Note: Entries are in order of graduation year, earliest first. So if you’re looking for someone in particular, scroll down!
Edward Freely (’53) writes that he is enjoying retirement and helping his grandson navigate his senior year of High School, choosing a college, while he is busy playing football. He still get calls from his former employees asking for advice on different situations. He thinks they are trying to keep him young. Ed is currently reading Tom Wheeler’s Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails and Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower. He prefers books that have a basis in history.
Owen Murphy (’53) says he has no news to share at the moment except his prayerful best wishes for the success of the newsletter and to comment that the English Department has a revered bloodline!
Vaughn Keller (’62) writes that his collection of poetry, short stories, and essays, entitled Glimpses, is available on Amazon, as well as his novel, Behind the Neon. He is working on a second novel and hopes to get it out soon.
Bob Butler (’64) writes that he is enjoying a partial retirement which enables him to teach a reduced load and devote much more time to research and writing. He continues to work on Richard Wright and has recently published articles on Black Power, A Father’s Law, and Rite of Passage. He delivered a paper at MLA this past January in Vancouver on Wright, James T. Farrell, and Theodore Dreiser. He has begun a new project on the contemporary novelist, Percival Everett. He continues to enjoy teaching, both at Canisius and at Wyoming Correctional Facility, where Canisius has a degree granting program. In 2010, Bob was inducted into the Saint Michael’s Academic Hall of Fame and celebrated for his many accomplishments in teaching and scholarship.
Ronald Sudol (’65) is Professor Emeritus of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University, formerly a branch of Michigan State University located in the Detroit suburbs. He retired as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2013 and previously served as Associate Provost and Director of the Writing Program. He is currently living in Boston and serving on the Board of Directors of The Lyric Stage Company there, as well as acting as Consultant to the College Board, the Educational Testing Service, and the U.S. Department of Education, Ron is working on a book about public higher education.
Joe Barnes (’67) writes that having retired from his thirty-eight year career as a middle and high school principal, he is now a Program supervisor at Curry College in Milton, MA assisting aspiring principals who are working toward MA licensure. He finds it a very rewarding job. He is in his sixth year as part of a men’s book club, in which they read excellent fiction and non fiction, most recently Bill Bryson’s One Summer, America 1927. The group always has great discussions.
Geoff Grant (’68) writes that he is mainly retired, but still doing some consulting in research management, a bit of a far cry from English and Literature. He has worked in research management, that is the management of research grants and contracts, at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Science Policy Office, as well as Stanford University and Partners HealthCare in Boston. He reports that his English major and liberal arts background have always stood him in good stead in terms of analytical skills and the enjoyment of different history and cultures. The major certainly contributed to his professional writing even though that had to be a lot more bureaucratic. He says: “now, I am primarily enjoying my photography avocation, but I do enjoy writing an occasional travel blog when I am on photo trips. See my website, which is being revised. http://edenfarmphotography.com I hope it comes close to the standards of a former St Mike’s English major. If not, I’ll come back for a summer refresher!”
John McGorry (‘68) writes that he is still a reader years after the school teaching he did at the beginning of his career and says the best novel he’s read in quite a while was Transatlantic by Colum McCann, which led him to McCann’s earlier novel, Let The Great World Spin, which he says might have been even more impressive. He also thoroughly enjoyed The Round House by Louise Erdrich. He says he is pretty much a fiction reader since current reality is not much fun to read about.
Tom Kelley (’69) writes that the tutoring he began in his senior year at SMC led to teaching and then to Boston College Law School. As trial lawyer, he used many reading/writing skills engendered in his SMC years, and did lots of “lawyer teaching” in seminar situations. He is now out of active practice, but sitting as private judge, mediating and arbitrating claims and law suits – writing opinions on litigated cases. Tom stayed in touch with SMC for more than twenty years by skiing with the teams, until knee surgery last year.
Richard Marquise (’69) writes that he has used his English degree throughout his career(s). He got started writing as the sports editor of the Michaelman and has been writing ever since, first as an Insurance Investigator and then as an FBI agent. He retired after more than thirty-one years as the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Oklahoma. During his career he wrote policy, letters to Congress and numerous editorials, and he attributes much of his writing ability to a solid high school education plus his four years at SMC–I did attend part time for another year in an attempt to get a MA in English but went into the FBI before I could finish. After finishing his time with the FBI (2002), he wrote a book about the one of the major investigations on which he worked: the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988: Scotbom: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation (2006). He is currently the Director of the State and Local Antiterrorism Training (SLATT) program which is sponsored by the US Department of Justice and provides training to police officers to allow them to understand the terrorist threat to our country and help prevent acts of terror here. He writes at least one article per month for SLATT and has had a number of others published in terrorist trade magazines on the topic of terrorism. I have also written curricula for the Department of State and taught for them abroad in many countries experiencing terrorism problems including Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines and others. He says that his experiences at SMC helped prepare him for what he has been asked to do in all stages of his life since graduation.
