Tag Archives: Midd Points

25 Years @ Midd with Mary Ellen Bertolini

In this post we recognize Mary Ellen Bertolini, Writing Center Director & Senior Lecturer at the Writing Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research, for her 25 years of Service to Middlebury. Mary Ellen shares her interests, reveals her favorite spot on campus, and tells us her favorite College memory. Read on to learn more about Midd from Mary Ellen’s point of view.

What did you do prior to work at Middlebury College and where were you located?

Before working at Middlebury College, I was a high school English teacher in Middlebury and in New York City. In Middlebury, I had also been a school board member and a member of the board of Civil Authority and a private writing tutor, and I taught SAT prep courses. In between, I had two daughters and spent about five years as a full time mother. I learned more about teaching in the time I spent at home with my daughters than I had learned before or that I have learned since.

What job titles have you held while working at Middlebury?

I am currently Writing Center Director and Senior Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric. I have been also been:

  • Associate Director, Writing Program
  • Assistant Director, Writing Program
  • Acting Director, Writing Program
  • Acting Director, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research
  • Acting Director, FYSE Program
  • Director, Office of Academic Support
  • Faculty Co-head,  Wonnacott Commons

Take us back to your first year as an employee at the College. What were the most significant things happening in your life outside of work then?

In 1994 both my daughters were in high school; I had completed a second Master’s Degree at BLSE, and I was eager begin a new career at Middlebury College.

What are the most significant things happening in your life outside of work now (that you’d like to share)?

  • I have two wonderful adult daughters, one of whom, Francesca, is a Midd alum (’00).
  • I am still married to John Bertolini, also retiring this year. John joined the faculty in 1975.
  • I recently published an article on Jane Austen’s Persuasion and gave an extended talk on Persuasion at the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America this fall. 
  • Last spring, I traveled to Venice with my daughters and then last summer traveled to London and Edinburgh with my husband and daughters.

Have your interests/hobbies/athletic endeavors changed over the past 25 years? Have any of these been influenced by your work at the College or due to your association with others who work here? 

I still have the same interests—reading, watching films, attending theatre, enjoying art, cooking, and traveling.  I have been able to travel to many wonderful places attending conferences for the College, and I have returned to visit some of those places with my daughters. I have had a world of books, films, theatre, and art within reach here at Middlebury College.

What is your fondest memory or experience that you’ve had while working at Middlebury?

My fondest memory would have to be my daughter Francesca’s graduation in 2000. She was a double English-Italian major; my husband was Chair of the English Dept. at the time, and he awarded her degree to her.  Other wonderful moments include bonding with faculty and staff at the Writing and Teaching Retreats and bonding with students in my “Writing to Heal” course.  Finally, I remember the excitement of moving to the new Davis Family Library and helping to launch the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research.

Many people change jobs/careers multiple times in their working life. Something must have kept you here for 25 years. Is it anything that you can put into words?

Middlebury seems like a family to me. Faculty and staff care about students and each other.  It has been a wonderful place to spend 25 years.

What are your plans for the next 25 years?

Voltaire tells us “We must cultivate our own garden.” I am retiring soon, so I intend to cultivate my garden physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  More practically, I am looking forward to Septembers with no responsibilities.

Do you have a favorite place on campus?

I love the Davis Family Library, and one of my favorite places is the third floor seating area, looking east to the spectacular view of the Green Mountains.

Is there any person on campus (or retiree, former employer) that mentored you, or you feel helped you grow into your job, grow to enjoy your work and your time at the College?

Kathy Skubikowski hired me, mentored me, and gave me the opportunity to grow. We worked together for many precious years. In addition, I would say that every member of the Writing Program and the CTLR past and present has helped, guided, and influenced me over the years. These colleagues gave me the courage and confidence to dare to do things I did not think possible. Finally, my husband John Bertolini has been a tremendous support to me in work and in scholarship.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new employee at Middlebury, what would it be?

Find someone on campus that you can trust to help you decide when to say yes and when to say no.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your time at Middlebury?

Long before I was born, my godfather was a frequent summer attendant at the Middlebury College Italian School. He died before I was five, but I like to think he has been watching over my career at Middlebury for the last 25 years.

Audiobooks on Overdrive and You

What are audiobooks?

a librarian at desk
Literatures & Cultures Librarian Katrina Spencer poses at the Research Desk, modeling audiobook use with sex columnist Dan Savage’s American Savage.

Audiobooks on OverDrive are digital versions of a book, often a novel, that allow you to listen to a book’s text. Many come in downloadable MP3 format files and are therefore portable on many electronic devices like iPods. Sometimes the authors read their works to you with modest sound effects or other dramatizations of the story or action! Audiobooks can also be found on CDs in the Middlebury College Libraries’ collection. See a thorough listing here.

Why might I want use them?

If it’s hard to find still moments to sit down and open a print work or scroll through an ebook, audiobooks offer a hands-free alternative to the other formats. So, you can carry out household chores, drive, or even exercise while listening to an audiobook.

Where can I see what’s available?


A screenshot representing a small sample of the ~200 audiobooks available at go.middlebury.edu/overdrive.

