Wildcats Making a Difference

Shout out to alumni embodying purpose, passion, and integrity by turning their talents toward helping and informing their community! Know someone making a difference in their community or profession? Let us know by emailing alumni@williston.com so we can recognize their efforts.

Kate (Webber) Schubmehl ’00

Kate is the Elementary Literacy and Humanities Coordinator for Chelsea Public Schools. Chelsea Public Schools is a gateway school system that welcomes and educates students and families. The city is just north of Boston, is only 1.8 square miles in size but has a population of over 40,000. The city of Chelsea has been hit very hard by COVID-19 and has the highest infection rate in the commonwealth. Chelsea schools closed on March 13, 2020 with the immediate need to keep students, staff, and families safe. Since then Kate has worked to set up engaging and enriching remote learning opportunities for all students, and to deepen and sustain these supports. Now with school closed through the end of the year, Kate will continue to support and connect all students with remote learning through collaboration with countless stakeholders, both in the schools and the community. During this challenging time the goal is to be flexible, creative, and grounded in order to do what’s best for the students of Chelsea and their families.

Colleen Thom ’02

“I work as a hospitalist physician in the greater Philadelphia area caring for patients who require hospital admission. Our area has been hit pretty hard by COVID-19. During our peak, the vast majority of our patients were being admitted for COVID-19 related complications. The high rates of inpatient mortalities and watching people suffer alone without family members by their sides has been emotionally taxing for our staff. There have been some incredibly trying days but the support of our local community has been inspiring.”

Ted Caine ’04

Ted works as the Director of Administration and Special Projects at GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GMHC has had to adapt to support clients changing needs. One of the largest services is a congregate meals program, sometimes this is the one hot meal a client eats all day. To adapt to social distancing guidelines, they have created GMHC On the Go, a meal delivery service providing 14-meal pantry bags directly to clients home. Ted is proud to be a part of GHMC while they step up to help clients!

Julie Long ’99

Julie writes, “For the past month I have been triaging people in a temporary structure placed outside of the ER, designed to cater only to patients showing symptoms of Covid.  The number of people coming through has seen a severe increase from our initial numbers, and the patients I am seeing are significantly sicker.  Most days I come home exhausted, but I have to go through a strict routine to disinfect myself and the belongings I bring back into my home. While it would be far easier to take a step back and allow others to do the hard work, I know this is what I have dedicated myself to do.”

Morgan Nichols ’00

Morgan is the State Director of Main Street Alliance of Vermont, a non-profit organization that lifts up the voices of small businesses to advocate for policy change both at the state and federal level. Working with their national organization, Main Street Alliance has been leading the charge in advocating on behalf of small businesses by lifting up the voices of those who are getting left behind in the current federal packages.

Beth Martinez ’97

Beth’s restaurant Bistro Les Gras is working on providing food to Cooley Dickinson hospital for #FeedTheFrontlines.

David Bartlett Bates ’02

David is a radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and has been innovative in finding ways to limit infection spread to cancer patients in the hospital. “Cancer does not stop,” David said, “so neither do we.”

Laura Bowman ’13

If you’ve come to a recent local Williston event, you have probably experienced the fantastic food this alumna caterer produces with her company Blue Door Gatherings. Shout out to Laura for her generosity making lunches for front line medical workers.

Brittany Collins ’14

Brittany contributed to the important conversation around remote teaching and learning during this time of social distancing. Read her article here for some insight.

Katharine Cole Esty ’52

Sincere thanks to Katharine for her informational piece, “What Older People Really Need During The Coronavirus Pandemic: Lessons They Can Teach Us.” Read the piece here.

Xavier Thibault ’18

Xavier Thibault ‘18 is working with The Brain Exercise Initiative, which is a non-profit organization led by university students at 32 universities, facilitating brain exercises which consist of simple math, writing, and reading aloud exercises for seniors at local retirement and nursing homes. However, due to COVID-19, all of the volunteering activities at retirement homes have been temporarily suspended. For this reason, they are currently reaching out to caregivers to reach seniors who would be interested in having audio/video calls with volunteers. They will chat with the seniors and spend time going through some simple and fun ‘Brain Exercises!’

Leah Pezanowski ’17

Leah has been working at the New York State Department of Health since September of 2019. She usually works in the Division of Hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers in the division of Organ Donation and Transplant. Recently, during the outbreak of this pandemic, she has joined the team of dedicated individuals at the Rapid Response Call Center. They are responsible for helping healthcare facilities across the state remain fully equipped with personal protective equipment.

Thomas (Chris) Kelley ’84

Chris works in the Pulmonary and Critical Care unit at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. “COVID-19 has been, and will continue to be, completely transformative to my work,” Chris said.

Jonah Stinson ’00

As a disaster management expert and physical geographer in Washington state, Jonah is responsible for anticipating and preparing governmental responses to “anything that rocks society, that’s out of the norm.” He’s been busy responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

pawsitive pantry logo

Jen Bennett ’84

Jen, a CCO (Chief Canine Officer) at Pawsitive Pantry, is working with the Vermont Foodbank to increase the amount of pet food being delivered to local food shelves to ensure no pet is left
behind in times of financial crisis. Learn more at pawsitivepantry.org