Meet Your Hosts Ryan ’10 and Kathryn ’15

Welcome back! This week we wanted to take an opportunity to properly introduce ourselves as the hosts of Afterword.

One of the major reasons we started this blog was to help recent graduates feel accompanied on their journeys through the real world, and gain advice from fellow alums along the way. In other words, if you aren’t sure what’s next, you are definitely not alone.

We have a recurring series on here called “My First Year Out” in which we interview a recent alum about what they were up to in their first year out of UVM.

This week, we are going to tell our own first year out stories, and give some helpful tips on what we learned along the way. Stay tuned in future weeks for more posts like this from other recent alums.

Now, on to our stories…

Kathryn Meader ’15

Describe your first year out.

When I graduated from UVM in May 2015, I had absolutely no plan.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I had a part time job at Macy’s working in the stock room, and enough cash to justify staying in Vermont while I began my search for a full time position. Within a month, I was working full time at Macy’s and with every closing shift I knew that retail was not for me.

When a Development Assistant position opened at the UVM Foundation, I decided to apply for it – A change of pace. I know I wouldn’t have gotten that job without the encouragement/advice of one of my mentors. When I took that position, I told myself I would keep that job for a full year. Then I would allow myself to think about grad school, or where I wanted my career to go from there. When I began my job search again, I realized how much I had grown in my time at the Foundation.

I was thrilled this spring when I was approached about moving into the Assistant Director of Annual Giving position. I’ve loved living in Vermont post UVM, and welcomed an opportunity to continue my life here.

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

I think my biggest challenge after graduation was my own indecisiveness. Once I left the security of college, there was a moment when it hit me – no one was in charge of me.

No one was expecting anything of me. For the first time, I actually felt as though I had absolutely no structure to my life. School had always been easy, and something that I excelled at. Because it was easy, I was never forced to make any real decisions.

Suddenly, I was faced with a world of choices, and no real rudder for what I wanted to do. It took a long time, and a significant amount of realizing what I DIDN’T want.

This is a challenge I think we are all grappling with, on one level or another. There are people in the world who have known since they were small what they wanted for their career. But, I am not that person – most people aren’t. We all sometimes need to learn to give ourselves the time to really learn about what we want.

In the end, I overcame this challenge by learning to give myself a break.Hear that? Give yourself a break.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Try not to be afraid to ask people for help/advice.

What are you doing now, and what are you looking at next?

Well, having just started my new position with the Annual Giving team two months ago, I’m really excited to learn all there is to learn about the world of fundraising and annual giving. I am especially excited to enter this world from the perspective of a recent graduate, because I think that will give me important insight into the way that younger potential donors feel about fundraising projects, and how to best engage with a growing population of young UVM grads.

I want to help make sure that young alums feel engaged with UVM, and continue to have positive interactions with the Foundation.

Ryan Chartier ’10

Describe your first year out.

Like Kathryn, I had no plan.

But I did think about my very first move after school ended. Sometime during senior year I decided I would move back home with my parents after college and work for a while to save up money. I was REALLY broke all throughout my last year at UVM trying to pay for rent etc, so I worked a few jobs to make ends meet and kept a positive attitude.

The idea of saving money up to move somewhere on my own eventually seemed like a good idea. Graduate school was in my future, but honestly I didn’t think too much about how I would realize that plan.

I spent most of the year working, saving up money and visiting Burlington to see friends once in a while. Where I grew up in Western Massachusetts, there wasn’t a lot to do and most of my high school friends had moved away, so honestly it was kind of boring and I regretted my decision.

I spent a lot of evenings reading and watching TV shows, specifically watching all nine seasons of the X-Files, so if I happen to mention the X-Files a lot, it’s been burned into my brain.

In the early winter I applied to grad school and really wanted to just go back to Burlington and UVM so that’s what happened. Hooray!

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

My biggest challenge was thinking that I NEEDED to do something with my degree. Since I was an English major, the possibilities are pretty broad and not that specific, so that’s why I went for an advanced degree.

Another challenge was just believing in myself and that I could make something happen if I just got my foot in the door somewhere. The ‘real world’ feels like an ocean of limitless depth that you can find yourself lost in, so really narrowing down what I wanted to do was a big challenge.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

I would say don’t move home, unless you have an internship opportunity in that location. Go somewhere you really want to live with your friends, even if you have to rough it for a while.

Also, don’t rush. Like Kathryn said, give yourself a break.

Take a minute to enjoy life and remember that you just spent four years or more bettering your education and preparing for an independent life. Enjoy that independence. Keep moving forward.

What are you doing now, and what are you looking at next?

Currently I am working as Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the Foundation where I work in development and keep alums better connected to UVM by doing personal outreach and fundraising.

