Psychology student Jess Kimball ‘24 just published an academic paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (37) 3, Fall 2023. Jess’s paper explores the use of the Midwife Model to reduce maternal mortality, a topic she researched for an Intro to Research Methods class during coursework at CCV in June 2022.
Although just 22 years old, Jess already has a strong background in the field: She became a doula with a focus on post-partum maternal care right out of high school at age 16, and holds a PMH-C from Postpartum Support International.
Jess had registered at CCV to take a few classes required for her work as an assistant in a midwifery practice. She didn’t intend to enroll in a degree program, but she did well in her classes and just kept going! After earning an associate degree in Psychology online with CCV, she transferred to Vermont State to complete her bachelor’s in Psychology also online, and will complete her studies in August 2024.
“Through college I realized I could do more than I ever thought!” Jess said. She’s already thinking ahead to earning a doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis on perinatal mental health, or entering law school — or both! About the publication, she says, “I’m really excited about it and hope to publish more of my writing!”
Besides her studies, Jess runs Kimball Wellness Association, a non-profit she founded that provides prenatal and postpartum support to families and is also the managing director of programs for the Global Foundation for Girls.
Service Above Self. It’s the motto of the Rotaract Club, and it’s a way of life for Kontessa Siliski.
Kontessa, a junior Multidisciplinary Studies major with a concentration in Mathematics and seeking Special Education Endorsement, devotes a great deal of her time to others.
She finds a variety of ways to be of service to others, serving as president of the Student Education Association (SEA) and the vice president of Rotaract Club. She is also a peer mentor for the College Steps program, a certified Peer Advocates for CHANGE member, and the TRIO Program Assistant in the Academic Support Center.
Kontessa said that community service has always been an important part of her life. A desire to serve is a quality instilled by her mother, who encouraged her to help whenever she is able. She grew up involved in many service projects in her hometown of Granville, New York, as a Girl Scout and with her mother.
“Helping others brings me great gratification. I enjoy using my time selflessly to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Kontessa said. “I think I have always followed the ‘service above self’ motto. Because of this, I joined Rotaract, where I can continue to help others.”
Both SEA and Rotaract Club have provided an outlet for Kontessa’s drive to help others and also offered leadership opportunities. When many members of the SEA were set to graduate, Kontessa stepped in to fill the void by recruiting students and was elected the next president.
“I really enjoy working with the other members in SEA to participate in events we sponsor in the community. Through collaboration, we have learned so many new ideas about educational leadership that can help us when we become full-time educators.”
After graduation, Kontessa plans to find a job at a small school in Vermont as a K-2 educator and go back to school to get her master’s degree.
“I would especially like to thank all of the professors in the Education Department for encouraging me to do my best and helping to build my confidence when I thought that I didn’t have what it takes to be the student I am today.”
Jessica Babcock, a Health Science major from Vermont, said the in-state tuition, small campus, and friendly people allowed her to play softball while focusing on her studies.
“The positive atmosphere created by the school and the community really made it a peaceful place to learn and grow as a person,” Babcock said.
According to Babcock, the Castleton campus was where she discovered her passion for health sciences. She added that the small class sizes and enthusiastic instructors contributed to her excelling in academics.
“In the classroom, you have the opportunity to interact with your teacher and get one-on-one help with the coursework,” she said.
In addition to the relationships she developed in the classroom, Babcock said the campus’s family atmosphere extended to the softball team, where she was a proud member. She said it was her strongest memory of the school and that she made many life-long friends along the way.
“I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” she said.
The 2016 graduate is currently living in the greater Boston area, where she is working and pursuing programs for a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
A positive, community-based experience has been the basis for many students finding success on the Castleton campus. Alumni Alex Adams is no exception after earning his History degree.
“I had several schools in mind, but my decision became easy after visiting the campus and researching faculty members,” Adams said.
Coming in as a transfer student from a larger school, Adams pictured his experience solely focusing on going to class, studying hard, and earning his degree without becoming heavily involved in campus life. His expectations changed as he arrived on campus and instead found himself immersed in the unique social and academic community he became part of.
An active member of the Project 240 steering committee, Adams provided valuable input on how to increase civic engagement among students at. Throughout his time on campus, he also served as the Treasurer of the Democratic Leadership Club, President of the History Club, and co-wrote a paper for submission in the 2016 New England Political Science Conference.
