Did you know that? (A new series)

Since we’ve graduated from UVM, Ryan and I have discovered tons of things that are happening here on campus and around Vermont that we never knew about as undergrads. So, we wanted to add a new segment to the blog- Did you know that?!

Today, we’re going to do a quick run down of two things that have been a part of UVM for a long time, but a lot of the time aren’t in the headlines.


Did you know that… UVM has a TV show called Across the Fence?

Across the Fence is a daily TV program that has been made every day (you heard me, EVERY DAY) since 1954!

WCAX got it’s start as a radio station being run by students on the UVM campus in the 50’s, and one of their programs was a farm and home show, for 15 minutes each day. This tradition has continued as the station has grown, and UVM Extension still produces an episode of Across The Fence for every weekday. They have an amazing catalog of their episodes available online, and cover everything from slow cooker recipes for busy work days, to grain farming (and the growing interest in hemp farming) in Vermont, to the effect of road salt on fragile ecosystems.

Check out their catalog of episodes for tons of interesting subjects, talked about by professors that you might know! Across the Fence is especially wonderful because it gives all of us an access point to learn more about the University at large.


Did you know that… UVM runs an active sugar bush?

UVM Proctor Maple Research Center is a field research station for the department of Plant Biology in CALS, and was established way back in 1946. The center has a mission that is divided into three categories; Research, Demonstration, and Education.

They put out approximately 1,550 taps to product 750 to 950 gallons of maple syrup each year! If you’ve bought syrup through the UVM bookstore, it was created right there at the Proctor Maple Farm!

When you come back to Vermont to visit, you should definitely schedule an appointment for a visit- they won’t be able to give you a tour or a demonstration right now, as it’s the height of sugaring season between February and April. But, the rest of the year they’re happy to have visitors!

If you can’t come visit, they have several webcams that you can check out to see more of what the research center looks like!

Now, are you sitting there thinking “Hold on, I thought everyone know about Across the Fence?” or “Duh, Proctor Maple Research isn’t news”- don’t worry.  We’re going to keep digging up more fun stuff, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know if there’s a unique corner of UVM that we should be talking about!


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!

Survey Results!

Remember how we said we’d be calling you? Well, we collected all your answers, and have some fun facts for you all!

All of you are amazing, but we know that being out in the world after graduation isn’t always the easiest. Part of the reason we do these check in surveys is to share with your classmates that their experience is not out of the ordinary – You’re not the only one working part time, or applying for grad school. We’re all finding our way together.

Check it out! We have a sweet heat map of all the places that you guys have spread to since leaving campus, as well as some charts about what you’re all up to these days.

Not shown here are the alums that are currently based in Canada, China, El Salvador, France, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Switzerland, and the UK! You aren’t just all over the country, you’re all over the world!

We also asked about what you guys feel most connected to here at UVM. We are always curious about this.

With older alumni the answers are sometimes easier, because UVM was a smaller, different University. Now, with such a wide range of student experience, we want to know what you all identify with, and let that inform how we keep you connected with each other and campus.

Thanks for all your input, we’ll be back next week with more classic Afterword.

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?

Checking in With Your Classmates

This week we’re doing our first round of check ins!

We reached out to Darla Quijada, Meghan Egan, and Kelton Bogasky to see what they have been up to since graduation. We also asked them a few fun “this or that” questions to see what Burlington experiences they prefer.

We are always looking to hear from more of you, so click the button at the bottom of this post to refer a friend (or yourself)!


What are you up to in your first year out of UVM?

I am currently working as Research Technician for the Center for Virology and Vaccines at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston MA (it is a mouthful to say let me tell you!). I am part of Dr. Kathryn Stephenson’s lab that focuses on interventions to prevent and treat HIV and emerging infectious diseases like Zika virus. Most of the research technicians are in the same situation as me where we all more education in the near future. I graduated studying Animal and Veterinary Sciences, but the work I do overlaps with the many prerequisite classes and lab experience. In my spare time, I take pottery classes and attend/teach Zumba classes!

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge? 

In this upcoming year, I hope to visit places where I can potentially see myself living and studying. This could be a great opportunity to figure out what kind of programs and schools I want to apply for. Location is very important to me for I want there to be diversity, affordable living expenses, and food culture! My biggest challenge will be to make sure I keep my mind open about each place and not stress about the little things!

What are you up to in your first year out of UVM?

Since graduation, I’ve spent a month taking a cooking course in Paris (I planned this in about a week and is probably the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done). And since September I’ve been working at Guidepoint as a Healthcare Research Analyst in New York City.

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge? 

I’m looking forward to continue growing and learning in my current position and just take everything day by day. Being able to come home without having to worry about assignments and tests is a pretty great feeling!

My biggest challenge this year will likely be studying for the LSATs. Other than that, I’m just taking everything day by day and seeing what life throws my way.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

I don’t think I’m particularly proud of anything in particular. I’m proud of how I’ve been handling the post-grad life—I’ve been able to do some exploring and start working in my favorite city. I’m proud of myself for being proactive and satisfied about the choices I’ve made thus far.

What are you up to in your first year out of UVM?

I began working for Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity and have had the opportunity to visit over 28 schools in Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana. This upcoming semester I am heading down to the University of Miami for two months to recolonize our chapter. I have had the opportunity to travel all across the United States and experience all different cultures

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge? 

I am looking forward to starting a new PIKE chapter at the University of Miami. I think that my biggest challenge will be deciding what I will do next. I am from Boston so I will have to decide if I want to move up with PIKE and continue living in Tennessee or move on to a new job.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

I am proud of the PIKE guys at Vermont because they keep on doing incredible things. This past semester the chapter fund-raised enough money to send brothers to help rebuild homes in Haiti. I also love seeing their continued efforts to End Alz. It is always great seeing something that played a huge part in your college career continue to succeed. Also, this past summer Vermont PIKE was recognized with the Smythe Award by the International Fraternity which is the highest honor a PIKE chapter can receive.