HR UPDATE: THIS WEEK’S EMPLOYMENT SNAPSHOT

There are currently 5 faculty positions, 41 external job postings (regular, on-call and temporary), and 2 internal job postings on the Middlebury employment opportunities web sites.

Employment Quick Links:

Faculty Employment Opportunities:http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/administration/prospective_faculty/employment

Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs (on campus), http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs (off campus)

Please note – to view only internal staff postings, please use the internal posting search filter that was highlighted in this MiddPoints article.

On-call/Temporary Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs-sh (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs-sh (off campus)

Vermont Genetics Network grants for research in the biomedical sciences to David Allen, Amanda Crocker, Michael Dash, Michael Durst, Glen Ernstrom, Clarissa Parker, and AJ Vasiliou

Middlebury College is one of the baccalaureate partner institutions participating in a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Vermont. This grant continues the Vermont Genetics Network support that has been an important source of funding for faculty and student research during the past decade. Project grants support summer and academic-year effort for faculty members from June 2016-May 2017, and pilot grants support summer effort for faculty members from June 2016-August 2016. The following faculty members received individual grants from this program to support their research this year:

David Allen (Biology) received a pilot grant titled Elevational Gradient in Black-legged Tick Density and Borrelia-infection. The proposed work aims to understand how the population and phenology of the black-legged tick, the Lyme disease vector, change with elevation. Understanding this relationship will allow for more targeted tick control and Lyme disease prevention efforts. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.

Amanda Crocker (Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Plasticity and Diversity in Neural Circuits. The proposed work aims to understand how long-term memories are encoded molecularly within individual neurons, and the work has the potential to provide novel molecular pathways and drug targets for age-related cognitive decline and diseases. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.

Michael Dash (Psychology and Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Metabolic Consequences of Synaptic Plasticity. The proposed work aims to characterize the basic biological processes that maintain balance between energy supply and demand in the healthy brain, and the work will provide a foundation for novel therapeutic targets to treat the widespread impairments in energy balance and cellular communication characteristic of most neurodegenerative disorders. The grant includes support for one undergraduate student.

Michael Durst (Physics) received a renewal of his project grant titled High-Speed 3D Multiphoton Fluorescence Imaging with Temporal Focusing Microscopy. The proposed work aims to improve the speed of 3D multiphoton microscopy through temporal focusing, with the goal of reaching video-rate 3D imaging in biological tissue. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.

Glen Ernstrom (Biology and Neuroscience) received a renewal of his project grant titled Genetic Analysis of Neurotransmitter Release in C. Elegans. The proposed research investigates how the pH of synaptic vesicles regulates how neurons signal. Greater understanding of this process could aid the development of novel drug therapies to either enhance or inhibit neurotransmitter release. The grant includes support for four undergraduate students.

Clarissa Parker (Psychology and Neuroscience) received a renewal of her project grant titled Genome-wide Association for Ethanol Sensitivity in the DO Mouse Population. The goal of this work is to use a highly recombinant mouse population to map genes in mice. A better understanding of the pathways linking genetic variation and expression to neuronal function and behavior in mice will provide novel insights that can inform the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders in humans. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.

AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry & Biochemistry) received a renewal of her project grant titled Thermal Composition of Biomass: Molecular Pathways for Sulfur Chemistry. The aim of this research is to elucidate the detailed chemical mechanisms and kinetics associated with the thermal decomposition of sulfur compounds found in biomass feedstock. The results of this work can be used to develop a sound strategy to suppress the formation of poisonous sulfur compounds during biomass decomposition, generating clean liquid fuels and ultimately lowering sulfur emissions. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.

NSF Day at the University of Maine on October 13, 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Maine are hosting an NSF Day to be held on Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm at the Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main Street in Bangor, Maine.

NSF Days provide basic insight and instruction on how to compete for NSF funding for science, engineering, and education research. This day-long workshop will provide background on the Foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget. During the day, there will be  an overview on proposal writing, NSF’s merit review process, and programs that fall within the seven scientific and engineering directorates, as well as funding opportunities that cross disciplinary boundaries.

NSF representatives will be on hand to answer questions and to host discipline- and program-specific breakout sessions to personally engage in discussions with attendees.

See more details in the draft agenda.

Registration is $35 and must be completed by October 7, 2016.Space is limited. Fees include continental breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks. Registration fees are non-refundable (but may be transferable with at least three days notice, if necessary).

