The University of Vermont Graduate College is pleased to announce that the recipients of the 2019-2020 Thomas J. Votta Scholarship are Kristin Raub, a Gund Graduate Fellow and PhD student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Taran Catania, a Sustainable Innovation MBA candidate in the Grossman School of Business.

Kristin Raub

Kristin Raub graduated from Boston University with a degree in Marine Science and went on to earn dual masters degrees from the University of Connecticut in Oceanography and Applied & Resource Economics. After spending a year In Washington, D.C. as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, she returned to her hometown of Burlington, VT to continue her PhD in Natural Resources at UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Kristin’s dissertation research applies an interdisciplinary, food-energy-water nexus perspective to the study and implementation of coastal resilience planning and policy. She is particularly interested in operationalizing the term “resilience” and connecting the planning that often occurs within individual sectors. Outside of research, Kristin loves to travel, sail, and can often be found wandering a beach in the winter.

Taran Catania

For Taran Catania, everything began when she fell in love with birds. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 2013, she worked as a field technician for endangered bird research. After witnessing firsthand the problems with modern conservation, Taran moved to Washington, DC to tackle these issues through a role in policy. For five years, she worked as a legislative representative for national wildlife conservation nonprofits, and later as an environmental staffer in the U.S. Senate. Taran also served two years on the executive board of DC EcoWomen, a nonprofit connecting and empowering women for environmental leadership in the nation’s capital.

As a current Sustainable Innovation MBA candidate in the Grossman School of Business, Taran is shifting her career to confront environmental challenges in new ways. She plans to use her MBA to connect socially and environmentally beneficial businesses with sustainable financing. She aspires to leverage the power of impact investing to build a more resilient and intersectional world, and to do so while modeling and promoting transformational leadership.

The Thomas J. Votta Memorial Fund is established by the friends and family of Tom Votta to provide annual scholarship assistance a UVM graduate student in the Grossman School of Business, College of Engineering and Mathematics, or Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources who, like Tom, wishes to make a difference in solving environmental problems and using environmental best practices to meet this goal. For more information on the student awards offered through the Graduate College and to read about previous awardees, please visit our website here.


Hayley Jean