Recently I took on some new responsibilities in my job so I am looking forward to getting on the road to meet more UVM alums and gaining more development experience. Later this summer I will be taking a vacation to Denver and New Mexico to see some places I have never been.

Win a Pair of Red Sox Tickets! + Welcome Kathryn Meader ’15 to Afterword

Remember when we politely asked you to make a gift to UVM and get argyle socks in return?

Well, we kind of went crazy with all sock-related stuff last month and have a free pair of Boston Red Sox tickets to raffle off.

That’s right. A free pair of Red Sox tickets!!

The game is on Saturday, August 5th and it’s Vermonter Day at Fenway. There’s a pre-game reception with other UVM alums and the game starts at 7:10pm.

You may love the Red Sox or hate them (I’m not sure there’s an in-between) — either way, this is a sweet giveaway.

But before you enter our raffle, even more big news!

We have a new co-host on the blog, Class of 2015 alum and Boston native Kathryn Meader.

So as you can see from the picture, she actually has the tickets.

Wait? Another host? Yep.

Kathryn joined our team as Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the Foundation, and as a recent UVM grad, we thought, who better to help host the blog?

If you want to learn more about Kathryn, check out this week’s post for the 2017ers where she tells her “my first year out” story.

We are really ramping up for an exciting time here at Afterword, so stay tuned!

And now, without further ado…go ahead and enter the raffle for Red Sox tickets!

For you, Class of 2017

We know it’s only been a month since you graduated, and you aren’t feeling nostalgic for UVM yet…

…or maybe you are nostalgic because the ‘real world’ is happening now. Some next level Sunday Scaries, if you ask us.

But first, you are probably wondering what this blog is all about.

Well, contrary to popular UVM lore – we’re not asking you for anything . This isn’t a secret trick to ask you for money or barrage your inbox with useless information.

This blog is the afterword to your UVM story. We’re here to keep you connected to UVM, Burlington, and to your classmates. And, we’re here to help you write your next chapter.

We’re recent grads like you. We work at the UVM Foundation and Alumni Association and our job is to help you.

Unlike your parents, we don’t expect you to know everything right now. You’re under a lot of pressure to plan the rest of your life (whether you have a job, a place to live, or neither) and we want to give you a place to feel at home.

We’ve been doing this for the past two years with the Classes of 2015 and 2016, so we are really excited to bring you in, talk to you, and be as helpful as we can.

With that in mind, during Senior Week, we set up shop in Alumni House and asked many of you a few questions about your upcoming year, and recorded your answers with a professional podcasting microphone. Pretty neat.

Post-grad life is often very uncertain, and the reality sets in quickly that you are now really in charge of your life. Luckily, your classmates all feel the same way. And trust us, not everyone has a plan yet for what they are going to do next.

So take a minute and listen below to hear your classmates’ answers recorded live during senior week. Enjoy!


Stay tuned in the coming months for all of this helpful content and more!

We’ll be right here.


Ryan Chartier ’10 and Kathryn Meader ’15


Survey Results!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to talk to a student caller on the phone or fill out the survey online. We love hearing from you.

This time around we heard from almost 200 folks which is fantastic! Here’s what ya’ll had to say.

Question 1: What are you up to now?
The majority of you are employed — 80% of you have a full time job or are in graduate school. That’s roughly double the percentage reported when we asked the same question back in August!

Question 2: What are you most connected to?
You love your student clubs, the departments you graduated from, and your UVM friends!

Question 3: Do you want to get involved as a volunteer?
More than 80% of you said that you don’t want to be formally involved right now, and that’s totally fine. We’re glad you told us so we know not to bug you. The great thing about being an alum is that you’ll always be connected to UVM so you can choose when you want to be more involved and when you want to hang back.

Question 4: Where are you?
The map shows how your class is spread around the country (sorry — I couldn’t fit AK, HI, or anyone living abroad). Vermont wins with 600 of you — with Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut rounding out the top four states. And there are a few brave souls as far flung as Hawaii, Idaho, Wyoming and Louisiana. 

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

The more we know about your class, the more we can tailor blog content and events to you specifically. We’ll continue to check in periodically, since as you can see from looking at this summer’s survey, a lot can change in a few months.

Class of 2016 Check-in, Part III

Part of navigating your first year out is knowing that you’re not alone and no one has it all figured out yet. You and your classmates are facing similar challenges and new experiences.

Those challenges may look different for each person, but know that you’re in good company.

That’s what this segment is all about. We check-in with a few of your classmates and see what they are doing and how they’re navigating their first year out. Oh, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask a few “this or that” questions about some UVM/Burlington/Vermont stuff.