Dan Downing (’70) writes, “After a couple of years writing for magazines, mostly about dance, I hung up my Word Processor in the early 90s. Since then I have mostly contented myself with crank letters to the local newspapers and screeds on Facebook. Having retired two years ago, I thought I’d step up my reading, but I continue somehow to be limited to 100-110 books per year. My shelves are bursting. The appearance of two grandchildren during that two year span certainly accounts for some of the missing book time. As for what I read, I need to thank fellow alums Michael Bartley (for pointing me toward Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy) and David Keough for his recommendation and intervention with Herny Gole to cop me a signed copy of Exposing the Third Reich. Also, our class psychopath, Jim “Spartacus” Fallon, not only produced his “Psychopath Inside”, but put me onto the work of Dean Radin, among others. If anyone is so bored with life as to be interested in the rest of my reading, my Facebook page (Facebook.com/df.downing), under Notes, has lists from at least the past two years. I continue to eschew anything to do with PMLA, along with the poorly written in general. I did resurrect tapes of our jug band (recorded at The Third Thumb), which I had professionally transferred to CDs, along with material by “Tony and Betty.” The Drop Box access to that has expired, but if anyone is interested, drop me a note and I’ll cut and send a CD. That project got me in touch with Dan Vecchitto and Kevin Kennedy, which was a great pleasure. Both are doing well, as is Fr. Paul Farin, whom I have been fortunate enough to visit with in his Florida home. Mark Bluemling checks on me now and then to make sure I keep to the wild side. He and I and Bartley raised hell together a couple of years ago in Ocean City, N.J. Over two days we must have gone through at least a six pack of beer and two pizzas.
Richard Lynch (’70) writes that he retired four years ago after teaching English for 34 years at colleges in Illinois and Pennsylvania. He taught mostly writing and 19th and 20th century British Literature as well as courses on fairy tales and Russian Literature. In his last year Richard was part of a Ulysses reading group, an opportunity he hopes Saint Michael’s students also have. He reports that he is catching up on reading and writing projects now he is retired and attempting to learn Irish, which he says is quite difficult!
Richard Hatin (’71) is an award winning author with three novels in circulation; his first two are Evil Agreement and Deadly Whispers; his third novel, Miracle at Janet’s Mountain was published this past November. His author website is http://www.richardhatin.com. Richard and his wife Anne Marie are both retired. They serve on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Prostate Cancer Coalition and volunteer with the Granite State Ambassadors. They also volunteer as ushers for the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH. Richard has just finished a coffee-table book marking the centennial of the Palace Theatre. Finally, he volunteers with his community youth soccer program where he serves as the Director of Coaching Development.
Edward R. Flanagan (’73) writes that he got an MBA from NYU’s Stern School and is married with three grown sons. He and his wife live in Boxford, MA. Since 1995, Edward has been President & CEO of Jasper Wyman & Son, the foremost wild blueberry grower/processor/marketer with farming and processing operations in Maine, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. He says that as an at-risk stakeholder he is particularly involved now in pollinator health issues. He reports that his thinking is generally a bit right of center across most social and political issues. As for reading, he enjoyed Antonia Fraser’s biography of Cromwell, having wanted to understand what made him so homicidal toward the Irish. He also loved Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis and The Son, by Philipp Meyer, but hated Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (though his wife loved it).
David D. Scannell (’73) writes that he is in his 41st year of public secondary teaching, the first 36 as a (mostly) high school English teacher, the last six as a high school library media specialist. Most of his career has been at Berlin High School in Connecticut. David says that he is grateful to St. Michael’s for the breadth and depth of content contained in the then program of studies, and he hopes not much has changed with that; it has been an important anchor for his teaching. He adds that the quality of the students from his school that go on to St. Michael’s is routinely high, which he says certainly reflects the quality of the education offered.
Bob Turcot (’73) writes that on the professional front he is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker having completed his Master’s degree from Adelphi University in 1983. He is currently working at Fletcher Allen Health Care as a counselor in the Employee and Family Assistance Program, and recently completed all of the requirements and the examination for my license as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor as well. On the literature front, he is reading the poetry of his niece Betsy Turcot, also an English major at SMC.
Gina Haddock (’74) writes that her regular work is in development at the Flynn Center but that she has been covering the local business news for our Richmond, VT paper called The Times Ink as her community involvement. Her husband, Bill and she co-author The Business Beat, which she says is a lot of fun.
Kim Brian Lovejoy (’74) is associate Professor of English at Indiana University of Liberal Arts, where he teaches courses in the writing and literacy concentrations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and directs the Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing and the Graduate Writing and Literacy Program. His research focuses on linguistic and cultural diversity and the pedagogies and practices that help teachers rethink their teaching in light of new theories of language as well as new voices emerging in a rapidly changing demographic. His coauthored book, Other People’s English: Code-Meshing, Code-Shifting, and African American Literacy (Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 2014), is an enactment of his teaching philosophy in a multilingual, multicultural nation where “standard” language ideology often fails to recognize the voices of marginalized students and thus their ability to achieve the intellectual aims of a university education. He is also editor of the Journal of Teaching Writing.
