|Students grow with research opportnities
After finishing his leftover spaghetti and a can of Coke, Jon
Gilbert went to the freezer for four tubes of proteins.
The 20-year-old junior microbiology and molecular genetics major
from Holliston, Mass., has been spending most of the summer in
Dr. Nicholas Heintzs lab looking for the places where a protein
called RIP60 binds to DNA.
If Gilbert is successful, his work could help scientists understand
cancer and other genetic diseases. But even if he is not successful,
he will have gained the experience of running his own research
project. Gilbert is one of nine undergraduates who conducted research
in science and engineering this summer in internships administered
by UVMs HELiX (Hughes Endeavor for Life Science Excellence) Program.
Many more students are doing research through SUGR/FAME, a UVM
program created this year to encourage research collaborations
between students and faculty.
Around campus, students are studying how diet affects heart disease;
how mothers develop confidence in their parenting ability; which
factors influence drug abuse and how they differ between rural
and urban areas; and where, on a parameciums outer membrane,
is the glutamate receptor.
Such projects delight President Judith Ramaley. My hope, Ramaley
says, is that every student at UVM will have the opportunity
to participate in the generation of knowledge and understanding.
Students could accomplish this, she says, by doing original research
on campus or in a community or field setting or doing community-based
and problem-focused projects, either as a part of the curriculum
or as a community intern or volunteer.
In this way, she says, our students can experience the challenges
and joys of scholarship and can learn more deeply through their
direct participation in the creation, interpretation and application
of knowledge to issues they care about.
HELiX has been placing students in science and medical labs for
more than eight years. HELiX administers Women in Science and
Engineering internships, which require a student to work with
a female researcher, and HELiX internships. The new UVM program,
SUGR/FAME (Stimulate Undergraduate Research Experience with Faculty
Mentoring), funded by the Presidents Office, awarded a total
of $95,933 for thirty-five research awards.
Working in a laboratory with a faculty member gives undergraduate
students a reality check, says Judith VanHouten, HELiX director
and Perkins Professor of Biology. Laboratory science is not appropriate
for all students, and they should find out early whether they
enjoy it, she notes. If they do, VanHouten says, the experience
can teach students proper techniques and provide mentors for their
university careers as they become the next generation of research
Aug. 8, nearing
The crossing for me has been an extraordinary, eye-opening experience
and represents both a sharing of the wonder of discovery the Vikings
must have enjoyed and the hardships they bore. The challenge of
navigating the strait has really put the meaning of our experience
and learning into perspective. While in fact we do have tons of
modern safety and navigational aids onboard Snorri (telefax, single
sideband, computer, GPS, etc. ad nauseam...) none of this knowledge
of support erodes the fact that at this point we, like the Vikings,
have little control over our destiny. We constantly work in amazement
at the weather changes, wondering when well see land (or if,
in their case) and what the distant shores will look like when
Last night we awoke for our watch at midnight, huddled bleary-eyed
in our underway hovel. The sounds of the boat flexing and creaking,
the swells slapping the hull then falling away, the wind whistling
through shrouds, the chafing leather on the mast squeaking in
unison with the rocking of the boat become oh-too-distant comforts
The musty smell of the damp sleeping bags weve bravely decided
to share with the opposite watch, escapes as we unzip the tent
and allow the fresh air in (its been more than a week since weve
had the chance to take the glacial bath). While it is darker now
and we need light to steer and perform boatwork, we slide into
the routine of donning the same (stinkingly familiar) clothes
and the Mustang suits that have become our weatherproof homes
while on deck.
This sanctuary creates an ethereal background for the ever-changing
realities of wind and weather. We joked before nodding off again
this morning that it seems wholly possible that we could emerge
for our next shift and step onto a tropical, white sand beach
in Tahiti or even into my backyard in the lush green valley
of Huntington, Vermont.I continually remind myself that the spectre
of awe Im discovering moment-to-moment, Leif Eriksson mustve
experienced on his first tour of Helluland, Markland, and Vinland:
the green columns of the Northern Lights dancing in the darkness
of the western skies, the full moon rising on the horizon offering
a glimmering beam over dark waters as if to show the way, and
behemoth icebergs appearing as islands in the distance, reflecting
the purple hues of the setting sun.