This week we spoke to Connor Banfield, Roger Dagama, Jess D’Amelio and Phoebe Sheehan. 

  1. What are you up to? I’m waiting tables at Sweetwaters while figuring out my life.
  2. What are you most excited about in the next year? What are you most scared about in the next year? I’m most excited to leave Burlington and move out west. I’m most scared about Donald Trump ruining our country.
  3. What has been the best thing since you graduated? The worst? The best thing since I’ve graduated has been not having tests or classes. The worst part is that all my friends moved away.

  1. What are you up to? I’m currently in my last semester UVM’s Master of Accountancy program and I’m preparing to take the CPA exam.
  2. What are you most excited about in the next year? What are you most scared about in the next year? I’m most excited about moving to Boston, starting my new job, and passing the CPA exam (hopefully!). I’m most scared of the CPA exam.
  3. What has been the best thing since you graduated? The worst? The best thing since graduating has been spending one more year in Burlington! The worst is the reality of not calling Burlington home in a few shorts months.

  1. What are you up to? I currently live in Burlington, Vermont and am a Production and Design Assistant at Meredith Corporation / Eating Well Magazine in Shelburne and a Fulfillment and Design Assistant at Skida Headwear and Accessories in Burlington. I also work on a range of freelance design projects. 
  2. What are you most excited about in the next year? What are you most scared about in the next year? I’m very excited about my new roles and seeing where these various part time jobs take me. Currently, I’m mainly interested in growing my design skills, even if that involves biting off more than I can chew, and I hope to learn animation. At the same time, what I am most scared about is the same as what I’m most excited about – the evolution of my skill set and career experience in a creative and competitive field. Gotta keep moving.
  3. What has been the best thing since you graduated? The worst? Since graduation, the best thing that has happened is staying around Burlington. I love the new relationship I’ve built with UVM as a post grad. The worst thing was all the inevitable madness and confusion that happened before I found more stability with my current positions.

  1. What are you up to? I am currently living in Whitefish, Montana where I’m working full time nights as a NICU nurse. 
  2. What are you most excited about in the next year? What are you most scared about in the next year? This upcoming year I am most excited about getting to explore a new town, a new ski resort and being only 30 minutes away from Glacier National Park! I’m most nervous about getting attacked by a grizzly bear or mountain lion.
  3. What has been the best thing since you graduated? The worst? The best thing since I’ve graduated has been getting to work my dream job with my tiny little babies. The worst thing since I’ve graduated has been being so far away from the majority of my friends and family and Cabot cheese is $10 a block in Montana.

  1. What are you up to? I am working as a photojournalist for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania. I cover a variety of news, ranging from the football and wrestling at Penn State – a Big Ten Conference member – to taking photographs of community news in State College and surrounding towns. I also recently documented the 2017 presidential inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington.
  2. What are you most excited about in the next year? What are you most scared about in the next year? I am most excited about my job this year because, as cliché as it may sound, every day is an an adventure. News is unpredictable and strange. Every photograph presents an opportunity to tell a story or reveal a truth and the challenge to capture images that illustrate a story and resonate with readers. In these past five months I’ve been surprised by how many opportunities I’ve had to photograph assignments both locally as well as nationwide and I look forward to keep being surprised by the next awesome opportunity journalism provides.
    It has been challenging making the transition from full time student to full time employee. Since the news cycle is 24/7, my job requires I work weekends and holidays, with two days off in the middle of the week. I am constantly on-the-go and my own interests, outside of photography, are often neglected. Other than my typical recent college grad fears (paying rent, bills, etc), I’m concerned I won’t have enough time to pursue my personal photo projects or outside interests.
  3. What has been the best thing since you graduated? The worst? Besides moving in with my boyfriend and adopting a kitten from our local animal shelter, the best thing to happen to me since graduating from UVM is landing a full time job in the news industry, where work is scarce, especially in the field of photojournalism. At UVM I majored in English and minored in Religion so on paper I didn’t look especially qualified. However, spending four years at The Cynic as a photographer and photo editor and doing a photojournalism internships at the my hometown newspaper and at an online Vermont publication gave me invaluable experience. I also took a few great photography courses in the art department at UVM, where I developed my artistic eye. These experiences helped me produce a decent portfolio, but I was still surprised to land my dream job just two months after graduating. In the short time I’ve been working for the Centre Daily Times I’ve expanded my connections in the news industry and I’ve had multiple occasions where my photographs went across the wire services and were picked up by publications across the country.
    The worst thing since graduating has been having to leave Burlington behind. I really miss my friends and our countless trips to Oakledge or late night jaunts to Three Needs. Central Pennsylvania is beautiful, with its rolling hills and slightly warmer weather, but I miss New England and its familiar vibe.