Lorayne Mundy (’74) writes that after 25 years of working Foreign Military Sales for the U.S. Navy, she began a new career teaching English literature. She says, “students in my current classes have never read a “book,” prefer the movie version of “Beowulf,” have never heard of Milton, and don’t really see the value of classical literature as it pertains to landing a job. But SMC taught me how to tackle a challenge. I call it my “Literary Conversion Class,” and though there are no angelic hosts or Greek choruses singing, I am enjoying the dawning of the light as the semesters progress. How I wish I could give my students a glimpse of the love for teaching and learning that existed on the SMC campus. Even my sons keep saying, ‘Mom, this isn’t St. Mike’s!’ So keep up the good work, and spread the word.”
Kate “Tink” Messner (’79) reports that she has gotten increasingly involved in local politics, first when she agreed to canvass door to door to support her son when he was Field Director for Hudson New Hampshire for Jeanne Shaheen’s U.S. Senate run in 2008. She found the work so intriguing that she has made two runs for State Senate herself. She writes: “Going house to house you can’t help but take home the fact that some people are much more affluent while others are destitute. And happiness isn’t necessarily the domain of either lifestyle. There were pleasant, intelligent people in both circumstances. There were also nasty ones. I came to realize first hand that democracy is a job for all of us, not just those remote politicians. “We, the People” own it, or not at our choosing. With her new commitment to politics, Tink hopes to make a difference in the state where she has lived for three decades and raised four wonderful children.
Mark Madigan (’83) is a Professor of English at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. He writes “I am grateful for the education, inspiration, and guidance I received from my professors at St. Michael’s, especially Marie Henault and John Reiss.”
David Simko (’83) writes that he is a Principal Information Developer for ACI Worldwide, Inc., a leader in electronic payments software. He says he uses his English degree every day, and has for as long as he has been a technical writer, almost 30 years. He says: “the technical writing profession has changed completely from being solely a content provider to being an advocate for the consumer of the content and shaping the user experience through various forms of user assistance and user interface. From the tools we use to the approach we take and the mindset required to produce and deliver content, it’s all very exciting and a far cry from when I started and shared a typewriter.” He has been married for 26 years to classmate Linda Bruno. Five children (2 girls, 3 boys), the oldest transferred to SMC this year for her Junior year and is living in the 300 townhouses, two doors from where he lived in ’82-’83. He noticed the furniture is the same, and looks forward to visiting campus regularly over the next two years. He adds that he has been enjoying audio books during his commute, including, recently Roots, The Boys in the Boat, Unbroken, and Killing Jesus. Next is [Oscar Wilde’s] The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Kathy (McNabb) Hatch (‘85) has lived in Hong Kong, Korea, and London teaching and tutoring English language and literature to students of all ages from middle school to graduate students. Before moving abroad, she earned her Master’s degree in English Lit. from Western Conn. State and taught English in American high schools. More recently, since returning to the States, she has started an on-line college counseling business which coaches students on their college essays. She also recently returned to the Burlington, Vermont area (with my husband, Michael Hatch, class of ’84, and two teenage children) and is continuing her on-line business in addition to teaching an English Composition course at CCV. She says it’s great to be back in Vermont.
Mary Ryan (’85), whose career has taken several twists and turns since her time at SMC, ultimately pursued a career in nutrition, getting her Master of Science in Foods & Nutrition in 2001 and becoming a Registered Dietitian. Her work continues to include a combination of writing, teaching and counseling. She wrote a nutrition field guide for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) published by Stackpole Books in 2008. Since then she has continued to generate educational handouts regularly and has a blog for her business, “Beyond Broccoli Nutrition Counseling & Education” where she writes throughout the year. As for her reading, she says it’s an eclectic mix “with way more non-fiction than I ever anticipated making the mainstay of my literary diet! Currently I’m reading The Third Plate by Dan Barber, The End of Overeating by David Kessler, and Living with your Body and Other Things You Hate by Emily Sandoz and Troy DuFrene. I also keep a subscription to The Sun [literary] Magazine just to make sure I don’t go full nutrition geek!”
Diane LeBlanc (’86) reports that 2016 has been a productive year. She finished a co-authored oral history of Title IX and women’s leadership in sport, which will be out later this year. At St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), she celebrated promotion to full professor of interdisciplinary studies, which reflects my teaching in writing, gender studies, and American Studies. She continues to direct the college writing program and serve on the executive board of Small Liberal Arts Colleges Writing Program Administrators. This is all in addition to her past work, which includes a new collection of poems published in 2014, Sudden Geography (Finishing Line Press) and an essay, “Work in Progress,” to Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts (Oxford University Press, 2014). The essay includes fond memories of Professors Giff Hart and John Engels as she recalls why she became an English major and an English professor.
Maria Gallo (’87) is enjoying her private law practice; she handles contested custody cases and criminal cases. She coordinated and led a Girl Scout Program on Women in the Law in which the girls got to watch real trials and is developing a whole series of GS programs about women in “traditionally male” careers. She is also a “bad dog” hearing officer and has held several trials, one of which involved a seeing eye dog and issues of new law regarding bad dogs and the ADA. In addition to work, Maria reports that she is kept busy by her two kids, a husband and their recent trip to Ireland.
