Potash Hill

Alumni News

Class notes are listed by year and include both graduates and nongraduates; the latter are listed under the class with which they are associated.

THOMAS DOWNS writes, “Just turned 90. Still playing golf and drinking beer.”

“Same home in Wilmington for 53 years,” write BRUCE AND BARBARA COLE. “Life is still good. Kids and grandkids thriv- ing and scattered around the country. Higher education is evolving rapidly—1959 seems far away, but values remain on the Hill.”

JON POTTER reports that he came out with a book called LOL: Commedia dell’Arte: Ten Scenarios for Adventurous Actors, published by JAC: www.jacpub. com/Books/Potter_Commedia.htm.

SCOTT HAUSMANN writes, “Thanks
 so much for posting the notice about the Whetstone School in the most recent issue of Potash Hill. It makes me chuckle to see how clearly my career has come full circle back to my time at Marlboro. It feels as though everything I’ve ever done was in preparation for this endeavor, and I’ve never felt more connected to purpose my entire life. Somewhere in the workshops of the great beyond, Gib Taylor must be taking great delight in this. In a very real way it all started with him, down there in the Perrine Building, up on top of Potash Hill. I’m very grateful for all of that.”

Rachel Eugster ’77: Picture-book mommy

When Rachel Eugster’s son Samuel was in kindergarten, she invented all sorts of strategies to help make the transition of dropping him off easier. But he came up with the ultimate strategy when he expressed his wish that she were tiny enough to keep in his pocket.

“That is where the book begins, as I immediately knew one would,” said Rachel, referring to her picture book released this fall by Tundra Books/Random House. “The Pocket Mommy is a fantasy, if there is such a subgenre among picture books. It could even be viewed as a cautionary tale: ‘be careful what you wish for.’”

Rachel is a writer and editor who has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, including WalkingNew Age JournalContinental, and The Ottawa Citizen. She also wrote a series of books for children on food and nutrition, published by Franklin Watts.

“I do have a particular soft spot for some pieces I wrote for YES!, a science magazine for children, on topics including the reawakening of Mount St. Helens, how horses communicate with each other, and a mysterious episode of exploding toads in Germany.”

In addition to her writing, Rachel is active in the performing arts as an actor and music director. She is a member of an independent theater company in Ottawa called Bear & Co., and as the vocalist in a musical group called Dragon’s Tea Trio. Meanwhile, her son Samuel, the inspiration for The Pocket Mommy, is now a junior at the University of Toronto.

“I don’t drop him off daily at school anymore.”

In conjunction with her appearance at the Brattleboro Literary Festival in October, Sophie Cabot Black '80 visited campus for an intimate reading and Q&A session.The forthcoming edition of The Robert Frost Review will be publishing DAN TOOMEY’S article titled “Believing
In It: Robert Frost, Walter Hendricks, and the Creation of Marlboro College.” He says, “It’s a blending of the two Frost pieces I wrote some years ago for Potash Hill, but recalibrated for people perhaps more familiar with Frost and less familiar with Marlboro. It was peer-reviewed of course, and so I’m particularly pleased that Frost’s connection to Marlboro College is now (and will be in the future) better understood by both biographers and literary critics.”

TED LEVINE plays Lieutenant Hank Wade in the new cop drama The Bridge, which is airing Wednesdays on FX.


“Having served a year as the temporary spiritual leader of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, I have now signed
a contract to be a permanent spiritual leader (at least for the next two years),” writes KATE JUDD. “My cantorial orientation date looks like June of 2015. It’s been a year of much transition. My mother died in September 2012, and our house in Marlboro has been sold.”

XENIA WILLIAMS writes, “I’m spending the summer getting rid of most of my possessions and selling my house, in order to relocate in the fall to California for a new career as a grandma. My very cute and smart grandson, Calyin, is 6 years old.”

Sean Cole ’93: revisiting Walt Whitman

Sean Cole has been working in public radio since 1997. He’s produced and reported stories for This American LifeRadiolabMarketplace, and WBUR’s Inside Out Documentaries. But when Studio 360 asked him to produce a show on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for their “American Icons” series, Sean knew this story would be particularly special to him: the book had been an integral part of his Plan of Concentration. “All these years later, here I was delving into the same copy that I read in my cabin down the road from campus,” said Sean.

Sean visited campus for the first time in six years to record himself taking his Plan off the shelf and reading parts of it out loud. While he was doing that, his former Plan sponsor and literature professor T. Wilson snuck into the reading room and surprised him.

“My three-hour interview with T. was like the ultimate tutorial: limitless time, no imminent writing deadline hanging over my head, and nothing to grade at the end of it.” His editor liked the rapport between Sean and T. so much that he suggested their interaction should be the beginning of the piece.