Adams credits his professors for encouraging him to consider post-graduation plans, leading him to his discussion to attend graduate school. Adams said History, Geography, Economics, and Political Science Professors Trish Van Der Spuy and Rich Clark provided him with great opportunities throughout his schooling.
“All of my history professors go out of their way to help me out, and I am always surprised at how much time and effort is afforded to me,” Adams said.
These are the involvements that have paved the way for a remarkable educational experience for Adams, which is something he values deeply.
“I’ll remember working hard and meeting some pretty great people,” he said.
Though Casey Toof currently holds several jobs, to him the most important is Vermont State Representative for Franklin 3-1, covering the city of St. Albans and St. Albans Town, in addition to serving on the House Education Committee.
“I am the proud father of two young boys, Callan and Lukas. They are pretty much my entire world and serving in the legislature is something they are proud of me for doing,” Toof said.
While studying History to become a teacher, Toof began his budding political career in the Castleton community where his involvement in student government spanned three years and included being Chief Justice of the College Court.
“In that role, I learned about serving and giving back,” he said. “… it was about being a part of the community. The small school and the friends I made there are really what Vermont is all about.”
After graduating in 2009, Toof was hired to work on Gov. Douglas’ re-election campaign, which gave him insight into politics at the state level. He was also working at a local car dealership, where he learned marketing, and after six years of heading their Internet Department, he decided to start his own marketing firm, Toof Consulting, LLC. Toof found running his own business allowed him the flexibility to serve the people in his district.
“I grew up in St. Albans and I really enjoy working for the people. I have always volunteered,” he said, said adding that he has coached and served on local boards, including his current role as Vice-Chair of the St. Albans Town Planning Commission. “This job allows me to make policies that will help Vermont taxpayers.”
Representatives are required to be in Montpelier, January through May, Tuesday through Friday to do the work of the State.
“In the Legislature we write and vote on Vermont laws. In House Education, we handle education-related issues with the state, but not the financing. The Vermont Education fund is very complex, and we make recommendations on use, but we mostly focus on education policy,” Toof said.
While he says that being in politics can sometimes be difficult, as there are always critics, tough conversations, and complex issues, he feels it is an advantage to be a Vermonter.
“You get to meet so many people from around this great state that you typically would never get to meet, from all types of backgrounds and political affiliations,” he said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned about serving is that we are all just people doing what we feel is right for our constituents.”
From the Green Mountains to Spartan 343 green, Alexandre Forest found the Castleton campus to be exactly what she was looking for.
Graduating in 2019, Forest finished her degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.
“Castleton has changed my future goals by allowing me to change my mind and develop as a person the way I see fit,” she said. “I came in thinking I’d go into Business Administration, but then I discovered more about myself and learned more about other business avenues throughout classes.”
Forest believes Marketing is the perfect fit for her. The connections Forest has made with professors at the University have helped her succeed both inside and outside of the classroom, including Bill Wiles, her mentor, and supervisor in the Academic Support Center.
“We meet up frequently to catch up,” she said. “I have been very lucky for his care and support.”
Forest plans to land a position in either public relations or with a marketing firm. She is also looking forward to expanding her horizons and travel. Forest will always remember the feeling of home on campus.
“I’ll remember going to athletic games with friends, enjoying classes, meeting new people, and making the best out of four short years,” she said.
There is no better college outcome than achieving your dreams and pursuing your passions. Alumna Samantha “Sammy” MacEachron is doing just that when she begins her career as a teacher at Rutland Intermediate School.
Sammy is a Mathematics major with teacher licensure who grew up moving around New England as part of a military family. While on the Castleton campus, she was involved in many activities, including Student Orientation Staff; Student Council for Exceptional Children, a club that she initiated; The Mentoring Program at Castleton Elementary School (mentor for 4 years, mentor leader for 3 years); Math tutor in the Academic Support Center; proctor for the Quantitative Reasoning and Information Literacy tests; and working for College Steps.
“I have always wanted to become a teacher since I was about 3 years old. Teaching is my dream job, and it’s finally coming true,” Sammy said. “I enjoy making an impact on young students’ lives. It makes me happy to see children achieving in their school curriculum and enjoying their learning environment. I also enjoy mentoring. I want each child to know that I am there for them always. Teaching makes me truly happy, and it’s my passion. I will continue to grow and be involved in the teaching profession.”