Neila (Anderson) Decelles (’88) dropped us a gracious and insightful note, for which we thank her: “I truly enjoyed perusing this wonderful newsletter; truth be e-mailed, I generally skip almost anything related to this genre. But I noticed my treasured English professor, Carey Kaplan, would share her night-table reading, learned another of my favorite teachers now chairs the department, and paused to think about the man who taught both my brother and me about the finer nuances of empathy in King Lear, and I just kept reading.
“The emphasis upon the spiritual relationship between the person and the page that connects us to people centuries ago and helps us to explore the chasms in our own hearts and souls, that both project us into the future and connect us to all other souls–this sustains me, in so many ways that defy the entrapment of language. As the director of a day treatment program in northern Vermont, I have worked closely with our special educators, clinicians, and teachers to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to learn to love to read. I have been humbled by the insights of trauma survivors who read at a 4th grade reading level but weep to find kindred souls in Beloved, The Fault in Our Stars, Touching Spirit Bear, or The God of Small Things. Stories, written well, read well, felt well, hold our hearts and sometimes help us to find shelter in one another without the stress of the actual other(s) physically present.”
Mary Fitzgerald (’88) got an M.Ed. from the Vermont Mathematics Initiative at UVM in 2003 Currently she is a K-8 math specialist at BFA in Fairfax where she has spent the last 26 years. She has come back to SMC recently for her 4th course focusing on school leadership as she pursues certification as either a principal or curriculum coordinator. Mary has raised two children, traveled to each of the 50 states, hiked to the highest points of 20 (?) of them, run a 10K on the Great Wall of China, and visited some of the smallest European countries. When she is not working or traveling, she lives in the Champlain Islands.
After getting her masters in English at Boston College, where she taught freshman English, Kathleen (Kenney) Lucente (’89) did a stint as VP and Regional Head of Corporate Communications for JP Morgan Chase Asia Pacific, among other things. In 2005, she moved to Austin, Texas, where she owns Red Fan Communications and, as she puts it, has “two amazing kids–Gillian Grace (about to be 13) and Owen Michael (just turned 11).” Kathleen also says. “I really enjoyed coming to the reunion in Winooski after living far away for so long. Seeing familiar faces and sharing stories was wonderful!”
Larry DiBernardo (’90) writes that he teaches English at North Haven High School in CT. and has been teaching there for 20 years.
Shannon (Rowe) Gardner (’90) writes that both her English and Political Science majors have been critical to her career. After graduating, Shannon worked as an editor and manager for a medical company, and then happily taught English for fourteen years. After two more degrees, she now works in the curriculum department for my district as well as teaching ESL at the community college at night. She works with teams of teachers to develop curriculum in both Political Science and English, proving, as she says, Robert Frost’s sentiment that sometimes “way leads on to way.” Shannon has discovered how useful an English degree is, and hopes current students won’t worry or doubt their choice. She says, “English majors are very important in almost any office environment…they will have to get used to people saying, ‘Would you mind taking a look at this for me before I send it out?’ Most fields today require people with strong writing skills, and English majors should not be surprised at how highly they are valued.” Shannon remembers the vibrant intellectual atmosphere of St. Michael’s–calling it a place of deep faith and deep learning. She is happy to hear from her daughter, Lily, SMC class of ‘18 “that the flame is still burning at St. Michael’s.” To her fellow alums, she says “Vermont is still beautiful, the campus looks gorgeous, and Burlington is still fun!”
John Regan (’90) has been in Seattle since 1992 and currently works as a content writer for T-Mobile based in Bellevue, WA. He is also studying screenwriting and completed a Master Of Professional Writing degree from Chatham University in 2011. He supplied two links to his writing: https://www.facebook.com/reganwrites; http://labs.triggerstreet.com/johnregan. In terms of reading, he loves the work of J. Robert Lennon and was lucky to see Dennis Lehane read in Seattle and to meet him afterwards.
C.J. Spirito (’90) writes that he is in his fourth year as the Head of School at Rock Point, a Burlington school that has been educating adolescents in enriching and transformative ways for 86 years. He says: “reading has been mostly education articles and current news for work, sports stories, mysteries, and poetry for pleasure. I’ve been on a Billy Collins and Mary Oliver run lately, but I bumped into some of David Huddle’s poems at just the right times in different anthologies. Just read a playful book called The Sherlockian and am sharing it with my elder son, Miles, who has been a Sherlock hound recently.”
Maureen (Mo) Hanna (’92) is proud to report that after a decade of ski bumming, she has put her degree to use. She has been teaching middle school language arts for the past decade in and around Telluride, Colorado. In addition to her English degree from St. Michael’s, she has also received her teaching certification from Regis University in Denver and her Master’s in English for Speakers of Other Languages from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO. She says “If you ever find yourself in southwestern Colorado, stop by Telluride. You won’t be disappointed!”
