Author Archives: Noel Ermer

Innovation Hub Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship and ChangeMaker Program

The Innovation Hub is now accepting applications from members of the class of 2023 or 2023.5 for the Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship and ChangeMaker Program

Middlebury’s Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship and ChangeMaker Program are designed to help students carry out Middlebury College’s mission: “Through a commitment to immersive learning, we prepare students to lead engaged, consequential, and creative lives, contribute to their communities, and address the world’s most challenging problems.” 

This fall, the staff of Middlebury’s Social Entrepreneurship Program will select eight students from  the class of 2023 or 2023.5 to receive up to $7,000 in funding as well as project and research support. The Fellowship and Changemaker Program will help these students to build relevant personal qualities and to enhance their academic experience at Middlebury.

The application can be found here and is due on MONDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2020 by 11:59 PM (Eastern Time). Questions can be directed to Charlotte Sullivan at

Global Health Minor Information Session

The Global Health program consists of an interdisciplinary academic minor, events, and experiential learning opportunities. Global Health faculty members are Professors of the Practice who bring their real-world experience into the classroom and into the Innovation Hub for mentoring and advising.

Global Health minor info session—minor, internships, study abroad.
Wed. 9/30, 8:00 p.m.
Please email Pam Berenbaum for zoom link.

MedMentors: UVM’s Larner College of Medicine Students Share Their Stories

The MedMentors are a group of Larner medical students dedicated to helping other pre-health students on their own journeys to becoming medical professionals. The MedMentors bring with them rich and varied backgrounds, beginning with their decisions on medicine as a career, their choices of major in college, and their careers before beginning medical school. Having completed the rigorous process of being accepted to medical school, the MedMentors can offer sage advice to students and alumni anywhere in their respective journey to becoming a health professional.

Each event will be a Q&A format on Zoom featuring a panel of 1st/2nd-year medical students currently enrolled at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. These will also be excellent opportunities for those who are currently in the application cycle to ask questions about preparing for interviews.

Panel 1:

Tuesday Sept 29th from 6pm- 7pm on Zoom

Panel 2:

Tuesday Oct 20th from 6pm- 7pm on Zoom

Panel 3:

Tuesday Nov 10th from 6pm- 7pm on Zoom


September 24 – 4:15 – 5:00 p.m ET

Jason Grant, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Alex Lyford, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Hosted by Caitlin Myers, John G. McCullough Professor of Economics

Big data are ubiquitous. Although this may not come as a surprise, you may be surprised at how easy these data are to access without any specialized technical skills! In this talk, we’ll begin by showing the power of accessing big data and the ease at which it can be done by the layperson. We’ll then discuss the pros and cons of the availability of such data and provide examples of each. Finally, we’ll talk about decisionmaking based on big data in facial recognition and how it will affect the future of humankind.

Jason Grant is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science. His research areas include computer vision and biometrics, with emphasis on detecting dangerous and abnormal crowd behavior in large crowds, especially at sporting events and mega-concerts.

Alex Lyford is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and he has been at Middlebury College since 2017. He recieved a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Georgia, and his research areas of interest are machine learning, text analysis, statistics education, and math games.

Article: In Oregon, a New Climate Menace: Fires Raging Where They Don’t Usually Burn

By Christopher Flavelle and Henry Fountain, September 12, 2020

The blazes that raced across western Oregon this week could be the most unexpected element in a fire season that’s full of surprises: Not just more wildfires, but wildfires in places that don’t usually burn.

The forests between Eugene and Portland haven’t experienced fires this severe in decades, experts say. What’s different this time is that exceptionally dry conditions, combined with unusually strong and hot east winds, have caused wildfires to spiral out of control, threatening neighborhoods that didn’t seem vulnerable until now.

“We’re seeing fires in places that we don’t normally see fires,” said Crystal A. Kolden, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Merced. “Normally it’s far too wet to burn.”

The fires in Oregon, which have led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and are approaching the Portland suburbs, stand out from what has already been an extraordinary fire season in the West, where global warming, land-use changes and fire management practices have combined to create a hellish mix of smoldering forests, charred homes and choking air.

Before this week, Oregon was grappling with a much more contained problem, a series of smaller fires on both sides of the Cascade Range, which divides the state between east and west.

Article: Now It’s Not Safe at Home Either. Wildfires Bring Ashen Air Into the House.

By Matt Richtel, September 12, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — The new thing we do here when we get up in the morning, even before the tooth brushing and the coffee making, is to look at the sky. Then we look at the internet to see if our eyes deceive.

“Purple again,” I said to my wife this morning. Not the sky. That was the color of soot, like a child had taken dirty fingers and rubbed them all over the horizon. Purple is the color on the air quality chart. It means that we’ve hit “very unhealthy,” our air filled with microscopic particles that, speaking of children, are dangerous for them to breathe into their soft pink lungs. And not so great for those of us who have a few miles on our lungs already.

During the coronavirus pandemic, our last refuge had been to stay inside the house, but when things go this purple this persistently, the trouble seeps inside. Thanks to rampant wildfires, our at-home air filter has started telling us that things have turned unhealthy in our home — the bad air is managing to sneak in, even through closed windows and doors.

So we’ve taken to passing our one air purifier from room to room so our two children can do SOTG (school on the go) without getting SOOT (soot in the bloodstream). We clean each room, then rotate the device, and I trail to maintain the obnoxious optimism that is my hallmark and fatherly duty. But you can tell things are bad when you start reaching for comparisons, like: Well, we could be in Flanders in 1918. (Maybe that rose tint to my glasses is actually ash.)

In actuality, I don’t have to reach back to Belgium during World War I to know things could be worse. We could be in the Portland suburbs or lots of other places in the Pacific Northwest, circa right now. There, the ash in the sky comes with rampant blazes that are creating actual refugees, meaning people who are running from death with whatever they can carry.