Sammy cites many key influences that made a significant impact on her life and education. She said she has been able to learn and grow with the guidance of Professor Galle, Professor Generazzo, Professor Leigh-Ann Brown, Professor Slonaker, Professor McEnerny, and Professor Rajia Professor Schwaner, Kate Spaulding, and Ashley Haggerty.
“I am so happy to have had wonderful, caring professors who are always there for their students,” Sammy said. “I truly love the feeling of being on campus and feeling part of a caring, outgoing community. I have met so many incredible people that will impact my life forever. Many opportunities allowed me to take on leadership responsibilities, which have helped me to grow in my profession.”
Sammy is eagerly anticipating her career as a full-time teacher and continuing with her education and professional development.
“I am looking forward to starting my next chapter after everything the University has taught me. I will apply my knowledge and experiences in my new classroom job, moving from the student perspective at Castleton to the teacher perspective at Rutland Intermediate School. I feel well prepared because of my variety of experiences. ”
With the mountains and lakes that surround the Castleton campus, entrepreneur and alum Karl Wiedemann found a way of life and passion in his time at the University that built the foundation for a successful career.
After graduating in 1995 with a Bachelors of Communication and a love for the outdoors, Wiedemann set out to combine both of his passions. As the result of his work, he is now the owner of BrickPR, an award-winning public relations and marketing agency focusing on the outdoor, bike, snow, paddle and sports, and lifestyle markets.
With the tag line, “Brick by brick, we build solid brands,” the company works closely with media events, product naming, public and media relations. The agency works to achieve awareness and exposure to a client’s brand by putting it directly in front of key influencers, a tactic that has won their PR campaigns and products multiple awards.
“I expanded my love for the outdoors while at Castleton and was lucky to land my first job in the bicycle industry less than a year after graduating. That helped me define my career path which ultimately allowed me to open my own agency,” Wiedemann said.
His work in the Communication field has moved Wiedemann all over the country, collecting experience and applying his knowledge wherever he goes.
In November of 2015 he became the East Coast Advertising Sales Representative for BRAIN, or Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. A few months before, he was hired by Park Tool, an American bicycle tools and equipment design, manufacture, and marketing company based in Saint Paul, MN as the Director of Marketing and Communications.
Appreciating every moment of his time on Castleton’s scenic campus, Wiedemann says that if he had attended a large school he would not have been as successful. Being a part of a close-knit group of like-minded individuals who valued their education as he did, matched with professors that provided the freedom to be creative but enough structure and guidance to be successful, is what got him to where he is today.
“Being a mountain biker, skier, paddle-boarder, hiker and runner, I couldn’t have asked for a better setting to go to school,” Wiedemann said.
Knowing her college search was bound within the borders of her home state of Vermont, alumna Eva Clark found an unexpected home on the Castleton campus.
After touring The University of Vermont, Clark came to realize that small class sizes and the tight community at Castleton would be her best fit. The campus proved to be the perfect environment to figure out which direction she wished to take her academic career.
“After nearly two years of being undeclared and exploring what classes sparked my interest, I chose Communication because it is the major that suits me best based on my strengths,” Clark said.
Having completed many classes within her declared major, she became entirely involved in her program of study from the support and encouragement she received from her professors.
“Coming to Castleton has helped me to set my future goals by exposing me to many areas of possible career paths,” she said, “This has been key to helping me decide what I am and am not interested in doing in my future.”
Staying active socially and academically, Clark could be seen all over campus with a friendly smile on her face and a warm hello to anyone she saw. A member of the Varsity Women’s Soccer team and the Habitat Club, she worked to keep energy and spirits high within both groups.
“My experiences on the soccer team will be what I remember most about my time here at Castleton. Nothing compares to being on a team, playing the sport you love with some of your best friends,” Clark said.
Clark appreciates the Vermont setting and credits it to helping with some of her collegiate success.
“My first and continued experiences have surpassed any expectations I had before coming here,” she said.
With her love for music, Jessica Pierpont knew she wanted to earn her degree in that field. She chose the Castleton campus because it has one of the most developed music programs in Vermont.
After graduating with her music degree, Pierpont attended The University of Arizona, earning a master’s degree in Choral Conducting. She has since found her way back to Vermont.
Pierpont is grateful for her time on campus because of the opportunities it provided her and the influence of her professors.
“Dr. Sherrill Blodget was a huge influence on my music career. The university allowed me many opportunities that I wouldn’t have received anywhere else,” Pierpont said.