Chris Whittaker (’92) says he misses many things about St. Mike’s especially when the leaves start changing color. He has been on the west coast since graduation in locations where they don’t celebrate four seasons. He married an English major from San Diego State, and they currently reside in San Elijo Hills and have two children. He works at Solutions Real Estate. He says, “We are minutes from the beach which compared to my 18 years in Las Vegas is like paradise every day. My son is 7 and daughter is 3 and we love our life here in California and wouldn’t change it for the world. I encourage reading in my home and enjoy reading to my kids, and when I’m not doing that I read lots of business books, mostly about productivity, mindset, being a leader, learning from history, etc. I’ve also recently read some spiritual books from Wayne Dyer and love the mindfulness. I’m looking forward to more travel, beach memories, family time, success and joy in the decades to come.
Charles “Chuck” Conroy (’93) practices immigration law in New York City. He has his own practice representing immigrants facing deportation and those trying to get legal status. If anyone wants to get in touch with him, they can do so through his website at conroyimmigration.com.
Shannon M. Parker (‘93) writes that her debut Young Adult novel will be released from Simon Pulse (a division of Simon & Schuster) in 2016. She says that she credits 97.34% of her writing success to the Incomparable Goddess of Literary Craft, Professor Lorrie Smith. After leaving SMC, Shannon went on to earn degrees at University of Massachusetts at Boston and University of Southern Maine. She devotes her professional self to advocating for adult and family literacy. Her personal career is absorbed by the wrangling of terrifying little beasties.
Vince LaVecchia (’95) writes that he has recently read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, World Order by Henry Kissinger, and Failure is not an Option by Gene Kranz. He has been thinking about: How do I explain the tough parts of life to my 3 year old? What’s going on with the weather around here? What’s going on with things in Space? When can I retire and become a teacher? What he has been doing can be summed up: Running Instrument, a digital creative agency in Portland, Oregon, raising Owen: an energetic 2.5 yr old, who is smarter than me; tending an orchard while waiting for the rains to begin; odering a large wood pile to get through Winter in Oregon.
Jenn Marlow (’97) is Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of First year Writing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. She reports having recently had a documentary film (Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor) about adjunct labor and writing instruction that she co-produced and directed with a colleague published by an online academic press. It’s open access, so anyone can watch it, and it can be found at: http://ccdigitalpress.org/conjob/.
Mark Chapman (’99) writes that he lives in East Bridgewater, MA with his wife and three young children, Jack, Ben, and Nora. He has been a funeral director for the past fifteen years, and his writing has mostly been obituaries. He is an avid reader of the news, but also recently enjoyed Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.
Lisa Chesnel (’99) is currently a writer/editor at the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General in Washington, DC, where she reads audit and investigation reports for a living. She started working at Peace Corps headquarters in 2010 after her husband Matt Sheehey (’98) and I returned from serving in the Peace Corps in Panama from 2007-09. They have two sons, Peter and Patrick. Matt is the press secretary for his hometown (Kinderhook, NY) Congressman Chris Gibson, who represents New York’s 19th District. Lisa is reading The Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth by Lillian Nayder in the little spare time she has.
Shane Rocheleau (’99) is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography at both Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University. He is an artist, who uses photography primarily though not exclusively. He is working on two books/exhibitions of photography, one collaborative, and presently has work in an exhibition in Munich, Germany: f56.net (second image on home page). His website is: shanerocheleau.com. Last summer he finished The Executioner’s Song, by Norman Mailer, one of the best pieces of literature he’s ever had the pleasure of reading!
Kate Mullin (‘00) writes that she is teaching at Saratoga Springs High School in New York and that she has two boys, ages 2 and 6
Gretchen (Coyle) Donohue (‘00) writes that she is in her 13th year teaching English at Dover-Sherborn High School in Dover, MA. She received her Masters from UMASS Boston in 2011, and wrote her thesis on the connections between Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and E.M. Forster’s Maurice.
Nicole Colantoni (’01) recently published two books. She published a poetry memoir entitled, Maine Days and a children’s book called The Friendly Chickadees last summer.
Zach Hamilton (‘01) teaches English internationally and has taught in Colombia, Turkey, and currently in Chile. He says he is trying to read Dracula in Spanish but it is slow going.
Brandon Benevento (’02) is living with his wife, Amy, an interior designer, in Branford CT, and working on a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Connecticut.
Jess Freire (’02) is thrilled to report that she is back in Burlington after spending the last seven years in Wyoming. She is the State Training Coordinator for Vermont Emergency Medical Services and volunteering every other Saturday as a paramedic with St. Michael’s Fire & Rescue.
