Your 1 Year Grad-a-versary Gift – Class of 2017 Edition

Surprise! It’s almost been one year since your graduation and we wanted to celebrate with a gift! Yes, grad-a-versary isn’t a real word, but it is a real celebration we invented just for you.

To commemorate your one year grad-a-versary, a talented artist designed a one-of-a-kind free UVM art print for you!

But, you know us – it’s not enough just to give you an awesome print. We want to tell you the story of that print.

So, we documented the artistic process. A few weeks back we put a call out to all local Burlington artists and wanted to share the footage we captured. Enjoy the video and order your print today!

My First Year Out So Far – Kristen Roche ’17

This week we check in with your classmate Kristen Roche, who took a chance on Portland Oregon.

As her story demonstrates, if you network strategically and keep an open mind about what you want to do, you’ll put yourself in the position to do what you have always wanted (and learn more about yourself along the way).

Enjoy Kristen’s story!

Describe your first year out:

My first year of post-grad has been weird.

I can’t believe it’s almost been a full year since graduation. I’ve spent the past year focusing on myself and having fun trying to ‘figure it out.’ Don’t let anyone fool you, though, even if someone looks like they have it figured out…they don’t.

After graduation, I packed everything I own into my tiny car, and did the whole ‘cross-country road trip’ thing. I drove from Vermont to Oregon, to start my new life in Portland.

In my first five months here, I moved five separate times before finally signing a lease, on my own, in downtown Portland. I got a temp job working at Business Oregon, the State’s Economic Development Agency, helping with the Governor’s trade mission to Japan.

After that, I worked as a pizza delivery person for a hot sec…delivering pizzas until 5am at a very punk Portland establishment. Then I was offered a job as a Marketing Assistant for an Engineering firm.

Image result for portlandia gifs

What was your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

I’m really proud of myself for getting a job that challenges me and sparks my interest.

Moving across the country with no connections and zero professional work experience proved to be quite the challenge. You always hear “it’s all about who you know” when trying to find a job, and I knew no one.

I joke around that it’s really impressive I moved to Oregon with nothing and could have easily been flipping burgers at McDonalds (nothing wrong with that) but instead found myself shaking hands with the Governor.

I overcame the struggle by reaching out to anyone and everyone that was pointed in my direction. You cannot let rejection and awkwardness inhibit you from putting yourself out there.

There’s a lot of little details you need to remember; writing thank you notes, making great first impressions, and consistently following through even if your first email gets ignored. It’s important to remember it’s not personal and that people are just busy.

It was an emotional roller coaster, and especially difficult when all of my friends and family were back on the east coast. In order to overcome any challenges, I am learning to embrace the experience and accept that life is supposed to be a little weird right now.

What did you learn from this experience?

I’ve learned that I love drinking tea, I hate Doc Martens. And no matter how hard I try I can’t paint to save my life.

In the bigger picture, I’ve learned that it is SO IMPORTANT to trust your gut and just go for it – whatever that may be. You really grow as a person and figure yourself out when you put yourself in tough situations.

What are you doing now?

Honestly, I’m thriving as I continue to use different gyms for their free-week promos. I’m learning to not spend $50 every weekend on brunch and which skincare routine works best for me.

I’m going out, making new friends and enjoying the fact that random strangers find me interesting and laugh at my dumb jokes.

Professionally, I’m a Marketing Assistant for a civil engineering firm. It’s really cool because marketing is done the same across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, so I’ve joined a niche community, SMPS, that I believe will immensely help me to develop professionally. I’m being exposed to a variety of different projects, and I enjoy knowing little details of what’s going on around me. I’m really interested in urban development, so it’s a really good fit.

Any advice?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Put yourself in situations that force you to develop people skills and grow your network. Use your youth and ignorance as an advantage and ask for help, because no one needs it more than a recent college grad with absolutely no experience – plus people inherently want to help.

Take risks now because even if you fail, you’re still young enough to bounce back. Plus, it’s more interesting if you have adventures to tell stories about later.


Want us to feature your own first-year out story? Know a friend who might want to as well? Click the button below and refer a friend (or yourself).

Get to Know Vermont Quarterly

Hey gang! With Daylight Savings around the corner, it’s still feeling a bit like winter for us north-easterners. Mother nature has decided to bless us with more snow, and lots of it.

For those of you who like to stay curled up by the fire, this might be your last stretch of cold weather (enjoy), and for others this means some excellent skiing ahead, and to that we say – stay shreddy winter bunnies!

If you are looking for some UVM entertainment in this long lasting winter, Vermont Quarterly (VQ) published a new edition and we wanted to highlight some of the features. Hopefully, it is sitting in your mailbox right now, ready to be read.

