Political Meaning Matters
For Katherine Gypson ’05, covering Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the current U.S. Congress for Voice of America has been an object lesson in the meaning of words, something her Marlboro experience made her ideally equipped to cope with.
“I’ve always loved history and the personalities and moral questions that come into play in politics,” says Katherine Gypson, who completed a Plan of Concentration in writing and history focusing on U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and public policy from American University in 2008, and started producing nonpartisan television programs for America Abroad Media that same year.
“I covered the last round of presidential elections as a documentary producer, working behind the scenes setting up shoots, managing camera crews and budgets, researching and drafting questions for my reporters—all of the work except putting myself out there on camera,” says Katherine. “On the final night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention I was on the convention floor during President Obama’s acceptance speech and I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to be a reporter.”
Katherine earned the opportunity to be an on-camera reporter when she moved to Voice of America the next year. But she didn’t start covering the “Trump beat” until she traveled to Tennessee in the spring of 2016 to report on a white supremacist rally, and talked to some of the locals about their vote for Trump and their thoughts on the rally.
“The complexity of that story, the unanswered questions at the heart of it, made me want to stick with reporting on Trump voters to find out more about this moment of change in the United States,” she says.
Katherine loves everything about being VOA’s congressional correspondent, although the job is all-consuming and the industry is constantly in flux. In the past year her profession has been under fire as dishonest, corrupt, and the “enemy of the people,” and she feels she is constantly defending her job. And yet she says, “It’s a great life.”
“I’m paid to learn new things, to meet people and ask them questions about their lives and the things that are closest to them,” she says. “I travel, read, write, learn—it’s a life of constant questioning that lets me work around smart, sarcastic people who love coffee as much as I do.”
Of all the Marlboro experiences and skills that she applies to her current position, Katherine is most indebted to her writing professors—Laura Stevenson and John Sheehy in particular. She says, “They pushed me to embrace complexity in my writing and thinking, to not be afraid of it and see it as an opportunity to make my work better and ask harder questions. There are times when I’m crashing on a story and I remind myself, ‘clear writing, clear thinking.’ I have a mass of information coming at me every day, and so much of our political debate now is about the meaning of words and whether or not they matter. The Marlboro approach helps me take a step back to define the story.”
Katherine loves the challenge of live television—the intensity of conveying a story in a few minutes. “Each story teaches me a little bit more about how to approach the next story,” she says. “And I definitely want to cover another presidential election.”
Class notes are listed by year and include both graduates and nongraduates; the latter are listed under the class with which they are associated.
“Downsizing—at our age we do not need 75 acres and two houses,” write BARBARA and BRUCE COLE. “Sorry to lose John MacArthur—a dear friend and professor.”
“I’ve been involved in writing for quite a while,” says JON POTTER. “Currently I’m teaching creative writing at University College at Rockland, or ‘U-Rock.’ I’ve published a number of poems, most recently in the Goose River Anthology. I’ve had quite a few plays published, some by Baker’s, Players Press, and most recently JAC. JAC even published a collection of ten commedia dell’ arte pieces that I put together for my local commedia troupe. The troupe operates on a stage built on a trailer, so in the summer we can produce plays in different areas. My first experience with commedia was at Marlboro. I wrote a textbook called The First Year English Teacher’s Guide to Beartraps, published by Xlibris, which was intended to deal with the real issues most first-year high-school English teachers face, and which are normally not explored in graduate classes in education. The subtitle is 103 Ways to Avoid Common Teaching Errors. My novel, published three years ago, is called We Will What We Will. It’s available in various formats through Amazon, and explores a group of high-school girls who have decided to ignore the ‘rules’ and get what they want when they want it. Thanks to Marlboro I’m still writing, and loving it.”
“Roxanne and I are retired,” writes RICHARD NICKERSON. “It’s great to be away from the grind. We have two grandchildren and avoid complainers at all costs. Life is good but goes by oh so quickly.”