Angela Potts (’02) writes that she had the great honor of serving in the Peace Corps in Malawi with the Master’s International program, getting her MA in TESOL from American University. She spent three years as an English Language Fellow with the U.S. State Department, two years in Indonesia and a year in Zambia. Now she is the Program Coordinator and Instructor at a private language institute at the University of Rhode Island, getting her yoga teacher training certificate on the side. Angela is currently setting her next trajectory to offer yoga, meditation and other forms of healing at a beautiful resort in Malawi, or wherever else she feels called (SMC English Alums will have a sizable discount!!!). Angela has continued to pursue singing and included two links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NpYVebUKng (2012); http://www.reverbnation.com/angelapotts (2009)
Rebecca Shields Tay (’02) writes that she taught middle and high school English for five years in Arizona and Californa before leaving the field to parent her children. She and her family have moved all over the country because of her husband’s job as a Naval officer in the Civil Engineer Corps. They are now living in Maine for two years. The couple has three young children. Rebecca says there have been many challenges over the past years, especially when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan when they had just moved to Mississippi, far from family and friends and their newborn needed surgery. She says that surviving that year was one of the great accomplishments of her life. Yoga, books, hobbies, advice from older parents, and introspection have helped her, as she says, “find an imperfectly perfect place.” Recently, Rebecca has learned to throw pots as well as taking up painting again, and catch up with her New Yorker reading. She recommends a great source for novels written by women about conflict: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soniah-kamal/women-write-war_b_5662555.html.
Rilda (Letourneau) Kissel (’03) writes that she received her Masters in Higher Education Administration from Boston University in 2007 and currently works at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a program administrator. Her work includes advising and student support. She lives north of Boston with her husband, whom she met while volunteering with the Edmundite Volunteer Corp after graduation from SMC. They have a two year old son Jonah and are expecting a daughter this spring. Rilda recently completed her first half marathon.
Kate Browne (’04) writes that after SMC, she worked for JetBlue Airways in Airport Operations at both Burlington Airport and JFK until she moved to the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii last year and got involved with Team Rubicon, a non-profit that unites veterans and first responders to provide disaster relief. In this work, Kate says, she has found her calling. She will begin an MA in International Disaster Management at the University of Manchester in Manchester, England in September of 2015. This year she is traveling and volunteering and working in disaster relief.
Christian Camerota (’04) says “he would be reading [William Gaddis’] The Recognitions but for two reasons: he doesn’t have Will, Nat, Carey, or Christina to guide him through, and burritos are so much more inviting and accessible. He recently wrapped up a stint in the marketing department at SMC and headed Boston-ward for a writing gig at HBS and can’t wait to see what acronymic employment awaits him next. He also now wonders how his classmates and professors ever put up with him in college, but he’s sure glad they did.
Amanda Courchene (’04) writes that she is teaching English at Pembroke High School on the South Shore of MA. She lives in Marshfield with her husband Brent, also an SMC alum and their two young children, Eamon and Sloane. Mandy recently received a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and has been teaching full-time for eleven years. In addition to her usual survey courses she is teaching a British Literature/Adventures Literature senior class and freshman honors survey. Recent books she has enjoyed are Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Mandy says she sees many classmates and their families regularly and they all agree that the years they spent in Colchester were the best.
Erin Collins Bodin (’06) and Ethan Bodin (’06) are happy to report they have a son Eamon Collins Bodin. Erin completed her MFA in July at the Stonecoast in Creative Writing program and enjoyed every moment of it. Her poetry and prose has been published in the Black Earth Institute’s About Place Journal; Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature; and, most recently, Kindred Magazine. She was awarded finalist for creative non-fiction in the 2013 Tiferet Journal writing contest for her essay “Waking Up in the City of Joy.” The essay is a composite of her three years traveling to Kolkata through the SMC MOVE office.
Adena Harford Bright (’06) reports that she has been married for two years to Berkley College of Music alumnus, Jamie Bright. He has just released an album Nectar’s SilentMindMusic.com. Adena works on holistic health and women’s wellness. Her blog can be found through her business website, AdenaRoseAyurveda.com. She is also a panchakarma therapist at The Ayurvedic Center: ayurvedavermont.com.
Meagan Hildebrand (’06) reports that she is still teaching 9th and 10th grade English at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield MA. She started there right from SMC and hasn’t left. She coaches Field Hockey at Merrimack College, married Kyle Hildebrand (also SMC alum ’06) in 2010 and had a baby girl, Quinn, in July of 2012. She recently finished her Master’s in English at Salem State University.
Courtney (Condo) Wason (’06) is happy to report that her husband Pete and she welcomed their first baby, Julia, last June. Courtney is a children’s librarian at the public library in Derry, NH and has the privilege of encouraging a lifelong love of reading in kids. She is always recommending her own favorites (L.M. Montgomery or E.L. Konigsburg), but that everyone’s always looking for the latest in the Warriors series. She says there is actually a lot to love about current children’s literature (Kate DiCamillo, David Almond and Neil Gaiman.one of her favorite crossovers). Her current project at the library is a book review website, part of a readers’ advisory initiative. Everyone on the children’s staff contributes to it, and it’s becoming a great resource! It can be found here: http://dplchildrenfiction.wordpress.com/page/2/. Courtney reports that her job has helped her cultivate a love of picture books. Kevin Henkes, Cynthia Rylant, and Mo Willems are among her favorites. And she can never ever get enough of Susan Jeffers’ illustrations. She says, “I’m lucky because I love what I do and I get to share it with great enthusiasm every day. It took me many different roads to get here (David’s Bridal wedding dress sales, Hickory Farms representative, adjunct writing instructor at community college…to name a few!), but it’s all worked out. Once the baby is a little older I’d like to go back for a second master’s, this time in Library Science. Then I can work full-time at a job I truly love.” She ends by sending her regards and saying “I’m not sure you all realize what a major impact you had on me as a reader, a student, and a person. I can’t thank you enough.”