 

Interning at Charter House

13652980_10154290273979253_6723432294872033387_o - Copy
Located in the heart of Middlebury, Charter House provides free community meals seven days a week throughout the year, as well as housing and sheltering services throughout the winter months. Charter House is a multifaceted organization with a number of moving parts and divergent programs that, when woven together by a number of hardworking individuals, fit together to provide a beautiful, largely self-sustaining service for our community. As the intern this summer, I’ve had to opportunity to engage with the people and processes that make our programs run so smoothly.
The majority of my working hours are spent in two locations: the garden and the kitchen. Charter House has two sizable organic gardens that serve as a sustainable, nutritious base for our community meal programs and are used to teach environmentally responsible farming and food preservation techniques to volunteers. In addition to manual work of my own, my job involves coordinating volunteers to help plant, tend, and harvest the thousands of pounds of produce that we grow throughout the summer, ranging from lettuce, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, zucchini, garlic, carrots and kale to beets, broccoli, cabbage, and more!
Then, in true farm-to-table fashion, I get to use these harvests within our community meal programs. Throughout the week, I help prep, cook, and serve meals to the 40-50 guests that we receive on a daily basis. Our home-grown veggies serve as healthy (and tasty) complements to the wide variety of dishes that we have donated to or make onsite at Charter House. Our guests are always well fed—we never say no to seconds and are always happy to package additional food in take-home containers to keep our guests nourished throughout the day. And still, there’s always enough food for me to grab a plate and be able to sit, eat, and talk with our guests, which honestly is the best part of my job.
I’m extremely grateful for the fact that my summer intern experience thus far has been so comprehensive, and I think a big reason why I’m having such an incredible time is because the people and processes that I’ve become acquainted with are teaching me practical skills and down-to-earth realities. It’s hard to capture the full scale of the lessons I’ve been taught and the ways in which I’ve been impacted within a mere sentence, and so, instead, here is a list of just a few of the things that I’ve learned thus far:
-Zucchinis can grow up to the size of a small child if you neglect to pick them for too long.
-Sometimes it’s easier to let the dishes soak and come back to them, rather than scrubbing incessantly to get them done right then and there.
-Sometimes you’ve got no choice but to scrub the dishes incessantly to get them done right then and there.
 -There is an exponential relationship between the amount of responsibilities that you have and the number of emails coming into your mailbox.
-When using a rotary tiller, you’ve got to be submissive. It knows how it wants to till the ground, and if you try to make it do what you want, it will show you who’s boss.
-It’s great to follow a recipe, but, to me, cooking is an improvisational process.
-There are times when you should talk, times when you should listen, and times when you should smile—and the frequency of those actions should correspond with that order.
-Sharing a meal around a table is truly an equalizing experience and food is one of the most satisfying ways to make people happy.
– Doug Wilson ’19

Pie and Beer Day in the Wasatch

OK – the first thing you have to be wondering is “What the heck is Pie and Beer Day?”  Having lived many years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah, I always found the celebration of “Pioneer Day” on July 24 a rather curious holiday which pushes the notion of separation of church and state almost as hard as Christmas.  It is a state holiday in Utah, celebrating the arrival of Brigham Young and the rest of the Mormons into the Salt Lake Valley on that day in 1847, and as a result made for a curious day off for those of us who lived there and did not follow that faith.  Apparently, a few years ago, a tradition arose among the heathens (also curiously known as “gentiles”)  of Salt Lake, celebrating the parallel holiday of “Pie and Beer Day” , which is generally interpreted to involve drinking beer (3.2 beer of course, as it is Utah) and eating pizza, instead of sitting in the hot sun watching a parade and eating lots of green jello salads.  It sounds like a good counter-culture holiday to me!

That said, the official reason for my arrival in Salt Lake was to run the Deseret News Classic Marathon, a road marathon through the mountains following the course of Brigham Young’s arrival into Salt Lake.  So, while this was a road race for most of its length, it was on lightly-traveled roads in some very scenic mountains, and as such, it was a road race attractive to a Vermont runner accustomed to mountain trails.  This Pioneer Day race is usually held on July 24, but since that fell on a Sunday this year, the holiday celebration was postponed to Monday, July 25 so as not to conflict with traditional Sunday activities.

Since I probably wasn’t going to be taking many pictures during the course of the actual race, I scouted out the course on the day before in order to get a few shots for this blog, as well as to visit some roads I had not seen since the mid-1980’s when I used to bicycle up and down these passes after work.  The start of the race is at Big Mountain Pass, the point where the Mormon Pioneers got their first glimpse of the valley of the Great Salt Lake.  Of course, the view is equally intimidating to a runner, who can see how far away he or she has to go!

