Goal: $70.5 Million

A Middlebury education means rigorous academics coupled with experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom: internships, research projects, entrepreneurship, social impact initiatives, clinical placements, athletics, and cocurricular activities. These can build confidence and leadership qualities, bring insights into career paths and lifelong pursuits, and develop students’ capacity for problem solving, self-reflection, and accountability. Such hands-on learning enables students to transform interests into future opportunities.

Voices of Experience

Learning by doing: researching algal blooms in Lake Champlain.

Erin Eggleston: Man, the chlorophyll readings are bouncing around here.

Eli DiBari: It always dances like that.

Erin Eggleston: Yeah, and I think we’ve had pretty high chlorophyll at Missisquoi and then it’s pretty low. My name is Erin Eggleston and I am an assistant professor of biology here at Middlebury College, and I specialize in molecular microbial ecology. This summer’s research has focused on cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in Lake Champlain. We’re interested in the ecology of Lake Champlain and how conditions are changing there, that are linked to these harmful algal blooms. Many of these cyanobacteria can produce toxins, and we don’t really have a quick measure to know if those toxins are being produced, so if you see the visible bloom feature, the beaches get closed for swimming. That’s sort of a health risk. Okay, what do we got?

Eli DiBari: 23.2 degrees Celsius, 106.9 percent DO. We have three different field sites on Lake Champlain. The furthest north is in Missisquoi Bay, and we go to St. Albans Bay, and then also Malletts Bay, which is closer to Burlington and Colchester. We go to the docks there and we will pump out about 10 liters of water.

Erin Eggleston: And then when we arrive back on campus, that’s when sort of the post-processing becomes important. So we filter water to capture the DNA from the microbes that are present, and then we also filter water on these smaller filters that we then stain. And so we’re able to capture not only the bacteria and the cyanobacteria that we’ve captured, but we’re also able with that stain, to see viruses under the microscope that are very, very small. And so this staining technique is pretty powerful. From that information, we can look at how communities are changing.

Eli DiBari: Being involved in research that is actively helping to understand what is going on behind these toxic algae blooms, feels like I’m doing something purposeful in the community.

Erin Eggleston: I would stay to the side here just to—

Eli DiBari: Not on the rack, you think?

Erin Eggleston: … avoid this slip in, yeah.

Eli DiBari: If we run out, let me know. Experiential learning of research has been, I think, the biggest thing. Being able to go through the trial and error and the self-development, the problem solving. Professor Eggleston has definitely passed on her love for this kind of work.

Erin Eggleston: I think that this research is interesting and important for sort of different targets and different interests. Right now, we’re basically generating foundational biological information that we just don’t have the answers to these questions. Just sort of basic biology of who’s there and what are they doing, with the goal of then being able to inform mitigation strategies or how we sort of try to manage harmful algal blooms moving forward.

Learning by doing: interns make a meaningful difference in Vermont.

Cyrus Perkinson: The MiddWorks program has allowed me to make a great impact on the Addison County community. It’s really nice to build that community around Vermont in a place that you already are in and build those connections.

Jasmine Wang: It’s so hands-on. It’s very correlated to people’s life. You can actually make a meaningful impact about it. Living in Vermont so far has been great because there’s a great work-life balance.

Patrick Connolly: As everyone knows, the state is amazing in the summer. Getting outside, exploring different outdoor recreation options, and just seeing different businesses has been really amazing. The work I do here has brought me a lot closer to the state.

Samimah Naiemi: As an international student, I brought some new ideas of what I have learned in my culture and back home in Afghanistan. The employers that are so understanding and nice and are so open to new ideas that I want to share with them.

Cyrus Perkinson: I definitely want to make some change in Vermont in my lifetime.

Funding Priorities

  • Expand internships and experiential-learning opportunities across the institution, including the Center for Careers and Internships and the Center for Community Engagement at the College and the Center for Advising and Career Services at the Institute.
  • Provide more funding for student-faculty research at the College and Middlebury Institute, allowing students to work directly with faculty mentors on timely and important topics.
  • Strengthen our varsity athletics programs by funding assistant coaches for all teams and providing the resources to support student-athletes.

Your Impact

  • Students working together in the organic garden on campus.

    The Knoll’s Roots Run Deep

    For 20 years, the Knoll, Middlebury’s hillside garden, has provided students and faculty with a place to connect with the earth, and with one another, bringing their learning to life.

  • Student lying on the floor working with markers

    Supporting Innovation’s Future

    A $5 million gift from the Kelson Foundation will support Middlebury’s Innovation Hub, creating more opportunities to meet the evolving needs of today’s students.

  • Middlebury women’s lacrosse team

    What It Takes to Triumph

    Middlebury women’s lacrosse has thrilled fans season after season. Integral to that success—a full-time assistant coach, made possible by an endowed fund.

Progress to $70.5 M Goal

As of