“I remember telling Randy George ’93, back when we were at Marlboro together, that I wished I could be on Plan for my entire life. For better and for worse, I got my wish. I work crazily long hours trying to explain something that, often, I’m deeply interested in.”

Hear Sean’s story at www.studio360.org/story/american-icons-leaves-grass.

“I am thrilled to share that I have finally graduated from medical school, only about 20 years after I first got the idea while at Marlboro,” writes LAURA STURGILL. “My husband, William, and my two daughters, Clara (11) and Rory (9), and I arein the process of packing up, selling our little house in Marlboro, and moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where I will begin my three-year residency in family medicine.”

XAXAKWETET LITTLE TREE writes, “I quit First Student due to their continued bullying and abuse and went to drive for the Hartford Schools. Good move. As a New Hampshire certified school bus driver instructor I am working for Cardigan Mountain School. I have Le Garden contracts, and I am a Vermont forest pest first detector.”

Heather Bryce '04, Elizabeth Hallett '06, and Sunny Hitt '06 (pictured) all returned to campus in October to share some of their recent dance works in a performance called "Alumni in Motion." Photo by Susan DandoPARRiSH KNIGHT writes, “Still in the Metro DC area, living a pretty quiet and uneventful single life as a computer desktop support technician. I’ve been with a few different agencies in a few different roles, the most awesome of which was as the Apple engineer for the NASA Headquarters building. That was like being a rock star. I was very disappointed when I got laid off from there due to budget cuts, but my current position, as the help desk lead with the National Geodetic Survey, is a better place for me to be for various reasons, so I try to keep things in perspective.

“My big news right now is that I’m finally finishing my bachelor’s degree. I’m doing the distance-learning thing at Thomas Edison State College, a school that specializes in helping older students in circumstances like mine. If all goes according to plan, I’ll probably have my degree in April of 2014.

“My other big news is that I’m taking a two-week vacation in Ireland, which will be over by the time you read this. This has been a big dream of mine for many years, so I’m really looking forward to it. Would be happy to hear from anyone at all... look me up on Facebook, or drop me a line at parrish.knight@gmail.com.”

Natalie Fishman writes of her son ELI FISHMAN, “Eli’s son, Collin, is growing by leaps and bounds. He’s already 7 months old.”

DENI BECHARD released a new book in October called Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral, published by Milkweed Editions and distributed by Publishers Group West. Find the video trailer at milkweed.org/shop/product/329/empty-hands-open-arms.

Currently a psychiatrist working at the Brattleboro Retreat, NELS KLOSTER 
has helped launch a series of talk shows on mental health for airing at BCTV. “The first season, we focused on awareness of various mental health conditions and seeking help,” said Nels. “This season, we want to extend into more interesting territory and so are addressing facets of recovery. For example, last week we had a guest expert so we could discuss active engagement in living with illness. Tonight we are going to address spirituality. Next week we will again have a guest from the Women’s Freedom Center, to discuss domestic violence. I think it is safe to say this has become my most time-consuming hobby. It is certainly a very enjoyable way of performing a public service.”

Confusion in JSTOr

Marlboro was pleased to announce in the last issue of Potash Hill (Summer 2013) that it was able to provide graduates access to JSTOr, the journal database. Some confusion ensued, because the JSTOr you find on the Marlboro website, for the use of students, faculty, and staff, has a different urL than the alumni access site. Indeed, the two are not interchangeable, so if you are a graduate be sure to use the correct urL: jstor.marlboro.edu/login.

Kate Merrill '02 and Julie Rana '06 both joined the Marlboro community again as visiting faculty, Kate teaching photography and Julie teaching math.DAVID WHITTAKER writes, “Ann-Marie and I had our first son, Asa, in 2010. Our second son, Rowon, joined us in 2012. Big love to the whole Marlboro community.”

KRISTINE LEMAY CROTO published her first book, The Last Dance of Caitlyn Murphy, through KDP on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Last-Dance-Caitlyn-Murphy-ebook/dp/B00DX53HBI/.

KATE MERRILL’s work was part of a group show at the Camera Club of New York, from September 14 to November 2. Called “Swerve and Fracture,” the show featured four artists, including Kate, whose video and photographs craft a fantasy-tinged image of life with her husband in western Massachusetts and with her sister and nudist parents in rural Maine: www.cameraclubny.org/show_swerveandfracture2013.html/.

TYLER MARTIN received his MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and currently works for a private company in Massachusetts that provides information services. He supervises a team of librarians who design and develop catalogs and institutional repositories. “Outside of work, I maintain a strong interest in film and a previously uncharacteristic passion for lounging at the beach,” writes Tyler.