Here’s some background on your alumni magazine, a quick interview with the VQ editor, and highlights from the most recent publication.

What is VQ?

Vermont Quarterly has been around since 1905 (known back then as Alumni Notes) featuring various articles and stories focused on the university, alums, student life and much more. VQ’s goal is to keep alums like you engaged with the UVM community after you’ve parted ways.

VQ offers a broader selection of stories than here on Afterword since it covers a little bit of EVERYTHING. We highly suggest giving it a peek even if you aren’t a heavy reader, it will keep you up to date on all things UVM – plus there are a lot of great photos.

Some of you may be saying, “Vermont Quarterly? Why didn’t I get one?”

If you haven’t received the latest edition (or if it went to your parents), that means we don’t have your updated address. You can update that right here and you will be sure to get the next edition.

We had the chance to ask a couple questions to Tom Weaver, the current editor of Vermont Quarterly, for a behind the scenes look at its production.

Tom on the right with his two daughters, Arline’14 and Grace’11, both UVM alums and wife Shelia, a senior lecturer in statistics at UVM.

Why was VQ created?

Well, though I’ve been here a long time, I actually wasn’t here in 1905. I think, generally, Vermont Quarterly, the other publications before, and these sorts of communications throughout higher-education were created as a way to keep alumni connected with one another and with their alma mater. I think one of our primary goals is reminding alumni of the institution they knew and keeping them abreast and proud of the institution we have become. Many good things, we hope, would flow from that — financial support to the institution, sending alumni kids and/or their friends to UVM for school, and pride that builds our reputation by word-of-mouth.

How are the stories curated and picked?

We draw ideas from many sources — news that is generated by writers in our office, stories we see in other publications or social media, stories we’re alerted to by alumni themselves or their family, friends, or public relations folks.

Can anyone submit a story or feature?

It’s rare that someone would send us a completed story for publication. More commonly, people suggest an idea we might want to pursue. Yes, ideas are welcome and best communicated through an email to me.

Here are some story highlights from this edition of VQ. Story summaries are by the article’s author

Last summer’s fire at Torrey Hall threatened natural collections deeply ingrained in UVM history and vitally necessary to contemporary research.

Helping bring the liberal arts to the incarcerated in Vermont is the latest focus for sociologist Kathy Fox in an academic career rooted in creating positive change.

San Francisco and Burlington share a common spirit, part of the draw for the many alumni who have made their lives and careers in the City by the Bay.

Business alumni help the next generation build experience and connections through the rigors of BSAD 228, Wall Street Seminar.

If you’re interested in seeing more of what is inside this edition of VQ head over to their website.

Until next time, stay warm my friends!

Domino’s, Dining Halls and Dives: Episode 4

Greetings fellow foodies, we are back again this week with another episode of Dining Halls, Domino’s and Dives Burlington edition!

We met up with recent 2017 graduate Sam Damphousse to see what he’s been up to and…of course discuss his favorite local eats.

When he’s not biking, skiing or working, Sam is eating. His go to spot in Burlington is The Farmhouse Tap & Grill located on Bank Street across from another local hot spot Henry’s Diner.

A little history of The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

The Farmhouse first appeared in the Burlington restaurant scene in 2010 and since has expanded to include a summer Beer Garden, and a downstairs hang out called The Parlor. This low key bar is located below the main restaurant, and offers an intimate setting always good for getting together with a few friends for drinks and some appetizers.

Sam, what makes The Farmhouse your go to spot in Burlington?

“I like the farmhouse because of the food and the vibe, especially in the basement. The burgers are always super tasty, fries are great and they have some awesome appetizers.”

What did we order? Take a look, the photos will not disappoint!

The special burger of the day included bacon, Jasper Hill Farm cheese, mixed greens and caramelized onions.

The special sandwich of the day offered roasted turkey with pears, cheese, pickled red onions, mixed greens and chipotle mayo. To top it off, those famous fries Sam loves.

The classic LaPlatte River Angus Farm Beef Burger with bacon, cheddar, mixed greens, pickled red onions and a fried egg.

While enjoying this feast we chatted with Sam a little more to see what he was up to.

How have your first couple months out of college been so far?

They have been a bit of a whirlwind! I’ve been feverishly chasing down my dream job in California while also sending out other job applications like crazy. I started a local graphic internship at Four Nine Design, and freelancing in between to pay the bills.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Biggest challenge for me has been the lack of social interaction with many people. When I freelance I work from my desk in my room, which is a great set up but I tend to become a little hobbit who never leaves. Not having co-workers or even just seeing friends on campus while walking around anymore is a big change for me.

How are you working on overcoming it?