Big Mountain View

Big Mountain View

While standing at the summit of the pass, I spied a historic marker I had never seen before. As it turns out, the Mormons were not the first to use this pass. That “honor” fell on the ill-fated 1846 Donner Party, attempting to follow the poorly described “Hastings Cutoff” on their way to California. The Donner Party took two weeks to cover the terrain from the top of Big Mountain Pass to the Salt Lake valley, constructing a makeshift road as they went, and this delay added to their delay in reaching the Sierras in time to beat the winter snows, and the rest, as they say, is history.

On the actual morning of the race, the view was quite different from the above picture, for obvious reasons when one considers the big challenges to the marathon – heat, height, and humidity (as in lack of). While the race started high in the cool mountains at around 7400′, it finished in the searing mid-summer valley heat. In fact, on the day of the race, the weather report called for 102 degree afternoon temperatures – clearly unfit for running. So, the race started at 5:30 am, ensuring that the temperature at the finish line would “only” be in the 80’s for all but the slowest runners.   The view was considerably different when we arrived at the start line at 4:30 am – dark, except for a well-lit area for the runners, and the glow of the city in the distance.  And like almost every race I have ever attended, there were not enough portapotties at the start.  So, it was dark, and being ever-chivalrous, allowing the female competitors to have first dibs at the limited resources, I headed for the dark woods to relieve my pre-race hydration issues.  As I was quietly doing my business in the shelter of a few aspens, I suddenly found myself in a spotlight, and heard over a bullhorn “Please use the porta-potties”.  Ok – I got busted by the Salt Lake City water authority police, who were so concerned about the urination of a mere 300 hundred runners shivering atop a mountain pass 26.2 miles out of town, that they actually sent an officer on urine patrol!  I laughed it off….and shouted back “Busted – too late” and stepped back into the crowds, hearing laughter and mild applause from the few runners who caught my little drama.  But, I didn’t hear another bullhorn, so either the crowd was cowed enough to follow the rules, or perhaps the watershed authorities decided they had better things to do than to monitor the bladders of well-hydrated runners.

Starting Line

Starting Line

By the time that the starting gun went off, it was barely bright enough to see, but I saw no sign that any of the 300+ runners fell off any cliffs on the tight, steep switchbacks at the top of the pass.  I have done long races with long descents before, but this one was particularly hard on the legs, dropping 1500 ft in the first 4 miles, with no opportunity to warm up.  I knew I would be paying for this later in the race no matter how fast I ran it, and I was correct.  Within a few minutes, the glow of the sun illuminated the road, and the next challenge of the day presented itself, the only climb on the course, a short ascent to the top of Emigration Canyon, which then led directly into the city.  This climb was only 350 ft, between miles 6 and 8, but the altitude was high enough to get me a little more winded than I usually would be on a modest climb like this.  However, reaching the top of this second pass, I knew it would be all downhill from there until the last few miles on the valley floor a few hours later.  The next 8 miles descending Emigration Canyon went very quickly, as well they should – the middle third of any marathon is usually the fastest part, and the long gradual descent made the miles go by even faster.  I could start feeling my legs tightening at around mile 10, however, paying the price for the early steep descent, and I knew that this would be an issue as I approached the finish line.

At about mile 16, the race entered the benches on the hillsides of Salt Lake City proper, and the sun started to arise above the mountainsides.  I also started looking at my watch more seriously, as the race organizers had mentioned that all runners who reached mile 24 at 9 am would be allowed to run along the downtown Pioneer Day parade route, and those who arrived later would be routed down an alternative route.  Pushing as hard as I could as my legs got tighter and tighter, I passed the cutoff point with 4 minutes to spare, and had the pleasure of running past tens of thousands of folks out there for the holiday festivities, before finishing in Liberty Park – a location only a few blocks away from where I lived when I worked at the U. of Utah!  My legs definitely felt the agony of the long descent in these last two miles however, as I was forced to walk much of it.

All in all, this was a fun mountain race.  While the marathon was modest in scope, I was impressed by the fact that the organizers managed to pull off a marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K race simultaneously, making this a much bigger event than just a mere marathon, with thousands of runners participating more or less concurrently. And as I limped back to my hotel room, after a shower and nap, I feasted on pie and beer!

Deseret News Marathon Course

Deseret News Marathon Course

 

Altitude Profile

Altitude Profile