Sophomore Symposium Workshops

Click here to sign-up for the workshop of your choice.

The first 300 students to pre-register will receive a copy of Lindsey's new book Becoming the Boss.

Becoming the Boss Book Cover

Meet the Keynote

Continuing the Conversation

Lindsey PollakPresenter: Lindsey Pollak, Keynote

Join Lindsey for a Q&A session to learn more about her experience and her career tips.

Bio: Lindsey Pollak is a recognized career and workplace expert with specific expertise in the Millennial generation. She is the author of the forthcoming Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders and the bestselling Getting From College to Career. She serves as an official Ambassador for LinkedIn, Spokesperson for The Hartford's "My Tomorrow" Millennial campaign and Chair of Cosmopolitan magazine's Millennial Advisory Board. Her consulting and speaking clients have included Barclays, Citi, GE, Ralph Lauren, Verizon, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, MIT and over 150 other organizations. Lindsey's advice and opinions have appeared in such media outlets as The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and NPR. Forbes named her blog one of the 100 Best Websites for Your Career. Lindsey is a graduate of Yale University and is based in New York City.

Workplace Capacities

You're Hired!

President Don LaackmanPresenter: Don Laackman, President of Champlain College

Don will cover how to prepare for job interviews. Included are descriptions of behavioral, case-based, skills-based, and free-form interviews. We will also discuss what work you need to do before, during and after an interview so that you hear those magic words, "You're Hired!"

Bio: Donald J. Laackman began serving as Champlain College's president on July 1, 2014. He is the college's eighth president since the founding of Champlain College in 1878.

Don's background encompasses the higher education, business and non-profit sectors. He has experience in large-scale organizational transformation, economic development, information technology, strategy development, human capital development and operations.

Don comes to Champlain College from Harold Washington College, in Chicago, where he served as president from 2011 through 2014. Prior to his presidency at Harold Washington, Don managed Workforce and Education programs for Civic Consulting Alliance, a non-profit partnership dedicated to making Chicago more livable, affordable and globally competitive. Don worked at Accenture, a global consulting and technology firm, from 1984-2007, where he was a Managing Director and Partner serving the Financial Services industry.

Laackman received his B.A. degree in Economics, Politics, Rhetoric and Law from the University of Chicago in 1984. He obtained his Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 2009.

Don is married to Allyson Laackman, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. They have two children, Donald and Emily.

Surviving As A Freelancer

Professor JoAnn PatelPresenter: JoAnn Patel, Assistant Professor, Champlain College

If you're an artist or designer, it's likely that you'll work on a freelance basis at some point in your career. This session will discuss the things you need to know to build a successful, freelance career.

Bio: JoAnn Patel is an Assistant professor in Game Art & Animation, CCM. She started teaching at Champlain College in January 2010. Prior to teaching at Champlain she was the 3D Art Director at a production company in NJ that created military training applications/simulations and marketing videos for a variety of companies. She also worked as a freelance 3D artist and compositor at several studios in New York City and worked on projects for cable TV stations including the History Channel and Discovery Channel.

I QUIT! The Do's & Don'ts of Quitting Gracefully

Lindsey LathropPresenter: Lindsey Lathrop, Accountability and Career Coach

The first step toward your next career opportunity is leaving your last one (and, statistically, you're going to have many careers in your lifetime!) While this sounds scary and you have many excuses for staying at your job; there's a way to quit with grace. If you want to learn how to navigate your exit that leaves a positive impression and helps your reputation — don't miss this workshop! 

Bio: Most recently, Lindsey Lathrop was the Assistant Director of Navicate, an organization dedicated to helping young people explore careers, gain experience in the workplace through internships, take college classes, and develop professional leadership skills. In August, she made the difficult decision to leave Navicate to pursue other projects that bring her energy and excitement. Lindsey also is an accountability coach, helping her clients (individuals and organizations) get "unstuck" and move forward on their goals and projects. She loves all things self-help and career development.

Stand Out: How to Make an Unforgettable Impression

Colin RyanPresenter: Colin Ryan, Speaker and Comedian

Speaker and comedian Colin Ryan walks students through a highly interactive session on facing fear, learning from failure, sustaining happiness, and pursuing your dream. Not only will it be funny, it will give students rock-solid strategies to project confidence, improve public speaking, master the interview, build connection with employers, and tell their own story in truly stand-out fashion.

Bio: Colin Ryan is a stand-up comedian who speaks to college student audiences about money, confidence and happiness, and offers trainings on public speaking. Colin was named one of the top 10 youth presenters in the nation, and to date has spoken to over 50,000 students and adults. He works with colleges, corporations and nonprofits across the country.