She said that Blodget was a huge factor in her success and that she was an incredible resource. The two still remain in touch.
“She truly believed in me and allowed me to expand my experiences in whatever way I possibly could,” Pierpont said.
Pierpont found many hands-on learning opportunities on campus and she was able to gain conducting experience early in her undergraduate degree.
“Between the community service, community involvement, emphasis on education, and promoting the arts programs, there were so many opportunities for students to succeed,” she said.
Pierpont’s advice for current students is to take every advantage the university has to offer because there are always positive things happening around campus.
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston Crusaders is a world-class competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Boston Crusaders is a founding member of Drum Corps International and the third-oldest junior drum and bugle corps in the country. The group includes brass players, percussionists, and color guard members under the age of 22 who travel over 10,000 miles each year to perform for over 300,000 fans.
Boston Crusaders have begun their past six seasons at Castleton University, where they spend approximately three weeks preparing for their summer tour. They end their stay with a preview show for the community.
“I had the opportunity to watch rehearsals during their spring training and their preview show that Boston puts on before departing for tour. The level of athleticism and musicianship that I was able to experience was mind-blowing. I was immediately sold on the activity,” Carley said.
A senior Music Education major from Walpole, New Hampshire, Carley is a member of the Athletic Bands. A trombone player since the fifth grade, she never planned on continuing to play after high school, but a meeting with Coordinator of Athletic Bands during registration weekend changed her perspective.
“Music is something that never leaves your heart. Even though I began as a different major, music was always there. I think that my love of music plus the influence of my role models caused me to end up here as a music education major. I am excited to become a teacher so I can hopefully inspire the next generation to work hard and pursue their dreams as well,” she said.
After completing her marching season with the 7th Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 2018, she was encouraged to march again and to push herself. That’s when the idea of auditioning for the Boston Crusaders first came up.
Carley’s experience with Athletic Bands and other opportunities have prepared her to be the first student from the Castleton campus to perform with the group.
“We use the same dance techniques, drill writing, and music as DCI groups do. During my time as Drum Major and as a music work-study student, I was also able to learn about the processes of writing shows, the methodology behind it, and how to teach these skills to members of the band,” she said. “I was able to understand the how and why behind DCI-style shows; this helps me to be a better marcher and musician myself.”
Nursing, a time-consuming yet rewarding degree taken on by dedicated individuals, is challenging enough in your native language. Furdiki Sherpa, a Nursing major and Health minor from Nepal, has navigated her way through the nursing field and clinical studies all in a second language.
The decision to pursue a career in healthcare came easily to Sherpa, who would watch her aunt care for an uncle who dealt with multiple health issues while living in Nepal.
“I always wanted to help and make a difference in people’s lives. After high school, I realized that nursing was my calling and I came to Vermont from Nepal to pursue my career as a nurse,” Sherpa said.
After earning her LPN from Vermont Technical College, she moved her studies to the Castleton campus to achieve her RN.
“I always strive for challenges, experiences, and new adventures in life, and coming here has been a great experience that has helped me grow personally and professionally.”
Nursing students complete clinical hours at various health care sites, an experience that provided Sherpa the opportunity to work with different groups of patients. From pediatric, psych, geriatric, and the general population, she found hands-on work at facilities such as the Rutland Regional Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock, and the University of Vermont Medical Center.
“My college experience in Vermont has been interesting and difficult mostly because English is my second language. Besides learning new nursing terms, I also had to learn English grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation,” Sherpa said. “Also, learning about the culture of western medicine and the healthcare system in the U.S. was both challenging and rewarding to me.”
The final whistle may have blown on his athletic playing career, but alum and Physical Education Major Mike Perrone, ’15, has done anything but step away from the game.
Perrone accepted a position as an elementary physical education teacher and was named varsity football, basketball, and baseball head coach in his hometown of Warrensburg, NY, in addition to already serving as the head varsity baseball coach at Vermont’s Proctor High School.
Before these accomplishments and just a few months after crossing the stage to receive his bachelor’s in physical education, Perrone found himself back in Spartan Stadium.
While pursuing his masters in Athletic Leadership, Perrone returned to the field as an assistant coach alongside his former head coach, Tony Volpone.