MATT LYNCH writes, “I have been traveling in Turkey this summer, first on
a tour of spiritual sites and then amidst the protests in Taksim Square. I’d love to share a photograph or two from my experiences there with the Marlboro community at progtrip.blogspot.com.”

SONIA LOWE received her MAT in history from Salem State and is currently the lead history teacher at an urban middle school in the Boston area. She is also finishing her certification to teach English as a second language. Outside of work, Sonia loves going to new places (most recently China and Puerto Rico) and eating new things (most recently whale sashimi and morcilla). After being together since their time at Marlboro College, Sonia and TYLER MARTIN ’06 were married last July in a small secular outdoor ceremony. They had their honeymoon in Iceland and continue to call Salem, Massachusetts, home.

LILLIAN GRAHAM writes, “On October 14, 2013, I gave birth to
a beautiful baby boy, Silas Chase Graham. He has been a little constant joy in my life, bringing new inspiration to my life and art.”

Katherine Partington ’09

Katherine Partington was delighted to welcome this year’s new students to Marlboro, at Convocation in September, with tales of her own promising trajectory. She is currently artist residency coordinator at Vermont Performance Lab, a laboratory for creative research and community engagement founded and directed by fellow alumna Sara Coffey ’90. Here is a short excerpt from Katherine’s remarks:

I graduated at a very difficult time, when job prospects were bleak. My fellow graduates and I were pretty nervous—we didn’t know if we would find work or what Marlboro College had given us exactly. We wondered, “How will my education here transfer into the world? How will I make money?”

Well, now that it is four years later, it is my pleasure to let you know that what you learn at Marlboro College does translate into the pragmatic world, it does lead to a paying job, and it is more than likely that this paying job will be in a field that you are passionate about. I know this may sound like a lie, but actually this has been my experience, and it is an experience that I know many other Marlboro College graduates share.

I met Sara Coffey when I was a student and we began a conversation about dance that has continued to this day. When she hired me full time, Sara said (and I quote): “Katherine, I hired you because you went to Marlboro College. The way you think and engage with the world is exactly what VPL needs.”

After four years at The Huffington Post, MICHAEL MACHER is now the associate publisher at The Awl, an online independent publishing platform. One of Michael’s other projects is producing a web short for the television network ABC alongside videographer PATRICK KENNEDY and former student and web-short director JOHN THORSON.

Kenny Card '10 and Alexia Boggs '13 both joined the admissions team this year, sharing their passion about Marlboro with prospective students both on campus and on the road.JOHN “SPIKE” CARTER has introduced white-water kayaking into the curriculum
at The Sharon Academy, where he works, with the help of RANDY KNAGGS ’94, Marlboro director of outdoor programs. Spike says, “We have several students this year who are kinetic learners who are also interested in environmental studies. We
also have a river outside our front door that we wanted to take more advantage of. It’s a common misconception that small schools can’t compete with large schools when it comes to offering students opportunities.
In fact, our small size allows us to be resourceful and creative, putting together these types of opportunities that step outside of the traditional classroom.”

KEARA CASTALDO has been working in Manhattan as a litigation assistant at an intellectual property law firm, but this year started at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There she will be receiving her master’s of public policy with a concentration in media literacy.

SOPHIA CLEARY is a performance artist based in New York City, and did a month- long residency at the Shandaken Project as one of their 2013 artists-in-residence.

An article in the November 3 Rutland Herald followed MORGAN INGALLS’ work with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and New York Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor little brown bats at Mount Aeolus Cave. Morgan, a graduate student in the resource management and conservation program at Antioch University New England, plans to place radio transponders on 500 bats and track their movements over the winter.

Parker Emmerson ’10: Musical collaborations online

When Parker Emmerson was about to leave high school, he was frustrated by the fact that his band would no longer be able to play together. This was right in the midst of the social media explosion, so they were inspired to create a website where musicians could collaborate as well as promote and distribute their music. Parker received a patent for his site, Myblogband.com, last summer.

“We wanted to provide a framework, a global workspace, where musicians could create a song and select which version of that song would be published, exchanging tracks via the website until the song was complete,” said Parker. “We also saw how collectivism in the mainstream media was weeding out a lot of good musical talent in favor of a kind of vacuous, mob mentality that promoted less philosophical, esoteric thought and more emphasis on wealth, fame, and sex. We wanted to provide a playing field where all musicians could be heard and have their works distributed.”