Be an Active Ally and Self-Advocate

Faith YacubianPresenter: Faith Yacubian, Adjunct Faculty, Champlain College

We all hold many identities some are related to gender, race, class, citizenship, and sexual-orientation. Part of being a successful professional is working in an environment in which your values are reflected in the organization's mission or purpose. In this workshop we will focus on workplace anti-discrimination policies as they relate to the LGBTQ identity and students will explore professional ways to inquire about pertinent inclusive practices, and how to navigate dissonance when their job of choice/place of employment is heterosexist and/or trans-exclusive.

Bio: Faith Yacubian is an Adjunct Faculty for CORE and EHS and the Faculty Advisor for INCLUDE (the student LGBTQ CC group). She is an Armenian-American, white, lesbian, cis-woman, raised middle-class, temporarily abled body and mind, and raised Christian. Her reality is framed by advantages and disadvantages that social injustice affords. Faith has worked at Champlain for eight years, the first five years working as an Assistant Director in Residential Life. She has taught at Champlain for seven years. Her educational background is in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation. Much of her training for the field of Student Affairs has prioritized Social Justice Education. When combined with her formal graduate work, her teaching, evolving aspirations and everyday decisions aim to contribute to equity efforts and social action and responsibility.

What Makes You Tick

Cinse BoninoPresenter: Cinse Bonino, Associate Professor of Creativity and Director of CIP, Champlain College

Discover what gets in the way and stalls your creativity AND what makes it hum along in productive and successful ways. Learn to notice the unique ways you are wired and to determine how this affects what promotes and deters your creative process.

Bio: Cinse teaches Creativity & Conceptual Development at Champlain College and also directs the Center for Instructional Practice. She is currently working on a book about the Creative Process.

Crucial Conversations - Preparing for Life's High Stakes Conversations Based on the book: Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Paterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Akshar PatelPresenter: Akshar Patel, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Champlain College

We live in a world surrounded by crucial conversations. From talking to your professor about a grade, to deciding where to go on spring break with your friends, we are constantly in high stakes situations. Come learn about the techniques that top influencers use when emotions run strong, opinions differ, and making a decisions becomes hard. You'll be surprised to learn who amongst your peers can hold a crucial conversation!

Bio: Akshar Patel is the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission. He is a 2013 grad of Illinois Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Structural design with research concentration in Structural failure and its relation to Barkhausen Magnetic pulses. He also has a minor in Psychology and is a Leadership Scholar. In addition he is a Leadership trainer - training members on the importance of "Continuing the journey" with SkillsUSA and is a SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association member.

Strategies for Work-Life Balance

Susan MahanyPresenter: Susan Mahany, Auxiliary Services Project Manager, Champlain College

Everyone wants to have great work-life balance! Having great work-life balance leads to a happier, healthier, more productive life. In this workshop, we will explore 6 strategies for designing work-life balance into your life and then brainstorm at least 3 more as a group. You then get to choose which 4 strategies appeal to you the most and rate them in order of importance. You really can have it all, but you have to be intentional about your priorities and choices.

Bio: Susan Mahany majored in Industrial Engineering at Purdue then went into the Air Force to become the first female navigator of the C-130 Hercules. After marrying a pilot that flew her all over the world, she left the military and got a master's degree in Educational Psychology. While raising two kids, she published a magazine in Atlanta about natural health. After moving to Vermont, she started working as a bodywork therapist and homeschooled her kids. Now that they are heading to college, she is working part-time as a project manager in Auxiliary Services at Champlain College. She has loved all of her jobs and has had a lot of quality time with family and friends along the way.


Love, Desire, and the Killing of Curiosity

Michael JagerPresenter: Michael Jager, Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (formerly CEO of JDK Design)

Brands are living things and their design matters. This workshop explores the importance of rational, emotional, and cultural relationships in the creation and nurturing of better brands in an era when love alone is no longer enough. Desire can be created by design, we'll explore how. 

Bio: For more than twenty-five years, Michael Jager has directed the creative and design efforts of JDK Design, a studio focused on the idea that design distinction matters most. Guided by Ezra Pound's simply but elegantly stated principle, "Make it new," his collaborative output for a multitude of today's most recognizable and relevant brands-including Burton Snowboards, Microsoft's Xbox, Nike, Levi's, Incase, SRAM, Phish, MTV, Virgin, Lululemon, Yara, Seventh Generation, and Patagonia-is recognized worldwide. Through JDK's own brand-design incubation platform, Michael has helped create unique home, sport, and lifestyle brands, such as Mamava and Maglianero. He is an ambassador for 1% for the Planet and the cofounder of The Karma Birdhouse, a creative-economy work space now home to more than 40 inspiring entrepreneurial entities. 