Molly (Amelia) Cole (’08) writes that she is currently working at Northeastern University in University Advancement as an Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships. While working full-time, she is also enrolled in Northeastern’s Masters of Science – Global Studies and International Affairs program, which has a focus on International Higher Education. She lives in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Victoria Rose Townsend (‘08) writes that she is currently working as the Artistic/ Management Associate for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in Boston, MA, work which provides a really wonderful intersection of the skills she obtained as both an English and Theatre double-major at SMC. She reports that she is engaged to another SMC graduate, Kevin Parise (’09); they will be married in September 2015 with many SMC alumni on the guest list. Victoria and two other ’08 English majors, Alysha Foley and Kristin Jarvis, have an ongoing book club and were about to meet over Skype to discuss E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View.
Abby Boucher (’09) writes that she graduated from the University of Glasgow with a PhD in Victorian literature. She published three new articles in 2016 inNineteenth-Century Contexts (38:3), Revenant (1:2), and The Wilkie Collins Journal (14). She hosted a second international, interdisciplinary conference in her “Anxious Forms” conference series, entitled “Masculinities in Crisis in the Long Nineteenth Century”. In 2015 she was elected to the executive committee of the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) and is the co-editor of BAVS’s The Victorianist. Currently she works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Glasgow, where she teaches on the “Poetry and Poetics”, “Novel and Narratology”, and “Writing and Ideology” undergraduate courses. She became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and recently began supervising Masters and PhD students. In June 2015, she married in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a number of SMC alumni were in attendance, including bridesmaids Megan Denardo (’09) and Caroline Bright (’12).
David Breeckner ’09 has just received his PhD from Trinity College, Dublin. His area was Classical Civilization.
Kara Garvey (’09) writes that she is living in New York City and working on Fifth Avenue as Cartier’s Archival Intern, a job that involves an interesting mix of art, commerce, historical figures, and even photography through the lens of luxury design over the past 150 years.
Before getting married to fellow ’09 alumnus, Danielle Palardy, John Lucy published two books in 2013 and 2014: 27 Million Revolutions for 27 Million Slaves, a story of a bicycle trip he took across the country to raise awareness about human trafficking as well as what ordinary citizens can do to combat it, and Created Human Divinity: A Theology of Empowerment Developed Through Dialogue, a theological treatise with a self-explanatory title. Both are available on Amazon and all e-book formats. Currently, he is working on a collection of short, humorous short stories about his seminary experience, having graduated with a Master of Theological Studies in 2012, and also a layperson’s commentary to the Bible. He is now a United Methodist pastor in Swanton VT, preaching, as he says, world-class sermons every Sunday. He says he is clearly putting his English degree to good use with his religious interests and vocation. In addition, he has become obsessed with David Mitchell’s writing.
Abby Stewart (’09) writes that she has just finished her Master’s degree from the University of Virginia in Architectural History and Historic Preservation and is currently working for the Preservation Society of Newport County, working as a guide in the Newport mansions and as the Assistant Museum Affairs Coordinator.
Billy Collins (’10) writes that he is living in Somerville, MA writing and playing music. He has recently self-released a self-produced album, entitled Soap. It is available both to listen to and download at www.billycollins.bandcamp.com.
Emily Stenberg (’10) is in her fifth year of teaching English, directing Student Activities, and living in a dorm as a houseparent at Portsmouth Abbey School. She has completed three summers of Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English towards her MA, the most recent of which was at Lincoln College, Oxford–by far, the best of the three campuses in Vermont, New Mexico, and England. She says: “nothing quite compares to reading Ruskin and Pater in the Bodleian where they must have logged countless hours themselves. Oh, and weekends in Paris, Amsterdam, and Istanbul were ok, too.”
Meghan Sweezey (’10) writes that she is working at Saint Michael’s for the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. In this position, she travels to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and Albany/Saratoga, New York, planning alumni events and meeting with alumni one-on-one. She also helps coordinate alumni events for the Athletics Department and run Alumni Appreciation Week, a program geared towards educating students on the importance of philanthropy and alumni involvement post-graduation. She was also recently hired as the top assistant coach for SMC women’s ice hockey. She says that as an alumna of the program she is very excited to work with current players, helping them improve both on and off the ice. Her job responsibilities keep her busy, but she continues to read and write as much as possible in her spare time.
Nick Vogt (’10) writes that since graduating from SMC he has worked as a therapeutic Wilderness guide, taking students from around the world through the mountains and as a one-on-one teacher at a private alternative school. He spent the fall doing independent English tutoring and vacationing in Italy and is returning there this spring. He says that his thoughts on his English degree and what it has allowed him to do can be summed up by his favorite quote from Oscar Wilde: “To define is to limit.”
