Amishi Jha, Keynote speaker

Dr. Amishi Jha is a neuroscientist and associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami where she studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, and resilience. She is systematically examining the efficacy of mindfulness training in education, sports, business, and the military. Dr. Jha is also the director of contemplative neuroscience for the University of Miami’s Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, a campuswide collaboration connecting leading-edge brain research and mindfulness/contemplative practice training.

Caroline Cavanaugh

Carole Cavanaugh is Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies at Middlebury College and holds a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University. She has taught the aesthetic traditions of Japan across the literary and cinematic arts at Middlebury for over twenty-five years. She is committed to mindfulness pedagogy and incorporates meditative practices into courses ranging from “The Art and Nature of Contemplation” to “Masterworks of Japanese Animation.” Her publications include Sanshō the Bailiff (British Film Institute, 2000) and an edited volume Word and Image in Japanese Cinema (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Her current research is a comparative study of compassion in Japanese and Hollywood films.

Kim Cronise

Kim Cronise is an associate professor of psychology and director of the Neuroscience Program. She received her MA and PhD in psychology and behavioral neuroscience from the University of Southern California and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Portland Alcohol Research Center at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She was trained as a behavioral neuroscientist and psychopharmacologist. Her expertise draws from several domains including developmental neuroscience, learning and memory, social neuroscience, and addiction. While her previous research focused on how neuroplasticity could lead to adverse outcomes such as alcohol addiction, her current research explores how contemplative practices capitalize on neuroplasticity to promote well-being.

Sue Driscoll

Sue Driscoll studies Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan with Christopher Kiely and the lineage holders of the Tung Family: Master Tung Kai Ying and Master Tung Chen Wei. She has led classes in Tai Chi and Qigong at the Falling Water School since 2011.

Naomi Eisenberg

Naomi Eisenberg is a junior Economics major and Hebrew minor from Newton Massachusetts. She has been practicing yoga regularly over the past five years after a back injury and has utilized the practice as not only physical rehabilitation, but also as a gateway into mindfulness and meditation. Naomi has been teaching yoga classes at Middlebury for over a year and hopes to gain her certification soon.

Cindy Esparza

Cindy is a Political Science major from the south side of Chicago. On campus she serves as the co-president of Alianza, a fellow to the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, and the programming house assistant to PALANA House (Pan-African, Latino, Asian, and Native American) Cindy is passionate about public policy, inclusivity, wellness, and nutrition. Aside from school and work, Cindy enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, trying DIY crafts, eating, being active (lifting, spinning, running, etc), and laughing at memes.

Andres Gonzalez

Andres Gonzalez is a trained and certified yoga instructor. He is the marketing manager for the Holistic Life Foundation Inc., which he cofounded in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2001. He is also cofounder and co-CEO of For the People Entertainment LLC. For 12 years, he has taught yoga at the Baltimore City Public Schools, drug treatment centers, wellness centers, colleges, and elsewhere. For the past two years, he has partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and Penn State’s prevention research center on a stress and relaxation study. He is the coauthor of a high school physical education curriculum based on yoga principles. He holds a BS in marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.

Rebecca Kneale Gould

Rebecca Kneale Gould is a scholar, writer, and environmental advocate. She served for eight years as a tenured associate professor of religion at Middlebury College and is now a senior lecturer in environmental studies, codirecting the focus on philosophy, religion, and the environment. She is author of At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America and cocreator of the 2012 documentary film The Fire Inside: Place, Passion and the Primacy of Nature, which explores the importance of contemplative practice in the face of environmental challenges. 

At Middlebury, she has taught courses including Nature’s Meanings, Contemplative Practice and Social Change, and From Social Justice to Environmental Justice. She speaks and is published widely on the connection between religious identity and environmental advocacy, as well as on the life and work of Thoreau.

Melissa Hammerle

Melissa Hammerle teaches contemplative education, writing, and teaching methods using reflective pedagogies and creative inquiry, most recently as visiting assistant professor at Middlebury College. She was formerly the director of the NYU Creative Writing Program. Her recent study was titled Conceptualizing Contemplative Practice as Pedagogy: Approaches to Mindful Inquiry in Higher Education.

Bob Hansen

Coach Hansen recently completed his fifth season as head coach of the Middlebury College men’s tennis team, after serving in the same role at the University of California, Santa Cruz for 30 years. At Middlebury he has guided the team to the NCAA title match and has won 80 percent of his matches and two NESCAC championships. At Santa Cruz Coach Hansen led his teams to seven NCAA championships, was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Coach of the Year four times, and was named the ITA Coach of the Decade for the 1990s.