“I learned how to conduct a first-class program both on and off the field. Coach Volpone is a great mentor and a coach I aspire to emulate,” he said. “The coaching staff were the first ones to contact me when I was announced as the head varsity football coach at Warrensburg.”
As a student-athlete, Perrone played on the defensive outside line for the Spartans. He began his career with an ECFC Rookie of the Week honor and grew to start in all 10 games as a senior and added a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown in the squad’s victory over Anna Maria. He also brought the Maple Sap Bucket home to Glenbrook Gymnasium after defeating the Norwich Cadets three times in his career, twice as a player and once as a coach.
The accolades and opportunities continued for Perrone.
In just his second season with Proctor High School Varsity Baseball, he led the Phantoms to clinch the Marble Valley League D Division title. After only two wins in his first season, Perrone brought the team to a 14-3 record that season and claimed the division championship, an achievement that also earned him Marble Valley League Coach of the Year.
Eventually, his success called him home.
“It has always been a dream to coach at Warrensburg, so I’m very excited and thankful to get this opportunity,” he said.
In his first season as Head Football Coach for the Burgers, Perrone said he is excited not only to coach at his alma mater, but also to have his father standing on the sidelines as his assistant.
“He coached me when I was a high school football player and has always been a great role model and mentor. It’s a tremendous opportunity getting to share this experience with him,” Perrone said.
Between Proctor and Warrensburg, Perrone now coaches four teams over three seasons and two states. He said this leaves little downtime, but in the short off-seasons, he keeps busy with AAU and summer leagues, as well as working with his athletes in the weight room to prepare for their next season.
Looking ahead, Perrone said his goal for his career is to share his love and passion for athletics and fitness to both students and athletes.
“I hope to provide a great learning experience that creates lifelong memories,” he said. “I strive to educate my athletes on the game to make them smarter and more well-rounded. Lastly, I hope they enjoy their time spent as student-athletes and that I can act as their guide and mentor.”
When choosing a major, the field of Political Science came naturally for Robertson. Since she can remember, she has always had a flair for politics and a hope to work in the field.
“This degree will help me keep up to date on a lot of issues that affect lawyers all the time,” she said.
While on the Castleton campus, Robertson used her leadership skills to make great strides in various areas where she is passionate. In addition to working several jobs and taking on a full course load, she found time to create the Political Science Club and served as a Research Assistant to the Castleton Polling Institute for nearly a year.
“I did not really expect to be involved in much because I was a commuter, but students have a lot of opportunities, even ones they did not think were possible,” said Robertson, who is also a member of the cheerleading team and part of two different honor societies.
In March of 2016, Robertson made local history as she was elected to the Rutland City Board of Aldermen, a giant step in her political career, becoming the youngest member in history. During her time on the board, Robertson hopes to tackle issues such as the local water system, growing business in downtown Rutland, and attracting the younger generation to the local area.
“I feel that my education has taught me that no matter where you start, you can accomplish anything,” Robertson said. “The support system on campus really helped me throughout the campaign process.”
An affordable degree close to home brought alumni Shannon Moriarity to the Castleton campus to earn her Psychology degree.
“I had heard many positive remarks on the education you receive here at Castleton, so I knew I was getting the most out of my money,” she said.
Her interest in Psychology took root in high school when the topic of human behavior was presented to her in a class. Finding the study intriguing, she decided to pursue it further.
After transferring to the Castleton campus halfway through her sophomore year, she found the classes and experiences that would best push her toward a bachelor’s degree.
“I have learned much more about myself along the way. In turn, I have been able to plan my future,” Moriarity said. “I fell in love with psychological research throughout the course and intend to pursue it as a career.”
Moriarity was able to conduct and analyze her own research and data to get a deeper look and understanding of human behavior in her Psychological Research courses. She worked closely with her advisor and Psychology Professor Dr. Terry Bergen, who guided her through some of her most important experiences.
“Through his courses, I was able to learn not just about the world around me, but learn about myself and who I want to become in the future. This can also be said about the rest of the Psychology department, as each and every faculty member is helpful, challenges your thinking, and guides you down the path fit for you,” she said.
Moriarity was able to present her collected research at the Eastern Psychological Association conference in New York City, an experience she will never forget.
With all of the support along the way throughout her academic journey, Moriarity says that her professors and colleagues will be what she remembers most.
“They challenged my thinking, opened my mind, and changed my outlook on life. Those lessons are much more important than the ones learned in the classroom,” she said.