I’ve applied to some retail jobs part time to have some coworkers and get out of the house, working at coffee shops a lot and meeting new people. Starting the internship at Four Nine has also helped a lot because I have folks around me that I can collaborate with and learn from.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Probably how to be patient. A lot of companies I’ve dealt with so far take the hiring process pretty slow which can get to me a bit because my mind always races. I’ve had to learn to sometime just deal with the radio silence and wait it out.

Any advice for your classmates?

Work hard to be in the place that you want to. I want to be working as an in-house designer at either a studio or a product designer at a bicycle company. Because of that I spent months prepping applications and my portfolio and things are starting to come together. But it wouldn’t happen at all without hard work.

 

If you’re a fan of The Farmhouse or any of their various sister restaurants and want to join us for lunch one day, recommend a place for us to eat!

Stay tuned, but until then, stay hungry my friends.

 

My First Year Out (So Far) – Olivia Peña ’17

Today we have another edition of My First Year Out, featuring your classmate Olivia Peña. From graduate school at UVM to travels in Kenya and interning in Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, she’s been up to quite a bit since graduation. Take some time to read her great story below.

Describe your first year out:

After a busy, action-packed senior year, I wanted to take some time to decompress before starting graduate school. When not traveling, I decided to spend most of my summer in Burlington and working. Prior to graduating in the spring, I was hired from as a research assistant by the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Systems group at the Gund Institute on campus. I held a similar position during senior year as an intern for CCAFS, and was able to continue the research of food waste and climate change over the summer. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the environmental impacts of agriculture and food systems while also gaining a firsthand understanding of the research process for a project funded by USAID. The research position was also flexible enough to enjoy the Vermont summer. Spending the summer here was a great time to hike through the beautiful Green Mountains, explore swimming holes, go to local breweries, and watch Lake Monsters games without the constraints of homework or classes.

What was your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

Through the accelerated Food Systems masters program, I was able to begin my graduate work during my senior year. Fall 2017 was my first semester fully in the graduate program, and it’s been a challenging yet rewarding journey thus far. Specifically, I think the level of analysis associated with the graduate work has been totally mind-bending. My professors have introduced new ways of thinking and knowing (this is called epistemologies) and various concepts from different subjects of which I was not previously familiar. However, through this challenge, I have learned the importance of reaching out and asking for additional help. Even though graduate school is a higher level of learning than in undergraduate, professors are still very willing to help you understand and talk through different concepts.

I had a unique opportunity during the fall to intern in Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. This comprehensive position entailed interacting with community members through phone calls and letters, assisting staff members, and conducting research on various topics and policies. I was also fortunate to be able to attend different outreach events with staffers ranging from agricultural hearings to naturalization ceremonies. It was hard work, but definitely confirmed that I would like to work in a policy or public administration position one day.

What are you doing now?

2018 was off to an interesting start as I spent the first two weeks in Kenya on a service-learning trip. Through the Nutrition and Community Development departments, we prepared three different projects for our community partners centering on public health, entrepreneurship, and food systems. It was a great opportunity to take my skills gained the classroom in food systems and community development and apply them to a real life situation. This trip was also a cultural exchange in a way, as we stayed in authentic Kenyan hotels near the communities with whom we worked and ate indigenous foods. Sukuma wiki means kale in Swahili, and I’m happy to say that it is a delicious staple in their diet. I would be in remiss if I did not say that a highlight of the trip was the safari in the Masai Mara Reserve. Seeing wild elephants up close was incredible, until they trumpeted at our safari van as if to say, “okay now, back off!”

I’m currently on my last semester of courses for my master’s degree. In conjunction, I am also working on my research for my final project. This is a highly self-directed process, meaning that there is a lot of planning and personal motivation required to create, shape, and carry out your project plan. My research is focused on understanding the current state of community and stakeholder involvement in Vermont during the Farm Bill policy development process, and the ways by which stakeholders go about communicating their needs to policymakers and representatives. I’m hoping that the outcome of my project will be a guidebook that can be used as a tool for all Vermonters interested in getting involved and communicating their needs from food and agricultural policy.

Any advice to classmates?

My advice for my fellow classmates and future UVM graduates is to not be afraid to reach out and ask others for help. Whether from your parents, friends, peers, previous professors, new bosses, or even various departments throughout UVM, they are always willing to offer guidance to help you continue to succeed. I have found that the support didn’t end at graduation when it comes to my undergraduate professors. Your friends and family know you best, and have been there every step of the way through the college journey and likely want to continue to support your journey. I am privileged that I have my family and friends (thanks Goonsquad!) by my side as I continue on this next phase.

 

Know someone like who is doing something really cool in their first year out?