John Huddleston

Photographer John Huddleston has used meditation practice for 10 years in his studio art courses at Middlebury College. Recently he has taught Introduction to Mindfulness courses as first-year seminars and in winter term.

Nükhet Kardam

Nükhet Kardam is a professor of development practice and policy at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey. Her research focuses on questions of self and identity, both internally and interacting with the external environment. Nükhet has been co-teaching a course titled Communicating in a Changing World for several years with Andrea Olsen. The premise of this course is how to promote embodied communication for social justice, taking into account how somatic tools assist us in integrating internal experiences with the external environment, including our communities, with different cultures, and in national and international contexts. Nükhet is a certified Qi Gong instructor​.

Chessy Kelley

Chessy Kelley has been leading meditation with people of all ages and faiths for 15 years. She has studied with numerous teachers for over 25 years, including His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Mandy Kimm ’17

Mandy Kimm '17 grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and studies dance and environmental studies at Middlebury. Mindfulness for her is a lifelong journey of honest self-observation, as a way to look deeply into herself and move through the world with greater integrity. She has been involved in leading the Prajna Meditation Club on campus, and works to find the points of connection between embodiment, mindful action, and contemplative practice through her involvement in dance, JusTalks, the Middlebury College Organic Farm, and Weybridge (the local foods house), among others. 

Beatrijs Kuijpers ’19

Beatrijs “Bea” Kuijpers is a squash player from Brooklyn, N.Y., who has introduced mindfulness practices to her team to increase focus, calm prematch nerves, build confidence, and strengthen team bonds.

Marc Lapin

Marc Lapin, a conservation ecologist, has taught in the Environmental Studies Program since 2003 and has been a conservation consultant for 25 years. Committed to incorporating contemplative pedagogy into his teaching, Marc utilizes individual and group silent and guided practices to help people experience our intimate connections to the natural world and to each other. He has training with Zen and Tibetan Buddhist teachers and Joanna Macy to bring Buddhism, deep ecology and systems thinking into contemplative practices.

Tim Lilburn

Tim Lilburn, professor of writing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, is the author of nine books of poetry, including Kill-site, To the River, Moosewood Sandhills, and Orphic Politics. He was nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Literature in 1989 for Tourist to Ecstasy, and won the award for Kill-site in 2003. His most recent book of poetry is Assiniboia (McClelland and Stewart, 2012). He is also the author of the essay collection Living in the World as if It Were Home (1999), a book on ecology and desire. Going Home, new essays from House of Anansi (2008), continues to explore the preoccupations of living in the world, tracing the nearly forgotten Western contemplative tradition from Plato through Christian monasticism, and considering the relevance of this tradition to both contemporary poetry and politics.

Barbara McCall

Barbara McCall joined the Middlebury College community in summer 2013. She earned her MPH in community health education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where her focus included maternal and child health care, migrant farmworkers, peer health educators and student leadership in higher education, and the LGBTQ community. She earned a BA in biology and a certificate in culture, health, and science from Mount Holyoke College. At Middlebury, Barbara works with students through psychoeducation, trainings, workshops, and communitywide programming to skill build, reflect, and communicate around lifetime wellness topics.

Michelle McCauley

Professor of Psychology Michelle McCauley directs the environmental studies conservation-psychology major. In her scholarly work she applies psychological theory to social issues such as eyewitness recall and environmental engagement. She is part of a working group on the role of contemplation on environmental concern, is the faculty liaison for the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference, and cowrites with Kevin Kite Hurry Up Please It’s Time, a web comic about the environment, culture, and science.

Jennifer Neil

Jennifer Neil teaches Iyengar yoga at Otter Creek Yoga in Middlebury, and studies at the Iyengar Yoga Center of Vermont in Burlington. She lives with her husband, Eric, several sheep, numerous chickens and a llama named Dudley.

Andrea Olsen

Andrea Olsen has been a professor of dance at Middlebury College in Vermont over the past three decades and is author of a triad of books on the body: Bodystories, Body and Earth, and The Place of Dance. She currently teaches on the Monterey, California, campus and studies Qi Gong with Lee Holden in Santa Cruz. See and Photo credit Alan Kimara Dixon.

Erin Quinn

Erin Quinn recently completed his 10th season as director of athletics at Middlebury College. He served the previous 15 years as the men’s lacrosse coach at Middlebury. His teams won over 84 percent of their games and won three consecutive NCAA championships. In his role as director of athletics, Quinn has had several opportunities to speak to various organizations regarding mindful leadership.