A Career in Sports; From Converse to Special Olympics

Lisa DeNatalePresenter: Lisa DeNatale, President & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont

It all began in 1982 with a canvas shoe. Sneakers were sneakers, not fashion. Sport was sport, not entertainment. Professional athletes spoke, not an agent. Then came the Reebok Freestyle. Air Jordan. Tiger Woods. Join Lisa DeNatale whose career began in the quieter, gentler days of Sports. Follow her for 20 years, from Converse to NIKE, and through a 10-year career at Ben & Jerry's before returning to Sports as President & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. 

Bio: Lisa DeNatale began her role as President & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont in March, 2011. She is a Boston native and a 1980 Graduate of Boston College from which she received her Bachelors of Science in Marketing. Her corporate career spans 30 years having held Marketing and Brand Management positions at Stride Rite, Converse, Reebok, NIKE and Ben & Jerry's. She lives in Burlington with her husband, Steve Boutcher and has recently become an empty nester as the mother of two grown children, Harrison (20) and Emma (18). She enjoys traveling, running and singing...occasionally at the same time.

Preparing for the Real World in the Sustainability Field 

Mieko OzekiPresenter: Mieko Ozeki, Sustainability Projects Coordinator, University of Vermont

This introductory workshop will highlight the diverse careers in the environmental field and how you can do your part for the planet. Attendees will assess their hard and soft skills, discover what work they enjoy, determine the assets they need to build, and learn how to create their own brand to set them apart. 

Bio: Mieko joined UVM's Office of Sustainability in 2008, after working for The Food Project, a sustainable agriculture non-profit organization, and Boston Day & Evening Academy, a charter high school. She is Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program and serves as a mentor for social and clean energy entrepreneurs across the country. Mieko is a small business owner of Radiance Studios, a boutique career coaching service.

Chittenden County Court Diversion & Restorative Justice

Chittenden County Court Diversion & Restorative JusticePresenters: Maria Thach, Case Manager (CC Alumni), Alysia Monaghan, Case Manager & Joe Rheaume, Case Manager

Case Managers from Chittenden County Court Diversion share their experience working with participants referred by the State Attorney's Office for eligible offenses as an alternative justice program from the traditional criminal justice system. Court Diversion aims to utilize restorative justice principles to help participants learn from their mistakes, make amends to victims and/or the community and holding participants accountable in a manner that promotes responsible behavior so that they don't re-offend.

Landing Where Your Heart Leads

Leslie AverillPresenter: Dr. Leslie Averill, Vice President of Student Life, Champlain College

When thinking about your career listening to your inner voice might just be the key to your success. Hearing what our inner voice is saying can be especially hard when it's sending opposite messages then the media or the expectations your family has of you. In this workshop you will hear how the Vice President of Student Life at Champlain College discovered her dream job and how listening to and following your inner voice may be the key to your long term career success and happiness.

Bio: Dr. Leslie Averill started her career teaching health education to middle school aged students.  After a short stint in the public school system she transitioned out into the private health club industry where she spent a decade in health club sales and marketing and physical fitness training and education.  Dr. Averill started at Champlain as an adjunct instructor teaching  a variety of classes including First Year Seminar, Interpersonal Communication, Health Club Management  and leadership courses. After a few years as a faculty member Leslie transitioned into student life and is now the Vice President of Student Life at Champlain College.

In Transition: How an Executive in the Ski Industry Ended Up in Higher Education

David ProvostPresenter: David Provost, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Champlain College

David Provost, will share a series of exercises he went through in deciding to leave a 13 year career in the winter sports business to come to Champlain. These simple but revealing exercises will help anyone get clearer about his or her own career path. Forks in the Road, Priorities and Motivational Profile are just some of the activities we'll explore.

Bio: David Provost is Champlain College's Vice President of Finance and Administration and has been with Champlain for 10 years.

The Unspoken Rules of the Art World

Chris ThompsonPresenter: Chris Thompson, Curator in Residence, Champlain College (CC Alumni)

To build a successful career as an artist, simply working hard and having a great looking portfolio is not enough. You need to learn the unspoken rules that govern the art world and how to bend them to your advantage. In this seminar, artist turned curator Chris Thompson divulges surprising secrets of how the art world really works and how to prepare yourself for a successful career in the arts.

Bio: Chris Thompson is Champlain College's Curator in Residence. Previously he was Chief Curator of Burlington's BCA Center where he produced more than 30 major exhibitions over five years. Chris is also a founding board member of The Generator, Burlington's dynamic art and technology space.