We are all sharing the rarity of these sights across the reaches of time. I no longer feel that being a modern person in modern times with modern technology at our fingertips erodes what weve undertaken or the magic were extracting from our time here together. Whenever the commitment to venture into an environment where the outcomes are unknown and success lies in the process of learning and growth demanded by the journey, you are outward bound and you are an explorer.
Ramaley on the road in Vermont
As a land-grant institution, UVM is mandated to serve the Vermont
people. To Ramaley, that means making the university accessible,
and so she is crisscrossing the state to find out what Vermonters
are striving for and how UVM might support those efforts. At a
June 2 lunch with community leaders in Rutland, she talked about
three areas essential to a vibrant community: public schools,
economic and community development, and the work force. Those
three form a triangle, Ramaley said, and she sees UVM in the center.
Ramaley plans to visit and revisit Vermont communities. At each
stop during this round of trips, which continues into November,
she tries to visit a school, teach in a classroom or view a school-business
partnership. She also aims to learn about community partnerships
with UVM and to meet local economic-development groups, business
leaders and media representatives
In Franklin County, as in many regions of the state, residents
want to build a skilled work force, and attract and support businesses
that offer high quality jobs. In Addison County, where more than
a dozen farmers meet monthly to discuss the industry, to share
information and to listen to industry experts, farmers urge UVM
to get students excited about agriculture. In Windsor County,
residents seek to train workers for high-tech jobs and to find
opportunities for employees to earn advanced degrees.
In Rutland, Ramaleys lunch companions discussed the need to attract
employers who offer high quality jobs; the need to provide job
training and options other than college; and the possibility of
teaming up local hotels, UVM, and other schools to offer training
in the hospitality industry.
Ramaley doesnt claim to have quick-fix solutions or to know whats best for the state. She knows what the university has to offer research and development skills, experts in everything from agriculture to zoology and, of course, education and this round of visits promises to better mesh the states needs with the universitys strengths.
Vermont hosts Hildegard conference
Scholars from around the world will gather to discuss Hildegards
correspondence as a medieval woman of letters, her influence on
liturgical music and practice, and her impact on science, medicine,
and politics. Topics such as gender and identity in Hildegards
work and her reception during her lifetime will also be covered,
as well as her surprising rise in popularity in the late 20th
Hildegard is recognized as a fascinating example of a woman struggling
to embody and communicate an integrated vision of spiritual and
material reality, says UVM Associate Professor of Religion Anne
Clark, one of the seminar organizers. Her vision stands in contrast
to a wide-spread perception that our own world is broken and dispersed.
In addition to Clark, UVM faculty involved in the event include
Jane Ambrose 63, director of the Lane Series and chair of the
Music Department; and Laurel Broughton 75 G82, lecturer in English.
Shyla Nelson Foster 91 is conference coordinator.
Knee-deep in Canada
Future Alumna, Lydia Battey '99
A senior in nursing, Batteys undergraduate years have been an
extraordinary balance of academic excellence and dedication to
her duties as an ROTC cadet. Lt. Col. Hank Galbreath, former head
of Military Studies at UVM, says, Lydia is one of those students
you feel privileged to teach. Shes not only one of the best students
we had through ROTC, but I expect one of the best students at
Battey was attracted to UVM by the strength of the School of Nursing
and the opportunity of an ROTC scholarship. She has made the most
of both. This summer she spent four weeks training and working
in a U.S. hospital in Germany, an intense experience made all
the more memorable by work caring for victims of the terrorist
bombings in Kenya. The people were wonderful, Battey says. They
had great spirits and were so encouraging of each other and supportive
of me in my work.
A member of the academic honorary Mortar Board, Battey will graduate
next spring and be guaranteed a nursing job in the military, another
attraction ROTC held for her. She hopes for an assignment in Korea
Looking back on her years as an undergraduate, Battey says that
ROTC training holds her fondest UVM memories from airborne school
(parachute training) to summer and winter mountain warfare schools.
It pushed me physically and mentally, Battey says. And the
camaraderie you develop with fellow cadets is incredible.
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