“Been retired nearly six years from serving as business manager at St. Luke Catholic Church and School,” says JOSHUA ADAMS. “That was my seventh career—I move on after 5–7 years at one place. Reunited with a high school classmate after no contact for 40 years, and we’ve been together now for 15 years. Ran my high school’s 45th and 50th reunions and I’m now being conned into running the 55th. Enjoying retirement—every day is Saturday except for Sunday. Spend my time walking my neighborhood, picking up litter—keeps me busy and out in the air. Hope all at Marlboro are doing well. Marlboro taught me so much that I never realized I’d learned until many years later. The college was truly a game changer for me.”
“Still living in Camden, Maine, and painting,” says DAN DALY. “Show in galleries in Rockland and Portland, and teach at the Maine State Prison. Also president of the Georges River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Go to its website for a movie on a conservation project I worked for.”
GRETCHEN HOLBROOK GERZINA was chair of the jury that selected the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, which was won by Hisham Matar, author of The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between. “We read all the hundreds of submissions and put forward our selections. It was a huge amount of work,” says Gretchen. She was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“A new grandchild, Kelsey Jane Kim, was born December 2016,” writes MARGARET KELSEY WRIGHT. “Enjoying visits with her big brother Andrew, age 12, in LA, too. Our three grandchildren all doing interesting things. I am playing benefit concerts for organizations with ESL programs for immigrants and refugees. All is well here.”
“It was through osmosis that I learned how to use my hands,” artist MICHELLE HOLZAPFEL says in an April article in the Brattleboro Reformer. “Art lives in the realm of possibility. It’s always hard—it never gets easier. It humbles you.” That same week Michelle was featured in PBS’s Craft in America series. Learn more.
“Was it 1970 when Grazers was started?” writes ANDRA HORTON, who submitted a recipe to a new Marlboro Community Cookbook that started with retired anthropology professor Carol Hendrickson’s Food and Culture class. “There was no alternative kitchen, and no meals for vegetarians. Several of us explained the situation to Roland Boyden, then dean of students (I think), wondering if there could be an alternate kitchen that would be supported in part by our meals money, and that was the beginning of Grazers. It was in the geodesic dome: Michelle at the stove, frying up onions and carrots and boiling brown rice ... Now, 47 years later and still a vegetarian, I can continue to conjure up those smells as I prepare my own stir-fry.”
“I am a scholar of science, philosophy, and the arts,” writes MARTIN ROSENBERG. “I have published on most of the arts, and am currently researching the philosophical implications of the cognitive neuroscience of jazz improvisation. I am also a practicing jazz musician, composer, and arranger, and have had a two-night-a-week gig playing Jazz Happy Hour at a pub in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, for the last two-and-a-half years, currently with harmonica virtuoso Clint Hoover and bassist Michael McCarthy. I gave an invited paper for a music conference at the University of Southern Denmark last December 2016; was a featured speaker at the first Philosophy of Jazz Intermodal Conference in Winslow, Arizona, this past May 2017; and also performed during the conference jam session with philosopher Charles Otwell, pianist and composer for Poncho Sanchez.” Learn more.
In July, KEVIN MCCAMANT, father of IAN ’12 and EMMA ’14, took a stand against urban violence and changed the conversation in Baltimore with a hunger strike. Learn more.
Habits of Attention: Jake Davis ’03
“Marlboro helped me to integrate my personal and academic interests—in training good habits of attention—into a more coherent whole,” says Jake Davis, who did his World Studies internship studying meditation in a Burmese monastery. “In a certain way, that’s still what I’m working on, though with an increasingly broad range of practices and cultures.” Since November, Jake has been working as a postdoctoral associate with New York University’s Virtues of Attention project, which investigates attention from cross-cultural philosophical perspectives.
“My job is to cultivate a network of researchers working on this topic, hold workshops across NYU’s global network, and edit publications that will include philosophical contributions from Buddhist, Indian, Chinese, Islamic, Jewish, ancient Greek, African, Indigenous American, Polynesian, and Australian perspectives.”