Pink Lego Houses

Kathy SeilerPresenter: Dr. Kathy Seiler, Science Coordinator & Assistant Professor, Champlain College

Ever wished you had a woman mentor to help you navigate a male-dominated field? Wondered how to balance a career with wanting a family? Dr. Seiler will relate her experiences as a female scientist, wife and mother and lessons learned along the way.

Bio: Dr. Seiler received her B.S in Biology/Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry and her Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology/Molecular Biology before you could go shopping on the internet. Since she finished her studies, she has served as inaugural faculty at a new medical school, has worked in medical software content, biological database content and development, done bioinformatics and cheminformatics, run her own business, and was involved in the Human Genome Project. She came to Champlain College several years ago because of a strong desire to return to teaching and academia.

Just Go For It! Journey From Artsy High-School Student with Average Grades to Building a Career Around Video-Games

Marc WilhelmPresenter: Marc Wilhelm, Assistant Professor, Champlain College

Often we hear about "dream jobs" or starting a "successful career at x company." Is there such a thing? How would you get there and what should you expect in an internship, job or career? How can you make your passion into success? Marc will share his journey to inspire you to find your own path to beginning a career that you love. Topics will include life-long learning, taking chances and getting & staying inspired.

Bio: Game designer Marc Wilhelm has collaborated on a variety of successful game projects. His many years of professional work on development teams at high-profile, industrial scale studios has resulted in the publication of award winning AAA PC & console titles. Additionally, his experience at smaller and medium sized start-ups and incubators has led to novel and successful web based, social and mobile projects, utilizing a variety of monetization strategies and models. Throughout his professional journey in games, Marc has taken opportunities to explore a variety of roles including 2D/ 3D artist, level designer, game designer and producer. Under the moniker 'Marc Von Wilhelm' and the banner of 'Fresh Aces Videogames', Marc also self-publishes games independently. His solo-developed titles have been included in indie-game bundles and have earned praise from both players and critics. In 2011, Marc founded the 'Colorado independent Game Developers Association' (CiGDA), successfully creating a diverse forum for artists, developers and musicians to discover and build a local, collaborative game-development community. The group encourages the pursuit of knowledge and expression by fostering a safe, open, supportive and inspiring environment. CiGDA believes in progressing the interactive arts to 'create good' through events such as local charity game jams & youth outreach.

Helping From Behind The Screen

Duane DunstonPresenter: Duane Dunston, Assistant Professor, Champlain College

In this session, Duane will discuss the varying paths he took in order to become a Professor of Information Security and an advocate of anti-Human Trafficking. Do you have goals that you want to achieve? Do you have a specific path you want to take? How about a social cause you are passionate about, but aren't sure how to get involved? Duane will discuss the reasons why he didn't conform to a specific path to achieve his dream job. Also, he talks about the reasons to get involved in social causes and how to get involved on varying levels.

Bio: Duane Dunston is an Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity at Champlain College. He's been in Information Security since 1997.With a graduate degree in Organizational Management, he is also an adjunct Information Assurance instructor at Pfeiffer University, his Alma Mater. He is also the coach for the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC), and this year Champlain's team placed second. Duane is also a mentor for the Cyber Patriots Program at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Duane has written over a dozen articles, several being published through He is currently researching the usability of cryptography and has created an application, h2H Messenger, that is designed to make public key infrastructure easy to use and to make enterprise use of the application more efficient. This application is currently being tested in an enterprise environment. Currently, he is revitalizing an information security course with his colleague, Erle Pereira, originally developed by Carnegie Mellon and making it freely available on the Internet ( He is also working to develop advanced courses in information security. If you are interested in enrolling, please contact Duane Duane has spoken for the Western North Carolina and Burlington, Vermont Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions series as a Guest Lecturer on Cybersecurity.  He also been featured on WCAX for topics related to cybersecurity. His information security experience is from the education and government sector where he worked as an information systems security officer and computer forensics analyst.

He's written two novels about a computer hacker that helps law enforcement track down human traffickers, Twisted Greed and Point of Interception.  Additionally, he donates 100% of the royalties from his novels to organization that support victims of human trafficking. Duane is a volunteer security consultant with International Association of Human Traffickers and Investigators.  He's working with a Champlain student to develop technologies to facilitate the identification of trafficked victims. Duane's interest are in risk management, security education, and using technology to promote social change. Outside of computers, he's practicing silversmithing, and just started learning about gardening.

Study Abroad: You Can't Afford Not To Go

Jim CrossPresenter: Jim Cross, Associate Provost and Senior International Officer, Champlain College

Having an international experience adds value to your undergraduate education and enhances your opportunity for jobs and career advancement. Learn about Champlain College's signature guided immersion programs in Montreal, Quebec, Dublin, Ireland, