Senior earns Watson Fellowship for year-long study of island cultures

Aylie Baker, a senior from Yarmouth, Maine, is the latest Middlebury student to receive the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which funds a year of post-undergraduate independent study outside the United States. She begins her travels in July and plans research visits to the Maldives, the Canaries, the Chiloé Archipelago and Palau, where she will record numerous audio interviews. She hopes the recordings will have value both for the communities she visits and for her own continued research at home.

Baker says growing up in Maine, with its more than 4,000 coastal islands, gave her a deep appreciation for island life and culture. She believes the rugged challenges faced by islanders, combined with inflated costs for goods, results in innovation by necessity.

Middlebury senior named to USA Today’s All-USA Academic First Team

Middlebury senior Carrie Bryant of Wellesley Hills, Mass., is one of 20 college students named to the elite USA Today College Academic First Team, which was announced by the McLean, Va., based newspaper on April 29. Now in its 20th year, the $2,500 award recognizes students for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.

A classics major with a 3.91 grade point average, Bryant has numerous honors and awards at Middlebury College including the 2009 Jason B. Fleishman Award; the Eaton Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Classics; and Charles A. Dana Scholar for academic achievement potential for leadership and accomplishment. She will begin graduate studies in Latin language and literature at Oxford University this fall.

Middlebury team places first at 2009 computer programming competition

For the third year in a row, a group of three Middlebury College students finished first in a computer programming contest held on April 24 at SUNY Plattsburgh in New York. The Middlebury team included juniors Toby Norden and Scott Wehrwein, and sophomore David Fouhey. The group was coached by Middlebury College Associate Professor of Computer Science Tim Huang and Associate Professor of Mathematics Frank Swenton.

The annual competition, conducted by the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Northeast Region (CCSCNE), tests students’ abilities to work collaboratively within a limited time to develop computer programs for specific problems.

Student co-authors N.Y. Times op-ed column on democracy in Afghanistan

By NADER NADERY and HASEEB HUMAYOON [Class of '09]

LAST November, extremists on motorbikes opposed to education for women sprayed acid on a group of students from the Mirwais School for Girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Several young women were severely burned. Yet it did not take more than a few weeks for even the most cruelly disfigured girls to return to school. Like the crowds of women in Kabul this week who protested a new law that restricts their rights, the Mirwais students demonstrate unbending courage and resolve for progress. They don’t fear much — except that the world might abandon them.

That is why President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy speech last month and his administration’s related white paper are worrisome: both avoided any reference to democracy in Afghanistan, while pointedly pushing democratic reforms in Pakistan.

Spring student symposium April 17 showcases undergraduate research

On Friday, April 17, from 1-7 p.m., more than 100 Middlebury College students will showcase the results of their recent research efforts as part of the third annual Middlebury College Spring Student Symposium. The symposium will highlight student work through a mix of lectures, performances, posters, artwork and readings. The presentations will take place in the Great Hall and various classrooms of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). All events are free and open to the public.

College dining staff featured in student's portrait exhibit

The facial expressions in Angela Evancie’s new photo exhibit range from placid to cheerful to anxious. The black and white portraits of Middlebury College Dining Service employees achieve much of what she had hoped for – a humanizing portrayal of a group of people who students often overlook in the daily rush of academic life. Her photos are on display at the college’s 51 Main through Saturday, May 2.

“The dining halls are social hubs,” Evancie says, “where people gather and catch up with each other three times each day. It was important to me in this project that the staff be removed from the context in which we normally see them, in uniforms, doing a specific task that they do every day.” She asked the staff to wear their street clothes and photographed them in front of a plain background. Approximately 20 staff members volunteered to be photographed for the project.

Sisters in Sport: everyone wins in this fast-break mentoring program

A dozen seventh grade girls excitedly kick off their snow boots and race one another to lace up their tennis shoes before entering the gym. As the door opens, the sound of basketballs bouncing up and down fills the room. A Middlebury College student sees the girls, puts the basketball she is holding under one arm, and beckons the seventh graders onto the court. The seventh graders grab balls and join the college players, ready for fun.

During the basketball season, the Middlebury College women’s basketball team and seventh graders from Middlebury Union Middle School participate in Sisters in Sport. The Middlebury students work with the seventh grade girls as both mentors and as basketball teammates.

Middlebury College students and faculty awarded Vermont Campus Compact awards

Middlebury College students, faculty, and community partners were recognized as awardees and finalists for Vermont Campus Compact Statewide Awards at Vermont Campus Compact's Statewide Conference, Through a Civic Lens, on April 1.

Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) is a consortium of 22 college and universities aiming to catalyze the public missions of higher education. VCC seeks to transform campuses in ways that contribute to social, economic, and environmental sustainability while developing better informed, active citizen problem-solvers. VCC believes that campuses must be vital agents and architects of a flourishing democracy

College Choir performs its spring tour program in campus concert

The College Choir tour program is a collection of exciting, dramatic, though-provoking and fun music for a cappella chorus. Exquisite madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi and Thomas Morely are coupled with the tempestuous and playful French choruses from “The Lark,” by Leonard Bernstein. An ensemble committed to understanding between people of different cultures, College Choir sings sentimental, humorous, spiritual and celebratory music from folk traditions of the Americas, Europe and the Far East. A Spiritual arranged by Middlebury’s Francois Clemmons is prelude to two works by Kirke Mechem, “I Know What the Caged Bird Feels” and “Everyone Sang,” settings of poetry by Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Siegfried Sassoon that capture musically both the pain of persecution and the triumph of freedom.

Ben Rudin becomes Middlebury's first men's basketball All-American

Middlebury College men’s basketball player Ben Rudin (Scarsdale, N.Y.) has become the school’s first men’s basketball All-American. The senior earned second-team honors by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), after being a first-team All-Northeast District selection. Earlier this winter, Rudin was named the NESCAC Player of the Year while earning a spot on the league’s first-team. The point guard led the Panthers to their most successful season in school history, winning the NESCAC Championship with a school-best record of 24-4. The Panthers also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.

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