Greg White (’10) writes that he has worked at the New School of Montpelier, a school for kids and young adults with special needs, for the past year and a half. He says: “I work with two young men with autism as an aide. It is a mostly rewarding job-at times stressful and physical, but I have developed very strong relationships with these two individuals. One thing in particular that I like about it is the challenge of communication: I have spent my entire life trying to master and manipulate all aspects of the English language, and in this job I have had to learn a significantly nonverbal way of interacting.” Greg lives in Montpelier with his girlfriend. In his free time he hikes, camps, reads and writes. As a volunteer, he will be conducting research for the Wildlands Network, compiling and synthesizing current conservation management plans throughout Vermont. Wildlands is committed to protecting wildlife corridors in the U.S., and the “Eastern Wildway” is a projected path of uninterrupted habitat from Florida to Canada. He would eventually like to return to the conservation field full time. He is reading Cormac McCarthy, Russell Banks, and Edward Abbey.
Phoebe Green (’11) writes that she is living in Morrisville, Vermont and teaching both in an afterschool program and in a homeschooling cooperative begun last year with friends from her church. She has taught fifth grade language arts and math and also second grade. She loves working with such a close-knit group and being able to teach all her subjects from within the Christian tradition.
Bridget Griffin (’11) is in her third year of living in Seattle, and in her second and final year of graduate school at the University of Washington in Medical Speech and Language Pathology. She has recently completed an internship at Swedish Medical Center (a local hospital) in their Neuro and Cardiac ICUs under a licensed SLP. She lives with her boyfriend Nick, who is from Seattle and works as a drum instructor for UW and plays music in his spare time. Bridget recently ran her second half marathon and is taking all of the time she can to travel around the Northwest. She says she is at a really happy point in her life.
Samantha Holmberg (’11) is enrolled in the Champlain College Teacher Apprenticeship Program (TAP) training to be an English teacher. She is also continuing her work as a Production Editor at Dartmouth Journal Services, and has begun tutoring in French, which she finds fun and refreshing.
Janelle Roberge (’14 ) reports than she recently completed a dual masters program in English and Education at Smith College, and is now embarking on her teaching career at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, where she’s working with 140 junior and senior high school students. As she explains, “They keep me busy–and laughing!”
Olivia Belofsky (’12) teaches 6th and 7th grade English Language Arts at an all-girls, tuition free middle school in Dorchester. Mother Caroline Academy provides rigorous academics, extended day programs, and high school application support systems for young women of underserved families in the Boston Area. Some books students will be studying this year are The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, and Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher.
Alex Orlando (’12) update: Alex is now in the graduate program for journalism at UC Berkeley in California! After a year in South Korea, he spent some time back home working for Hartford Hospital’s Planning and Marketing Department as a freelance writer—having interned for them throughout college—but decided to make the move when his girlfriend, whom he met in Korea, was hired as a faculty member teaching ESL at North American University in Houston. In Houston, Alex worked for the news department of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world with a sprawling campus that contains 54 healthcare related institutions. He was hired as a staff writer on a new magazine, TMC Pulse. The job has been a blast so far; he gets to listen to stories from amazing people, have a lot of creative freedom, and cover topics that range from the technical/medical side of the spectrum to more human interest stories. For those interested, here are some of his favorite stories: http://www.tmcnews.org/2014/09/a-home-away-from-home/ http://www.tmcnews.org/2014/08/bringing-the-outdoors-in/
Anthony Bassignani (’13) has completed his Masters in Library Science through Syracuse University and has been working as the Evening Circulation Supervisor at the SMC library since March 2015. Now that he has his degree “under his belt,” as he puts it, he is looking forward to traveling more and catching up on a long list of reading that accumulated while he was in school at night and working during the day.
Erin Stevens (’13) reports that she is currently teaching high school English at Hartford High School in Hartford, Vermont. In addition to two English seminar courses for 9th graders on the skills needed to be successful in all facets of their education, she is also teaching a World Literature course for 10th and 11th graders and an American Literature course for upperclassmen. On top of the teaching, Erin coaches boys’ and girls’ ice hockey, girls’ softball, and is the class advisor for the class of 2017 student council committee. Though very busy, Erin says she is happy to be on the career path she has always wanted.
Sarah Fraser (‘14) says she misses Saint Michael’s (especially the English Department) but loves her job as a Customer Liaison at the Technology Help Desk at Southern New Hampshire University. She enjoys spending her days helping people and being independent. In the fall, she was reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and planning to read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chakras.
Catherine Woodard (’14) writes that she is working as an assistant editor at SkyLight Paths/Jewish Lights/GemStone Press in Woodstock, VT. She is spending her days going over books, eBooks, checking sources … and sometimes it doesn’t feel as if she has graduated!
Nick Lemon (’14) has been working at the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont since graduating from Saint Mike’s. He is currently serving on the Library’s Emergency Preparedness Committee and is on the waiting list to join Essex Rescue. In his spare time, he tries to keep up with reading so he can add some fresh content to his lackadaisically-maintained book blog, To Be Read. Nick credits the English department with inspiring his Old English tattoo, a piece which somehow helped secure his current relationship? He’s still trying to figure that one out. A little taste of his writing is published in the most recent edition of the Onion River Review.