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JSC Honors Alumni


JSC Honors Alumni

Eight Vermonters receive alumni awards recognizing their professional, volunteer work; faculty, staff awards also granted

September 22, 2014

Johnson State College President Barbara Murphy recognized eight alumni, one staff member (also an alumna) and one faculty member as part of Alumni and Family Reunion Weekend festivities on Sept. 20:

  • Nancy Brown MacDowell of Jeffersonville received the Distinguished Alumni Award, chosen by the JSC Alumni Council and honoring JSC alumni’s contributions to society through outstanding career and public service achievements. MacDowell earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in humanities from JSC in 1976. She taught second grade in Berkshire and for 13 years hosted a radio show, the Sunday Morning Sampler, on WLVB, which featured an array of guest musicians stopping by to talk and play music. She has produced two albums featuring her singing, donating a portion of the proceeds from her first album, Giving Back, to JSC’s scholarship fund. Her second album, Green Mountain Harmony, features duets with some of the state’s finest folk and Americana talent. After a 30-year career in the Vermont broadcasting business, she’s now retired. She remains involved with the Lamoille County Players and has been singing in a trio called Girls’ Night Out.

  • Dennis P. DePaul of Jericho received the Outstanding Alumni Award for his personal and career success and service to the college. DePaul, assistant dean of students at the University of Vermont, has volunteered for several organizations devoted to helping children with cancer and other serious illnesses, including board member for the Children’s Oncology Camping Association International, board member for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Vermont and board president for Vermont’s Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. He also co-founded the Consortium for Inclusion and Equity, a consultancy designed to promote healthy work environments through intentional multicultural competency training and development. DePaul graduated magna cum laude from JSC in 1990 with a B.S. in anthropology/sociology. He earned a master’s of science in educational leadership, graduating summa cum laude from Troy State University in Alabama.

  • Melisande “Sandy” A.C. Mayotte of East Fairfield received the Outstanding Alumni Award for her personal and career success and service to the college. Since 1996, Mayotte has worked in St. Albans at A.N. Deringer, the sixth largest U.S. Customs brokerage firm, where she was named senior vice president in 2012. She also co-owns a large maple syrup operation in Fletcher and Enosburg. Through JSC’s External Degree Program, Mayotte graduated summa cum laude with a degree in general studies, with a concentration in business management, in 1992; she furthered studied at St. Michael’s College, the Vermont Leadership Institute and the Sloan School of Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has volunteered with Vermont Works for Women, the American Heart Association, Voices Against Violence and the St. Albans downtown redevelopment organization; mentored college students; and served on the boards of the Northwest Medical Center, the Adult Education Council and Vermont Association of School Business Officials.

  • Jean Olson of Montpelier received the Outstanding Alumni Award for her personal and career success and service to the college. Olson retired in 2010 after serving 17 years as executive director of the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont, a series of accelerated learning residencies on college campuses for highly motivated Vermont teenagers. Under her direction, the number of institutes grew from two to eight, the number of participating students doubled, and annual fundraising increased ten-fold. Olson graduated from JSC in 1970 with a B.A. in liberal arts, and then received an M.A. from Vermont College and an Ed.D. from the University of Vermont. In addition to working with the British Army in Germany and teaching English in North Cyprus, Olson has worked as an elementary school music teacher and as director of development for Woodbury College. She also helped coordinate the original legislation establishing Vermont’s E911 emergency-response system. She has served as a volunteer and trustee for several organizations, including OUR House, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, the Vermont/New Hampshire Red Cross, the Barre Opera House and the city of Montpelier. She continues to serve as resolution clerk for the Vermont State Legislature.

