Archive for May, 2011

As the spring 2011 semester comes to a close, we asked a number of students to tell us about their best course from the past year.

Emily Cowan ’12

“Intro to Photography with Bill McDowell. I’m really interested in photography and this was the first class I’ve had since high school. Professor McDowell was just so accessible, really encouraging of student work and ideas and exploring.

Mike Webb ’13

“I’m an engineering major, so they are all pretty tough. I enjoyed my geomatics class, land surveying and environmental engineering, taught by Arne Bombliese. There are labs outside, hands-on, what you’re going to be doing for engineering; so we got a taste for what it’s actually going to be.

Naciim Benkreira ’12

“Permaculture with Keith Morris. It was definitely one of those classes with so much information that what you put in is what you get out.

Sara Sophia ’11

“BSAD 191, Strategy & Competition, taught by Allison Kingsley. It was a really interactive class that engaged all of the students and forced us to apply everything we’ve learned over the last four years.”

Sam Parady ’13

“Vermont Political Systems with Professor Frank Bryan. I’m a political science major and the course allowed me to understand Vermont in a comprehensive way. Vermont politics aren’t always correctly represented—it’s a fascinating mix of conservatism and progressive ideas, respect for the land. In the town meetings, you see the importance of both liberty and unity in this state.”

Julia Chin ’14

“Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries with Kit Vreeland. The course was in my major, really informative, and taught very well.”

Anne Sedlack ’13

“Anthro 21, Human Cultures, with Luis Vivanco. Usually introductory anthro classes are very large, but that wasn’t the case in this one. It allowed us to have a very hands-on class with lots of discussion and activities.”

Scott Moran ’13

“Mass Communication, Soc 43. We learned about semiotics and explored how advertising works and plays into the commercialization of our culture.”


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A familiar face, UVM undergrad Devon Barley, showed up on last night’s episode of “The Voice.” The show is NBC’s new talent search vehicle, which puts a twist on the genre by having the celebrity/music industry judges listen blindly to the contestants before giving a thumbs up or thumbs down. (Well, it’s a bit more complicated, but that will suffice for now.)

Devon Barley

I  met Devon earlier this semester when UVM photographer/videographer Sally McCay and I worked on a piece about UVM’s Top Cats as the male a cappella group prepared for their 30th anniversary concert. We connected with the guys one evening as they practiced in a conference room at Wright Hall on Redstone Campus. The group’s sound was especially impressive as they sang in that small, resonant space.

One piece, in particular, stood out — Gavin DeGraw’s “In Love With a Girl,” Devon Barley singing lead. A slight guy with glasses, white Gatorade baseball cap turned backwards, Devon, who is the group’s musical director, cut loose with a soulful voice, just a hint of fuzz to it. Sally made a great edit in our Top Cats video with Devon opening the number, then cutting to an interview with him talking about how the outlet of singing is a nice balance to his heavy-duty pre-med class load.  That video is currently available here on UVM’s homepage.

Though “The Voice”  had a hush-hush policy for the contestants leading up to the premiere, it seemed word had gotten around campus. My daughter Arline, a first-year UVM student, let me know “that guy from the Top Cats video” was on the show. And, indeed, there he was on a commercial—no less than Christina Aguilera with her back turned to Devon as he sang on-stage.

Last night, both Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green pushed their buttons and swung their chairs around, signifying their interest in working with Devon as a coach. After some deliberation, Devon joined Levine’s team. Here’s the performance.

Hoping, perhaps, to stoke some BarleyMania as the UVM student continues into the show’s next rounds,  we had Sally post an uncut version of Devon and the Top Cats covering “In Love With a Girl” during that Wright Hall rehearsal. Check it out on YouTube.

Good luck to Devon. We’ll be rooting for you.

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