Category Archives: Midd Blogosphere

15th Anniversary, Page One Literacy Takes Stock of Success

Middlebury College students Kristina Frye ’17 and Elizabeth Zhou ’18 may share an equal enthusiasm for reading, but by no means do they love it for the same reasons. Upon sitting down with Frye and Zhou to discuss the student organization, Page One Literacy, it was impossible at first to see how the two served as complementary, yet opposing, points of reference for the organization, exemplifying the broad spectrum of those who love to read, effectively, yet perhaps unknowingly, playing yin to the other’s yang.12654367_1676518449295648_7552052978412513067_n

Frye and Zhou, President and Programs Coordinator, respectively, work together along with an average of 25-30 other students each semester to support and further the aims of Page One Literacy. Through semester-long after-school reading programs and one-time events open to the community, Page One Literacy strives to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among local children in the Addison County community. This year marks Page One Literacy’s 15th anniversary, providing an apt moment for the organization’s leadership to take stock of its successes as well as envision their future.

Frye and Zhou first met in the Russian Deparment at Middlebury, but it was through Page One Literacy that they have gotten to know each other better. Their contrasting motivations and distinct personalities are a testament to Page One Elizabeth ZhouLiteracy’s inclusivity, but more than that, demonstrate that reading is not reserved for one type of person only.

Zhou got involved in the program her freshman spring, seeking out a reading program in large part due to the impact that it had on her as a child. Zhou describes herself as a quiet kid who kept to herself and who preferred reading in a nook to running around with others. Reading gave Zhou another world into which she could escape and exposed her to characters with identities different from her own. In fact, it was through reading that she started to become more comfortable with her own introversion. Some of her favorite childhood books like the Berenstein Bears inspired adventure, while Shel Silverstein’s poems, according to Zhou, encourage you to “be yourself”.

13010732_1711291902484969_5153137138815732537_nFor Frye, on the other hand, reading has always been a social activity. Her fondest memories as a child include reading stories with her dad and sister before bedtime. Today, as a volunteer with Page One Literacy, Frye remarks that she has loved getting to know her co-volunteers and one of her favorite aspects of the program is its ability to connect people to each other.

A typical after-school session involves an introduction and a moment to “get the after-school jitters out”, reading in pairs or groups, individual silent reading, and a reading-related craft activity. Along with the problem of transporting college volunteer to the schools, Frye noted that the wide range of reading levels poses a challenge to volunteers. What to do when one child is reading at a fifth-grade level and others have only just begun reading weeks earlier? And what to do with a group of children coming into an after-school program with vastly different strengths, weaknesses, and life experiences? Volunteers are trained to be as flexible as possible and come to the program with a large repertoire of activities. Zhou cited one of her victories from last year when she unconventionally paired students of different reading levels together, due to an asymmetrical variety in the group. To her surprise, the kids responded positively.

“You learn to follow their cues,” Zhou says of the kids.

“In that way, our volunteers get a lot out of it, learning how to react to unpredictable situations. You never know how the kids will feel one day to the next,” Frye says. “You learn how to take your time and not follow a step-by-step plan. Working outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing.”

Zhou reflects, “You learn to make spaces as comfortable as possible for everyone.”


This year the program has grown. While the difference of five volunteers may not seem like much, in fact, with the growth from 25 volunteers last spring to 30 volunteers this spring, Page One Literacy has been able to expand to 9 sites and 12 programs. Five more volunteers translates to a few extra after-school programs, extending programming to a few dozen more children. A critical sign of growth, Page One has also witnessed a shift in its relationships with other organizations and community partners, who have started to reach out to Page One with events instead of the other way around.

As far as goals for the future, Zhou included an investigation into the disparity of male-female volunteers with the aim of ultimately attracting more male volunteers to the program to serve as mentors and role models. Frye discussed retaining volunteers over multiple semesters and creating greater awareness on campus, as through the newly up-and-running Page One Facebook page. Whatever the future holds, Page One Literacy is in good hands.


Learn more about Page One Literacy at the website, on Facebook, or by reaching out to


Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern

MSA April Newsletter


Achieving the American Dream

Home ownership raises many uncertainties in today’s market, especially when loans are a key factor; however, our class provides the information you need to consider, whether you’re buying your first home or are back in the market to buy another. Join us to find out what to expect from your realtor! You will understand down payment requirements, learn about credit implications, and realize the importance of shopping for the best mortgage terms. Attend for tips to make educated financial decisions about home ownership and loans.


READ: Planning for Home Repairs
Every home will eventually need repairs, and it can take a huge bite out of your income if you don’t plan accordingly. Here’s how you can prepare for the costs…
read more

WEBINAR: Live Financial Forum
Join us on May 25th for the opportunity to ask our panel of experts any financial question you might have and get the answers you need…


REWARDS: Take Action and Win!
You get the chance to win cool prizes, when you engage in the MSA program, work with a Money Coach, and attend webinars.
learn more


Ending the Semester Well: 5/3 Humanities Lunch Exchange

The Humanities Steering Committee hosts a monthly lunch exchange for Faculty and Staff, to explore the role of the Humanities at Middlebury College and beyond.

