Sterling College

Alumni Association Board




Laura Lea Berry

Graduation Year: December 2010 (Commencement 2011)

Degree: BA, Self-Designed major in Environmental Humanities & Natural History

Current Hometown: Craftsbury, VT

Employment: Assistant Dean of Academics & Registrar at Sterling College

Bounder/Expedition Memory: Our first night out it poured rain. I tucked my boots up under our shelter before I went to sleep, but another group member saw them and moved them to what he thought was a safer place. I woke up to 6 inches of water in my Sorels. I had to wear plastic bags inside and outside of my liner.

Advice for Prospective Students: Explore as many classes and areas of study as possible before declaring your major. Take advantage of every field study opportunity that you can. Communicate early and often with your course instructors and your advisor.


Annie Gaillard

Graduation Year: 1975

Degree: Grassroots Project

Current Hometown: Walden, VT

Employment: Retired

Bounder/Expedition Memory: The beauty of the Lowell Mountains. Sleet one night and the sound the next morning with a slight breeze was like crumpling cellophane. The sun broke through and we were in an ice palace fantasy land. Magic.

Advice for Prospective Students: Not all your expectations will be met by any institution, including Sterling, but you will never look back with regret and will see the challenges for what they are – life lessons.


Christina Goodwin

Graduation Year: 2002

Degree: BA in Wildlands Management and Ecology

Current Hometown: Worcester, Vermont

Employment: Dean of Advancement at Sterling College

Bounder/Expedition Memory: Bounder provided me with multiple experiences where I was downright impressed by my own ability (and the ability of others) to persevere, hang tough, and laugh about it later. I was shown the importance of trust, both in myself and others. My favorite memory? Impossible to name just one!

Advice for Prospective Students: The people with which you share your Sterling experiences will show up for you when you need it most. Develop strong bonds now and you’ll always have a community, regardless of where you end up in the world.


Rita Hennessy

Graduation Year: 1981 – Rooter – Woodchuck


  • 1981: Sterling College– Woodchuck (30 college credits), and High School diploma from VT
  • 1991: University of Montana– BS in Recreation Resource Management
  • 2010: Antioch, McGregor Graduate School– MA in Community Change & Civic Leadership

Current Hometown: Shepherdstown, WV

Employment: National Park Service, Program Lead, National Trails System

Bounder/Expedition Memory: Shaving bark off of twigs in freezing rain to make a fire.

Advice for Prospective Students: Sterling is a fabulous, life changing adventure – let it open other doors and walk through…


Erin Lane

Graduation Year: 2000

Degree: BA in Wildlands Ecology and Management

Current Hometown: Peacham, VT

Employment: USDA Forest Service; Northern Research Station (USDA Northeast Climate Hub and North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange)

Bounder/Expedition Memory: I loved the night hike! What a feeling to work as a team all through the night and make it back home by dawn.

Advice for Prospective Students: Do your part to save the world.


Justin Parks

Graduation Year: 1966

Degree: High School Diploma

Current Hometown: Norwalk, CT

Employment: Retired; Chairman of The Bassick Gold Mine, LLC

Bounder/Expedition Memory: Strength out of Stress – I participated in the 1st and 2nd years of the Bounder program. There was one instance with a “life-or-death” challenge; the insulin of a faculty member froze and he went into diabetic shock. The only choice was to carry all six feet 280 lbs of him out (okay maybe it wasn’t quite that much). We jerry-rigged a stretcher and carried him several miles through deep snow. The good news is that we got him back safely, and he recovered. It was a pain at the time, but on reflection, I realized I was able to surpass my own expectations of myself of what I could overcome, be it physical or psychological.”

Advice for Prospective Students: Having gone on to earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Service in Vietnam, I can say that the skills learned during the Expedition helped in my survival.


Jo D. Saffeir

Graduation Year: 1982

Degree: Grassroots Program

Current Hometown: Pownal, Maine

Employment: Self-employed Conservation Consultant, focused primarily on sustainable food systems, land conservation, environmental philanthropy, and outdoor recreation.

Bounder/Expedition Memory: During the first week of the Program, doing a ropes and obstacle course in the pouring rain in which every single one of us ended up encased in mud from head to foot!

Advice for Prospective Students: If you’re considering Sterling College, I’m not inclined to think you really need advice, because you’re already an independent thinker. The Sterling community is made up of students, faculty and administrators who all have a passion for building a just and sustainable world, and collectively they bring hope, innovation and inspiration to their work. You would be well served to join such a passionate group of thinkers and doers, and Sterling would be equally fortunate to have the addition of your energy and intellect.

Andrew Sandison

Graduation Year: 1986, I think!

Degree: Associate Degree in Rural Resource Management

Current Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Employment: Pastry Chef Lecturer

Bounder/Expedition Memory: The cold and snow! My colleagues built their fire on top of a frozen water course that still had running water underneath. What a surprise. Leading the walk out of the forest exactly to where we needed to be!

Advice for Prospective Students: Sterling is an awesome learning pathway whatever your long term life goals and grounds you in meaningful practices that you use and apply for life.


William Shakespeare

Graduation Year: 1972

Degree: High School Diploma

Current Hometown: Marlboro, VT

Employment: Retired

Bounder/Expedition Memory: The winter expedition up Mt Washington with Ron Rosen. Going to cross-country and ski jumping ski events all over Vermont and New Hampshire with Mr. Ramsdell and Sterling Ski Team.

Advice for Prospective Students: Make sure you know what you want and what you are willing to commit to. Remember, you are directing your life now– not your parents, your siblings, or your teachers. Only you can make your vision become a reality, but you will need to work closely and collaboratively with everyone around you; with your professors, your fellow students, your family, if you are going to succeed. This is not about winning, but about growing and stretching in ways you never knew you had the capacity to do. Share this great experience with everyone around you. Be passionate about the hands-on learning environment you will be experiencing at Sterling. This is not a solo trip. This is a community venture that requires individual commitment and mutual support and teamwork. Work hard, and remember to smile at every small success. Let your kindness and curiosity carry you through the tough challenges. Build friendships that will last a lifetime. This is when it all happens, right now, right where you are, right here. Have a great time.



Filed Under: Alumni Blog