
The research was funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
with long-term support of Vermont Sen. James Jeffords.
This important new research shows the insidious harm that acid rain
is causing to our trees and wildlife, said Jeffords. We know
how to stop acid rain, but have not had the will to do so.
Put Your Furniture Where Your Mouth is
When eight scientists planned their move from the University of Maryland
to the University of Vermont this fall to set up The Gund Institute for
Ecological Economics, they realized that they could communicate the essence
of a complicated concept such as ecological economics with
something as simple as their own office furniture.
So instead of pointing his finger at some metal office units in a thick
catalog promising delivery in 7-14 business days, Gund Institute Director
Robert Costanza chose a longer process from tree to table that not only
produced sturdy Vermont-made furniture but also built sturdy all-Vermont
relationships and helped Vermonts economy.
Early on, Costanza connected with three key Vermont organizations: The
Vermont Family Forests, The Cornerstone Project and Beeken Parsons. Working
together, they set in motion a furniture-building process thats
a picture of Green Mountain sustainability.
Vermont Family Forests connected land owners in Charlotte with a logger
from West Bolton. A Hinesburg trucker delivered the logs to the sawmill
in Pittsford. The lumber is now drying at a kiln in St. Johnsbury. Under
the direction of Beeken Parsons, it will be sized and rough cut by woodworkers
in Fairfax and further worked in Vergennes, before returning to Beeken
Parsons for joinery, sanding and finishing. Further assembly and finishing
will be done in Island Pond. The furniture is expected to arrive in October
at the Gund Institute offices at 590 Main St. in Burlington.
The forest products industry in Vermont faces tremendous pressures
from global competition, said Edward Delhagen of the Vermont Sustainable
Jobs Fund. By focusing the demand for wood products locally, we
can build support for forest products businesses. We want to harness the
demand from places like UVM to help Vermont businesses and re-circulate
dollars in the states economy.
The work of the Gund Institute was profiled in the Spring 2002 issue of
Vermont Quarterly. On-line: http://www.uvm.
Willard Scott Under Glass
Artist Corin Hewitt is fascinated by the American fascination with the
weather and the weather forecasters we look to when deciding whether to
pack an umbrella. Hewitts vehicle for exploring this connection
is Today Show icon Willard Scott, and Vermonters have a chance
to get a firsthand look as the artists larger-than-life sculpture
of Scott is on display for the next year in an unused grain silo in Richmond.
Sketches and models related to the piece are on display at the Fleming
Museum through December 15. For more information: www.flemingmuseum.org
Live from Burlington, its Saturday night! Or Monday morning or Thursday
. The unblinking eye of the Web cam is your quick ticket
back to Burlington. Roger Ebert didnt return our calls, so we took
it upon ourselves to review some options.
Mount Mansfield Cam HHHH
Broods like a Bergman film. The Web buff with a few months to devote to
viewing will be richly rewarded by the face of the mountains seasonal
changes of expression. www.uvm.edu/~avan/
UVM Green Cam HHH1/2
Old Mill and The Green star. The building and trees are a bit slow, relying
on Prospect Street traffic and campus pedestrians to drive the narrative.
Debut novel rooted in Vermont
Describing the seeds of her first novel, alumna Maria Hummel calls forth
images that reveal her poets eye and spirit stone walls,
cellar holes, railroad tracks, old trolley tracks, strands of barbed wire
sunk deep into oak trees
A childhood fascination with the
history embedded in Vermonts landscape was among the inspirations
for Wilderness Run, a story revolving around the lives of two young
Vermont cousins during the Civil War.
Though Hummel proves adept with a driving narrative and vivid characterization
in Wilderness Run, her writing roots are in her award-winning poems.
Hummel says she fell hard for poetry in high school, and she
continued that focus while earning her bachelors in English at UVM,
and a masters of fine arts at the University of North CarolinaGreensboro.
Recalling her first college creative writing class, with Professor David
Huddle, Hummel says, To sit in the same room with a published author
was thrilling. That course was the first of many as Huddle would
become a major influence through his critique and by guiding her to contemporary
poets. He would also guide her to fellow English Department faculty member
Margaret Edwards, whom Hummel counts as another key
Currently at work on her next novel, Glass of Fire, (also under
contract with St. Martins) Hummel anticipates a time when poetry
will be a higher priority again. Poetry was and still is one of
the most deeply moving, frustrating, and fascinating things in my life,
Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide
Kevin Trainor, General Editor
Oxford University Press
Its a rare book that is equally at home in a scholars library
or on the coffee table. UVM Associate Professor of Religion Kevin Trainor
edited the publication and wrote several sections in this highly accessible,
photo-rich work exploring one of the fastest growing religions in Europe
and North America.
The Other Side of the World: Essays and Stories on Mind and Nature
William H. Eddy
Stinehour Press, printer;
Enfield Publishing, distributor
Alumni of UVMs Environmental Program will recognize a familiar voice
in this collection by Professor Emeritus Bill Eddy. Always thought-provoking,
Eddys writing draws on his extensive teaching, research, and work
throughout the world.
The Biker Code: Wisdom for the Ride
Geoffrey Moss 60 and Stuart Miller
Simon & Schuster
Painter/illustrator Geoffrey Moss, a UVM alumnus who received a Pulitzer
Prize nomination this year for his 9/11 work, displays his versatility
in The Biker Code. Teaming with fellow artist/Harley guy Miller,
Moss sheds light on the largely misunderstood American biker subculture
with this collection of interviews and striking black-and-white photo
portraits. Mantra-like bits of wisdom Consider every driver
blind as a bat are the bonus.
I would not consider Emily Brontë a misanthrope, though there is
hardly a character in Wuthering Heights that I would not cross
a street to avoid, with the notable exception of Heathcliff and Catherine,
to avoid whom I would not only cross a street, I would throw myself in
front of a bus. Garret Keizer G78 in his essay How
the Devil Falls in Love: Misanthropy, prejudice, and other follies,
Harpers Magazine, August 2002