In terms of what the Middlebury College Libraries holds on OverDrive, just visit go.middlebury.edu/overdrive for access to over 200 audiobooks. If you’re a Vermont resident and a holder of a public library card, you can access 5,000+ titles through the Green Mountain Library Consortium. See go.middlebury.edu/gmlc for more information and use your last name in all caps, ex. ALI, as your password.

Do you have any recommendations?

Book cover art for Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat

Yes, sure! But that depends on what you like. One of my favorite parts of my job is readers’ advisory. Look at the bolded type for genre:

  • If you want a psychological thriller in the realm of domestic noir, I recommend The Silent Wife.
  • If dystopian fantasy is what you’re into, Director of Access and Discovery Terry Simpkins and Library Associate Kat Cyr swear by N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Series.
  • If you want to access a classic and haven’t gotten around to it, Things Fall Apart is available.
  • Social justice? Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is sure to please and enlighten. And Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed also deeply engages systemic injustice.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer lit? I really enjoyed Less. Dr. Marcos Rohena-Madrazo of the Department of Luso-Hispanic Studies is a big fan of Redefining Realness.
  • Humor? Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay.
  • Disability studies? Good Kings Bad Kings is on the docket.
  • Then there’s also historical non-fiction like The War Before the War.
  • Historical fiction? Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-prize winning The Underground Railroad is recommendable.
  • And we have memoirs like Michelle Obama’s Becoming— though you may have to wait awhile to get to this one. See my review of it in The Campus, in the meanwhile.
  • Oh, and if you’re studying a foreign language like Spanish, you’ve got about 10 works to choose from on OverDrive and several on CDs in many languages found in the foreign language browsing collection on the main level of the Davis Family Library.

There’s a lot out there!

How can I use them and what should I know about the app?

There are three basic steps for accessing audiobooks:

a flyer advertisement
A flyer with detailed instructions on how to use OverDrive’s audiobooks, a condensed version reproduced at left
  1. Download the OverDrive app, create an original account and after signing in, add the Davis Family Library.
  2. When prompted to sign in with a library card, accept, but use your Middlebury credentials instead.
  3. Make a selection, borrow and manage your ebookshelf.

Also, when in doubt, you are welcome to ask a librarian for help or visit the guide found at go.middlebury.edu/ebookguide. With regard to the OverDrive app, there are some cool options like setting a timer for when you want the recording to stop playing, for example, if you’re getting in bed to sleep, and adjusting the speed of the player if you want to move through some text more quickly or more slowly than others. There’s some bookmarking, too.

Book cover art
Book covert art for Harriet McBryde Johnson’s Accidents of Nature

For how long can I borrow audiobooks?

There are two loan periods: 7 days and 14 days. Know that only one user will use each audiobook at a time. So, if desirable, you can place a hold on a work if you want to be in line for when a popular item is released. Check out up to three audiobooks at a time!

Last words?

They’ve changed my life, for the better. I hope they are of use to you, too. Also, to hear more from Middlebury audiobook users, see this week’s issue of The Campus.

Inaugural Monterey Threat Financing Forum March 20-22

The Middlebury Institute Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism is hosting the Monterey Threat Financing Forum this March. The event will take place on the Monterey campus and feature experts from government, FinTech, and the finance industry. The event is geared towards professionals in the threat finance, sanctions, and anti-money laundering fields with 3-5 years of relevant work experience. Current graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to attend.

The Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism (CTEC) and its Financial Crime Management program are hosting the first Monterey Threat Financing Forum (MTFF), an ambitious international conference featuring government and private sector speakers in the field of counter-terrorism financing, counter-proliferation financing, threat financing investigations, and sanctions compliance. The conference will be held on the Institute’s Monterey campus on March 20-22.

“We’re excited to be hosting this inaugural event,” says Professor Moyara Ruehsen, director of the Financial Crime Management Certificate. “No other educational institution can match the Middlebury Institute’s curricular focus and expertise when it comes to threat financing. And thanks to our sponsors, we’re also excited to be able to provide this learning and networking opportunity to professionals in the field at minimal cost.”

“One of CTEC’s three core focus areas is threat finance and sanctions,” adds CTEC Director Jason Blazakis. “The discussion led by top notch experts in the area of sanctions and threat finance at the MTFF fits squarely within the CTEC mission.” Participants can earn 12 Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credits by attending this conference.

Organizers announced this week that the keynote speaker will be Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury Andrea Gacki. OFAC is the federal agency charged with implementing and enforcing economic sanctions on behalf of the U.S. government. Before joining OFAC 10 years ago, Gacki spent eight years at the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in the Federal Programs Branch. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Participants can earn 12 Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credits by attending this conference. Sessions will cover the latest sanctions evasion typologies, and how blockchain forensics can trace cryptocurrency transactions, supplemented by break-out workshops that offer the chance to analyze a fictitious terrorism financing case, trace the transnational workings of a real North Korean proliferation-financing operation, and learn how network analysis tools can aid investigators.

For the full agenda and more information about the conference visit the Monterey Threat Financing Forum website.