Humanities Lunch Exchange
Ending the Semester Well: Challenges and Best Practices
Tuesday, May 3 from 12:20-1:20 p.m. (lunch available at Noon)
Axinn Center Abernethy Room

Is there a palpable level of anxiety in your classes right now? Do you feel that you are racing to finish up your syllabus? Are you falling over the finish line instead of gracefully and intentionally wrapping up your semester? Are you unsure that your students’ final work appropriately reflects the culmination of what they have learned? If so, please join the final meeting of the Humanities Lunch Exchange on Tuesday, May 3 to share ideas and best practices for ending the semester well, alleviating stress for you and your students, and nurturing a shared sense of accomplishment.

Lunch is provided. Please RSVP to to attend.

What’s your college student doing this summer?

Is your college-age student coming home to Vermont and still unsure of his or her summer plans? If so, consider recommending the Middlebury School of the Environment, a six-week summer environmental studies and leadership training program, held on the Middlebury campus. We are pleased to announce that new funding has become available for the summer 2016 session. We are now able to meet up to 100% of demonstrated need on a first-come, first-served basis and are offering merit aid ranging from $500 to $2500 for those who do not qualify for need-based aid.

Students have the option to live on campus or at home* while attending the program, and will earn 9 credit-hours (3 Middlebury units of credit) during the summer.

To be eligible for consideration for this funding, students will need to complete the admissions application (online application, recommendation, fee, and transcript) by midnight May 8, EST. To apply for need-based aid, they must also submit the online financial aid application.

Feel free to contact me at or 443.3100 with any questions.

Steve Trombulak
Director, School of the Environment

*June 24 to August 5, 2016
$8,735 (Tuition, room, and full meal plan)
$6,355 (Tuition plus lunch daily)

Council on Undergraduate Research Proposal Writing Institute applications are due June 17, 2016

Are you working on writing a grant proposal for research or academic programming? Here is a resource that may be helpful.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is offering a Proposal Writing Institute (PWI) on August 4-8, 2016 at the Kellogg West Conference Center & Hotel, Pomona CA.

Deadline: June 17, 2016. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis; institute may reach capacity prior to application deadline.

Summary: The four-day institute assists novice to experienced proposal writers in drafting complete proposals for submission. Cost of attendance is $1500 plus travel costs. Most meals and housing are included. Partial support for faculty members who want to attend may be available; contact OGSP for more information about support.

Please note: If you have NOT identified a funding source and begun writing a draft proposal, you should NOT participate in this Institute, as it is geared for writing and revising draft proposals.


The PWI brings together faculty and administrators interested in preparing proposals for submission to external funding agencies. The four-day institute will consist of one-on-one work with a mentor, writing, small group discussions, and critiquing of proposals. The institute has been developed to assist novice to experienced proposal writers in drafting complete proposals for submission. Prior to the institute participants will be able to access information that will help them begin to draft their proposal.

Applicants must apply online and submit a one to two paragraph outline of their proposal and the name of the intended funding agency and/or program in the on-line application. Time at the Institute will consist of periods of proposal preparation interspersed with one-on-one mentoring by experienced and successful proposal writers, members of grants review panels, former program officers, and/or Directors of Sponsored Programs Offices. Small group discussions and group critiquing sessions round out the Institute. Participants who come well prepared and who work hard should be able to leave the Institute with a completed (or nearly completed) proposal to the granting agency of their choice.

The week before the Institute, accepted participants will be expected to submit a draft of their proposal, and a link to the specific program announcement/RFP. Participants are encouraged to have as much as possible completed in advance, which will increase the likelihood of departing the Institute with a nearly finished proposal.

A $50.00 application fee is due at the time of application. Should you be accepted to attend the Institute, your application fee will be applied to your tuition fee. In the event that CUR does not accept your application, the $50.00 application fee will be refunded. The tuition fee for the Institute includes most meals and housing (double occupancy; requests for a single room are available at an additional cost).


Open House Nights at the College Observatory – Spring 2016

The Physics Department at Middlebury College will again host Open House nights at the College Observatory this spring. The Observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evenings, April 29 and May 6, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM, provided the skies are mostly clear.

Jupiter will be in the evening sky on both of these dates. Also visible through our telescopes will be a number of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae. There is no set program for the Open House nights; the public is invited at any time between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

The Observatory dome houses a 24-inch computer-controlled telescope. Additional, smaller telescopes will also be available on the roof deck for observing the night sky.

All Observatory public nights are free and open to the public, but will take place only if the sky is at least mostly clear. If the weather appears uncertain, visitors may call the Observatory at 443-2266 or visit the Observatory web site after 7:00 PM on the evening of the Open House for a status report. More information can also be found at go/observatory .

Also, please consider visiting the Observatory web site to sign up for our e-mail list with event announcements and status updates as well as to enjoy a wide variety of resources about astronomy at Middlebury and the night sky. The web site includes stunning images taken at the Observatory, information about what is currently visible in the night sky, history of the Observatory, and a summary of last year’s extensive Observatory upgrades.

The Observatory would like to acknowledge support from the Michele and David Mittelman (’76) Family Foundation for enabling substantial renovations and modernizations that represent a fundamental commitment to the long-term future of the Observatory, both for curricular and research uses, as well as for outreach. These improvements to the Observatory are helping ensure that Middlebury students, College community members, schoolchildren, and the public will continue to be able to explore the universe on the Middlebury campus under dark Vermont skies.