  • Susan Rand of Charlotte received the Outstanding Alumni Award for her personal and career success and service to the college. Ten years ago, she founded Sojourn Bicycling and Active Vacations, organizing and hosting luxury trips for individuals and groups. She also conducts charity and corporate events, recently completing a trip with Virgin Atlantic Airlines to fund-raise for Free the Children. Under Rand’s leadership, Sojourn is a major sponsor of Local Motion, Race to the Top of Vermont, the Catamount Trail and Middlebury High School’s Project Graduation. Rand graduated with a bachelor’s degree in allied health from JSC in 1980 and pursued a graduate degree in exercise science from Northeastern University. She played field hockey at JSC for four years, earning both individual and team inductions into the JSC Athletics Hall of Fame. She was director of athletics at Champlain College from 1982 to 2000, where she also served as head coach of the field hockey and soccer teams, earning two national championship titles in both sports and numerous regional and national coaching and sportsmanship awards. Her many activities include founding a girl’s soccer camp in Burlington, coaching youth in Olympic development programs and private clubs, and serving on the board of JSC’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

  • Greg Stefanski of Johnson received the Outstanding Alumni Award for his personal and career success and service to the college. Stefanski is executive director of Laraway Youth and Family Services, where he’s worked since 1999. He has been instrumental in growing the organization to better serve Laraway clients. Among other things, he’s overseen the construction of Laraway’s $3 million treatment facility, added an elementary division to the school and launched a behavioral-intervention program based in the public schools. He has volunteered extensively, including serving on the Johnson School Board, the Lamoille North Supervisory Union School Board, the Johnson Planning Commission, Johnson Works, the Vermont Coalition of Residential Providers and the Council on the Future of Vermont. He also coaches youth basketball, baseball and soccer and serves as emcee for Johnson’s weekly summer music series, “Tuesday Night Live.” Stefanski has a B.A. in theological languages from Concordia University in Illinois and a master’s degree in education from JSC (2006). He also is a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute.

  • Kelly A. Holt of Stowe received the Rising Star Alumni Award, presented to graduates of the past decade who have enjoyed considerable early career success and are an inspiration to current students. With a B.A. degree from Boston College, where she studied studio art and English literature, Holt came to JSC for a master’s degree in art education. She graduated in 2008 with extensive research, thesis and studio work on art and identity. She exhibits her paintings and mixed-media work throughout the Northeast. Her work has been reviewed in Vermont Art Zine, Seven Days and the Vermont Art Guide, and her workshops and art camps – at River Arts in Morrisville, the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson – are popular events. She teaches painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture and other art forms to children and teens. She works as the office and gallery manager at River Arts, where she also runs the grant-funded Kinder Arts program that serves children in preschool and kindergarten at four local schools.

  • Andrew Miller-Brown of Winooski received the Rising Star Alumni Award, presented to graduates of the past decade who have enjoyed considerable early career success and are an inspiration to current students. Miller-Brown earned a B.F.A. in creative writing from JSC in 2004. After graduating, he went to work and learn with internationally recognized artist Claire Van Vliet at the Janus Press in Newark, Vt. That year, he also founded Plowboy Press and began crafting and publishing limited edition, handmade books focusing on rural life, farming and Vermont. His work combines his life-long interests in books, writing and art with his upbringing on a small, family-operated dairy farm. Miller-Brown works on the farm in the summer, volunteers at the St. Johnsbury Community Justice Center, and is collaborating with Children’s Literacy Foundation to bring a traveling letterpress printing demonstration to local schools.

  • Dannielle Spring of Craftsbury received the Distinguished Staff Award. Spring held several management positions at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center before earning her degree in business management from JSC in 2007. She worked at her alma mater as an accounting specialist for two years before becoming JSC’s director of Conference and Event Services in 2007. Last year, she spent hundreds of hours of training and coordinating staff and departments when configuring JSC’s version of a new event-management system being adopted by the Vermont State College system. She not only implemented the system at JSC on time and on budget, she quickly became the VSC expert on the system, and she continues to train others in its use. Spring is an active and involved member of the JSC community who serves as treasurer of her union chapter, sits on the Wellness Committee and, as an avid reader, participates on JSC’s annual Common Book selection committee.

  • David Fink of Johnson received the Distinguished Faculty Award. With a bachelor’s degree in religion, a master’s in theology and a doctorate in counselor education, Fink had several job offers before deciding to join the faculty at Johnson State in 1989. He was attracted to JSC’s small size, friendliness and commitment to student success. As a professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, he has taught core undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and counseling and, since 2003, served as coordinator of the College’s M.A. in Counseling program. Outside of JSC, he leads occasional workshops for teachers, counselors and administrators on group process, stress management, interpersonal relations and communication skills.