When he is not acquiring patents, Parker is a manager in the catering department of Mediterranean Deli, Bakery, and Catering, the largest catering operation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is also still producing art from the algebraic-geometric equations of the transformation of a circle’s folding into a cone, part of his Plan of Concentration that he has developed further and continues to write about. He has even adapted his mathematical artwork into advertisements for Mediterranean Deli, Bakery, and Catering. “My patent is 8487173, which is a prime number,” added Parker.

RYAN STRATTON is one of the featured VISTA members in the latest edition of Vermont Youth Tomorrow’s VYT Voices: issuu.com/vytamericorps/ docs/vyt_voices_summer_2013_

During Family Day in October, Aaron Kisicki '02 joined political theory professor Meg Mott for a session on "Property Rights in the Age of Surveillance." Other alumni on hand to present were Rebecca Mallary '11, Teta Hilsdon '87, Kenny Card '10, Cheryl Eaton '89, Morgan Ingalls '10, Becky Catarelli '04, Libby Garofalo '04, and Jay Snyder '04. Wendy Levy '97, cheese lady extraordinaire and owner of the Brattleboro Cheese Shop, invited participants to sample some of Vermont's finest.BRANDON WILLITS launched a new nonprofit and website called Words After War (wordsafterwar.org), devoted to providing veterans with literary programs that allow them to share their stories. “I saw a need in the veteran service space fora nonprofit focused less on the therapy value of writing and more on the artistic value of writing,” he says in a recent article (narrative.ly/when-war-comes-home/writing the-war/). “It’s less about how writing makes me feel better and more that it makes mea better human being.” In October, Words After War ran an essay contest to sponsor one veteran in the Brattleboro Literary Festival workshop by veteran writer David Abrams.

COOKIE HARRIST writes: “I am being published in a New England dance journal called Kinebago very soon. The article is based on my Plan research. Very exciting stuff!”

REBECCA GILDEA has a research position in the faculty and academic development office at Appalachian State University. “I am here as a graduate student to become a certified music therapist and come out on the other side with a master’s degree as well. I’m really happy so far with the area (so many mountains!) and the general atmosphere.

MIKE ULEN writes, “I am at Rønshoved Højskole on Flensborg Fjord in Denmark, where I have been a student since
August. Before the weather turned cold and rainy (it rains a lot, and when it isn’t raining it is often gray) I got to kayak around the fjord with a few Danes, a Hungarian, and a German—lots of fun, except for the capsizing practice in the cold and salty North Sea. I have learned a bit of Danish, gone on long walks in the Danish countryside (even in the rain), and spoken at length with my fellow students about the good and the bad of our respective countries. I’m not certain what is next, but I plan to stay here for a while longer.”

Elena Schaaf-Brandes '78 and daughter Olivia Schaaf '14 put their heads together with theater professor Brenda Foley to discuss a spring class trip to Berlin to explore collaborative performance. Elena has had a rich career in musical theater in Switzerland and Germany, and is currently teaching vocals on the faculty at the Universität der Künste Berlin.MADELYN HOLM writes, “I am working at Southern Maine Community College as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. I have been working with veteran populationson campus, creating volunteer placements in the community and on-campus, and have been assisting students in setting up an on-campus food pantry. Living in Portland and loving life. In addition, TRISTAN STAMM and I will have our work shown in an art exhibit at Space Gallery, along with seven other Maine-based artists, starting on November 9 and running until December 19.

“After graduating in May, I moved to the Greater Boston area,” NIKKI HAUG writes. “I now hold two paid internships.
One is an events internship with the Boston Athenaeum, a prestigious membership library. The other is a public relations/marketing internship with Primary Care Progress, a nonprofit advocating for better training for and incentive to become primary care doctors. Within the next three years, I hope to receive an MLIS from Simmons College.”

JESSE NESSER did a promotional
video for the Have Faith Haiti Mission,
an organization in Haiti where he has been working. See the results at www.youtube. com/watch?v=6hbvF4Ibdh0.

Former Faculty
Retired ceramics professor MICHAEL BOYLEN contributed to a photographic exhibit titled “Bread and Puppet: An Emergent Mosaic,” at the Plainfield Community Center Gallery, Vermont, in August and September. The exhibit featured recent prints of archival negatives showing scenes from the Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus in the 1970s. Michael worked with Bread and Puppet from 1975 into the early ’80s, served on the board from 1976 to 1985, and continues
to follow the theater.

Retired president and itinerant Kipling scholar (page 25) TOM RAGLE announced that his book of poems, Take This Song: Poems in Pursuit of Meaning, was published by Small Pond Press last fall (ISBN 978-0-9725345-3-6). The book is of course available at the college bookstore and will also be on Amazon. Take This Song is published under Tom’s mysterious pen name, Lee Bramble, a “retired academic” and “general practitioner of English poetry from the 16th into the 20th century,” according to the cover.