Before his work at NYU, Jake was an adjunct professor for the Contemplative Studies Concentration at Brown University, teaching Buddhist Ethical Theory, Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation, and Meditation and the Brain. He earned his master’s degree in philosophy at University of Hawai‘i, and then a PhD at City University of New York, concentrating on the role of mindful attention in ethics.
“My favorite part of the NYU job is engaging with so many really interesting people, and talking and thinking with them beyond and around my own Buddhist and Western perspectives on things,” says Jake. “I still think of things Jet Thomas and Lynette Rummel said to me all those years ago. Some of their questions I have better answers for now, some not so much.”
ABBY JACOBSON writes, “I’m back in Putney, Vermont, after living in Providence, Rhode Island, for three years, where I was often found hanging out with GERALDINE MCPHEE ’83 and her husband, TREVOR ALLEN ’85. Since my return to Vermont, I’ve started a new career path and am now the program coordinator at Putney Cares, a small nonprofit that helps Putney elders age in place at home. When I’m not at Putney Cares, I can be found at Hidden Springs Maple, also located in Putney, where I do retail work selling maple syrup and other local products. Would love to see any Marlboro alumni who pass through Putney.”
“Have applied to Vermont Law School, for environmental law, and been accepted,” says BRAD OLDENBURG.
“Life is good,” writes KATHRYN WRIGHT APENES. “I am living in Portland, Oregon, with my husband, two golden retrievers, and a cat. I became an empty nester when my kids left for college. I work full time as a graphic designer and art director. I love to oil paint. You can see my art at kwastudio. com or at etsy.com/shop/kwaart.”
JAMES CLARKE writes, “After 10 years of running my own educational consulting practice, I am now back in Maine, running Deck House (again), and very happily married to my beautiful Lauren (1/1/16). Our lives are kept very busy by attending school and sporting events for our combined four kids (21, 18, 13, and 10). Life is good.”
CJ CHURCHILL completed his training in psychoanalysis in May at the Contemporary Freudian Society. He also became a Fellow of the International Psychoanalytical Society and a Fellow of the College of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He has a practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in midtown Manhattan, next to the New York Public Library, and continues as professor of sociology at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He recently published an article “‘Is That All There Is?’: Time, Guilt, and Melancholia in Sleep No More and Macbeth,” in the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. Learn more.
Santorini, South Africa, Scotland, and Guilford, Vermont? Congratulations to DAVE SNYDER, founder and owner of Guilford Sound, for being named in the BBC’s list of the “10 most stunning places to make music.” The article touts accommodations “either in an eco-building with a living roof (the whole studio was designed with sustainability in mind) or an 18th-century farmhouse, with breath-taking views of the woodlands of southern Vermont.” Learn more.
“Working for the USPS now as a clerk in Bellows Falls, Vermont,” writes CARLA FOGG. “Very different than academia. Enjoying the historical aspect and postage stamps. Money pretty good, too.”
“Life in Ohio is good,” writes MIKE TEMPLETON. “I make my living as a cook. I live in a little ‘city nest’ in Cincinnati, with a lovely woman who is an artist. Still living as a perpetual Marlboro dreamer...I write a blog on Wordpress should any of the lit philosophy weirdos get interested in what an old alumnus gets up to. It is partially the legacy of being one of Birje’s Plan students.” Learn more.
“I was assistant editor on the sixth and last season of Grimm on NBC,” says ERIN PETERS. “Then I went to a pilot for CBS called The Get about Vice News–style reporters. It starred Amy Brenneman from Judging Amy and Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond. I guess by the time you read this we’ll all know if it was picked up or not.”
“I don’t feel anyone should be able to just spoon-feed somebody their liberal or conservative politics or scientific opinions based on their own points of view,” said MICHAEL AUERBACH in a January Brattleboro Reformer article titled “Learning to Discern Fact from Faux News.” “I want students to investigate how we can really tell if something is valid or true.” Michael was featured for teaching a course centered around climate change, and discerning fabricated from factual data, at Brattleboro Union High School. Learn more.