Maree ReMalia

Maree ReMalia was born in South Korea and raised in Medina, Ohio. She travels frequently working as a choreographer, performer, and teacher, facilitating movement experiences with individuals from a broad range of backgrounds. merrygogo is her platform for creating project-based performance works with communities of shifting collaborators. Her work has been presented in the U.S. and abroad. She has danced in works by Bebe Miller, Ohad Naharin, and Noa Zuk. Between 2003 and 2015, she was a member of regional dance companies and performed in the work of local artists in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. She previously danced with the Richmond Ballet and Southern Ballet Theatre. She completed her MFA at Ohio State University and earned her certification to teach the Gaga movement language through the first official training program in Tel Aviv, Israel. She trained in somatic and improvisational practices at the Moving On Center-School for Participatory Arts and Research.

Ali Smith

Ali Smith cofounded the Holistic Life Foundation Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2001. He serves as executive director. He is a native of Baltimore and a graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore. He attended college at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he graduated with a BS in environmental science and policy. He learned yoga and meditation from his parents and visited ashrams as a child. He has over 13 years of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations. Through his work with HLF he has helped develop and pilot yoga and mindfulness programs at drug treatment centers and mental crisis facilities, and with at-risk youth and other underserved communities around the world. A certified yoga instructor, he has authored a series of children’s books and coauthored several yoga and mindfulness-based curricula, as well as numerous workshops and trainings.

Atman Smith

Atman Smith is a cofounder of the Holistic Life Foundation Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked for 10 years as director of youth programming, and currently serves as the director of fundraising. He is also cofounder and co-CEO of For the People Entertainment LLC. He is a native of Baltimore and attended Friends School of Baltimore for 12 years, graduating from Baltimore’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. He went on to attend the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a letter winner for the men’s basketball team. He graduated with a BA in criminology and criminal justice. His parents were yogis and taught him contemplative practices as a very young child. For the past 13 years he has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to many diverse populations.

John Spackman

John Spackman is an associate professor of philosophy. He received his BA in philosophy from Grinnell College and his MA and PhD in philosophy from Yale University. He also has an MA in religion from Columbia University, where he focused on Buddhist philosophy and religion. The focus of Professor Spackman’s current research is on the connection between experience and language, and in particular on recent debates about whether various types of experience should be viewed as conceptual or nonconceptual-as mediated by concepts, or as independent of concepts. He also has a special research interest in Buddhist philosophy, and in particular on Buddhist perspectives on the relationships between mind, language, and reality.

Eli Susman '18.5

Eli Susman '18.5 grew up in Northbrook, Illinois and dedicates his studies to Psychology, French, and Dance at Middlebury. For Eli, mindfulness is a way that he tries to live his life, and it has transformed the way he thinks, acts, and sees the world. When Eli was eighteen, he spent part of his february semester living in a forest monastery at Wat Suan Mokkh in Thailand. During the summer, Eli works as a Field Instructor with Evoke Wilderness Therapy Programs.

Better known as Second Nature, Evoke is a psychological treatment program that uses evidence-based and experiential modalities for people ages 13-40. While working there, Eli facilitates daily practices centered around meditation, and works towards evoking a connection between mindfulness and relationships in their everyday lives. At school, Eli facilitates the Prajna Meditations on a weekly basis, represents the student body on Laurie Patton's Mindfulness Steering Committee, facilitates a contemplative massage workshop during J-Term, and practices mindful service volunteering for the Middlebury Ski Patrol and the Middlebury Regional Ambulance Service as an Advanced EMT.

Bill Waldron

Bill Waldron is a professor of religion and chair of the religion department. He teaches courses on the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan religion and history, comparative psychologies and philosophies of mind, and theory and method in the study of religion. His publications focus on the Yogacara school of Indian Buddhism and its dialogue with modern thought. Professor Waldron has been at Middlebury College since 1996. His monograph, The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, was published by RoutledgeCurzon in 2003.

Linda White

Blue Heron Aikido was started by Professor Jonathan Miller-Lane in 2004 when he arrived in Middlebury. Linda White, associate professor of Japanese studies, is now the chief instructor. She has been practicing aikido in the U.S. and Japan since 1982. 

Catharine Wright

Catharine Wright is director of the writing program at Middlebury College where she teaches critical and creative writing. She works with faculty across the disciplines on pedagogies that pertain to the teaching of writing, including contemplative pedagogy and social justice pedagogy. She is coeditor of Social Justice Education: Inviting Faculty to Transform Their Institutions.