“Living not too far from campus in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with my wife, Rachel, and our four-legged kids, Ozzy (cat) and Magick (dog),” writes AARON TIEGER. “Still practicing psychotherapy, both for an agency in the hilltowns and from my home office. My second full-length book of poems, Chaos Flowers, is due to be published sometime this year, and Rachel and I are still playing music together as Catbasket, though we are on semi-hiatus as she is working on a PhD in marriage and family therapy. I spend much of my time noodling around on acoustic guitars and posting the results on Soundcloud. Life is weird and challenging and overall delightful.”
The OP Goes to Boston: Rik Ganguly ’10 and Ari Iaccarino ’10
A couple of years ago, on the drive home from a nine-hour hike in the White Mountains, Rik Ganguly and Ari Iaccarino had the following conversation: “Hey, how do you get out here if you don’t have a car?” “I don’t know, but we should start a business to make it happen.” They were both in grad school and working full time in the Boston area, but that didn’t keep them from starting Ridj-it, a carpool company devoted to getting more people to explore the outdoors.
“Meeting cool people and getting outside is actually quite difficult in the city, versus at that great little school Marlboro, surrounded by forest,” says Ari, who is an ESL teacher for refugees and foreign diplomats when he is not traipsing in the New England wilds. “Every time someone tells us that we helped save them from getting a car and that our service fulfills their needs for adventure, the sense of satisfaction is overwhelming.”
Both Rik and Ari credit Marlboro with preparing them for the independent work and research required in their start-up business, and in the real world in general. “The ability to take multiple sources of information and, through problem solving, coalesce them into something comprehensible and actionable is a mindset, not a skill, that you learn at Marlboro,” says Rik, who works in healthcare analytics. “We use everything— art, literature, music, science, psychology, math—all the fields that a liberal arts degree provides, and that is invaluable in the age of automation.”
Find more information and see Leslie Wilson ’12 star in their promotional video.
TIM COLLINS returned to Brattleboro in April to perform The Script, his one-man show examining rape culture and the attitudes that create an environment where violence against women is acceptable and normal. His benefit performance at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center was sponsored by the Women’s Freedom Center as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
“I am elated to announce the birth of our second child, Meera Rosario, and another new beginning for my career,” says AMANDA TINNIN. “I have completed my PCI parent coaching certification. The program is an ideal fit for any Marlboro College community member as it involves a co-constructive process aimed at individuals within a living system rather than a one-size-fits-all framework. Our family will be staying in the UAE.”
ANDREA MICHELLE BELAIR writes, “Hi, I’m married and live in New Haven, Connecticut, where I work as archivist at the Office of the President at Yale University. I loved my studies at Marlboro, I love Vermont, and I hope everyone I was friends with at that time is doing well.”
JUSTIN HUGHES writes, “Am teaching English in Java, Indonesia. Wife and son are well.”
JIM GUCKENBERGER writes, “I lived in Brattleboro after graduation for about six years, until that didn’t work out anymore and I met my wife, Adrienne. We moved to Portland, Oregon, for about four years, until that didn’t work anymore either; then we decided to move back to Vermont. Currently working for Soteria House here in Burlington, a medication-free residential program for people recovering from psychosis. Still missing Marlboro, though I haven’t made it back to campus since returning to Vermont last fall.”
“If you look at a Native woman as a microcosm of the tribe, she may have been wounded in her lifetime and by historical trauma, but she is finding her strength and transforming that into a source for social change,” says WILLOW O’FERAL in Take magazine in May. She and BRAD HECK ’04 are featured for their new film, Arming Sisters, about combating increased rates of violence against Native American women. Learn more.
“Hello Marlboro community,” writes LILLIAN HELEN GRAHAM. “Forbes and I purchased our first home two years ago in Roslindale. We are expecting our second child this August and our hearts could not be fuller. Roslindale is a wonderful little chunk of Boston, and we are really enjoying the neighborhood. I continue to photograph daily, and have been working on an ongoing series of Boston estate sales, as well as keeping active with my vintage tin jewelry business, Memory Relics.”
“Every day, I get the chance to experiment with new materials and their relationship to one another, constantly testing their limitations and boundaries to find new forms,” says Chicago-based artist ERIC GUSHEE in a June profile in Luxe Daily. “It is this physicality of art via materiality, and the endless vocabulary the world gives us, that motivates me.” The article describes Eric’s use of discarded materials to create “seemingly animate work, characterized by strands of metal woven into organic, circular layers.” Learn more.
America in Transition: André Pérez ’10
As a Puerto Rican trans man in the rural South, André Pérez vowed to create online resources for trans folks in rural communities. At Marlboro, André’s Plan included founding the Trans Oral History Project, a multimedia exhibit on the history of transgender activism. Almost a decade later, he is the director of America in Transition, a documentary series and community engagement campaign exploring community, family, and social issues for trans people of color across the United States.
“I am excited to return to the South in order to explore and celebrate queer people fighting for the right to stay and creating space for ourselves in the communities we came from,” says André. “I want to talk about the South in complex and nuanced ways that go beyond the urban bias, and highlight the legacy of amazing queer culture that has managed to thrive, despite hostility.”
Over the past two years, André and colleagues have completed three episodes of America in Transition and hosted a dozen screenings focusing on the South. He builds on three years and over 500 interviews at StoryCorps, where he broadcasted 50 segments on NPR and WBEZ. In 2015, he was named one of the voices that will change the face of public media by the Association of Independent Radio, and in 2016 he was featured among NewCity Film’s 50 influential filmmakers in Chicago.
“Every day I get to learn from the incredible experiences of people in my own community, and that feels like a gift beyond measure,” says André. Learn more and support his efforts to change conversations in rural communities at americaintransition.org.
“I love to make things,” says SOPHIE MUELLER in a July MV Times article about Jenni Bick Custom Journals of West Tisbury, on Martha’s Vineyard, where she runs a hydraulic stamping machine for embossing leather covers. “I did printmaking at Marlboro College and then for three years in Brattleboro. I feel at home here.” Learn more.
CORA LIVELY writes, “I recently graduated from the University of Chicago MA program in social science and have taken a position in data modeling at the University of Chicago Medicine. I continue to be grateful for the professors at Marlboro who taught me how to make robust logical arguments and inspired me to pursue innovative solutions to complex problems. I see both of those skills carried into my current work in programming and analytics. I am also really grateful to have had the support of several Marlboro alumni, in my job search out of grad school, who were kind enough to talk to me about their experiences in tech. It is nice to see the Marlboro community carry on long after the hill.”
ELISABETH JOFFE writes, “I live and work in DC as a membership advisor to boards of directors at the National Association of Corporate Directors, promoting and retaining members who want to continue their education in the profession of directorship.”
HANNAH RUTH BROTHERS reports, “I moved back to my hometown of Santa Barbara, California, where I met Matthew Nelson, a fellow dancer who had just started Guerrilla Dance Practice, in which he danced outside in a public location every day and then blogged about it. I enjoyed joining him for many of these outings, and felt empowered with the knowledge that I could dance anywhere. We danced at parks, on beaches, on a university campus, on neighborhood sidewalks, in a mall, in parking lots, in front of Trader Joe’s, and in the median on a busy street. We began exploring Guerrilla Dance Practice as an interesting and economical method of creating work. In early 2015, I performed “Resilient, Receptive,” a solo that Matthew choreographed during our Guerrilla practices, at HHII Dance Festival in Santa Barbara and SpectorDance in Monterey. I have since become devoted to this method for creating my own work, and debuted a solo, “Movin’ for Miles,” to sold-out audiences at Santa Barbara’s NECTAR last November and HHII Dance Festival in February of this year. “Miles” was inspired by the music of the first Miles Davis Quintet of the late 1950s, and explores the dancing body as an instrument in conversation with the quintet. It feels great to be creating and performing my own work on my own terms. But going solo gets a little lonely after a while—I have my sights set on a collaboration with another dancer friend of mine soon.”
After applying to the Young Adult Service Corps, a mission of the Episcopal Church, AMELIA BROWN was selected as intern in the communications office for the worldwide Anglican Communion in London, starting in September. “It’s not the typical placement, but I am so excited for it,” reports Amelia, who was chosen based on her strong communications background. “Some of the things I’ll be doing are social media, collecting stories for the Anglican News, and some more media-based projects.” Follow her.
“I work in the toddler room of ABC’s childcare center in New London, New Hampshire,” says HALEY PETERS. “While I work with the whole classroom, my job is to guide and care for the littler ones in the classroom.”
“I’m living in Brattleboro, after a brief time away, working with behaviorally challenged kids,” says ROSIE KAHAN. “I work in a residence and have a lovely apartment, walking distance to work. I’ve stayed very close with several of my Marlboro friends, and talk to them often.”
In February, RAINBOW STAKIWICZ’s Plan show, Vox Pop, was performed at the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center, in Danbury, Connecticut. “I was on campus a few days, working with my team to get it back in shape, and then it was seen by college students, scouts, and faculty from all across the northeast. I’m really blessed to have had this opportunity, and I could not have done it without the help and support of Marlboro College.”
FELIX JARRAR writes, “I have been selected by the Brooklyn College Scholarship Committee to receive a fellowship to become the assistant to the ConTempo ensemble in the spring of 2018. The ConTempo ensemble is the conservatory’s new-music ensemble run by the legendary and award-winning pianist Ursula Oppens.” Felix was interviewed by Broadway World, along with his collaborator Brittany Goodwin, regarding the June debut of their theatrical musical cycle Songs of the Soul Beams at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “We wrote this work because we lost loved ones during the production of my second opera, The Fall of the House of Usher last year,” says Felix, referring to his Plan production. “Brittany, the director of the opera, lost her grandmother, and I lost my dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.” Learn more.
Graduate and Professional Studies
“I got my dream job! Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m creating my dream job,” says REGGIE MARTELL MAT. “Since late in 2016 I’ve been working as the creative director of web and video services for Martin and Associates, helping K12 schools improve their websites and communications. Seeing the work these kids are doing gets you excited to tell their story and show the depth of their learning. It blows my mind.”
“My wife and I recently launched our own business, called Mindful Escapades,” says JOHN TEDESCO MBA. “We organize and run retreats in gorgeous locations around the world focused on mindfulness, adventure, and healing. Our first retreat will be in Riva del Garda, Italy, in September 2017, and will be a mindful adventure retreat with daily meditation, yoga, and outdoor adventures. We will hold our second retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, in March 2018, specifically for couples who have lived through cancer. It will be a loving and restorative celebration of life that will include yoga, meditation, surfing, massage, and the opportunity to be in a community of cancer survivors and caretakers. Please visit our website or send me an email directly for more information at mindfulescapades.com.”
Former Faculty and Staff
In February, retired biology professor BOB ENGEL gave a talk about plants, pollinators, and climate change, part of a lecture series titled “The Nature of Windham County: Past, Present, and Future,” co-sponsored by the Dummerston Conservation Commission and Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center. Bob discussed plants and pollinators that were here or that are here now, and what might affect them going forward in the context of “energetics.”
In March and April, the Dianich Gallery of Brattleboro, Vermont, was pleased to exhibit the work of the late painter GIB TAYLOR. The show featured large oils on canvas as well as watercolors, many painted in the artist’s Westminster West, Vermont, studio. Gib, who died in 2006, is fondly remembered not only for his artwork but also for his nearly 30-year tenure on the visual arts faculty at Marlboro College.
Former dean of students KEN SCHNECK was in Brattleboro for a reading and signing at the Root Social Justice Center in June, following the publication of his book, Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew. “This travelogue details my hilarious and heartbreaking adventures in the world, and my Vermont time and transition to Cleveland features heavily.” Learn more.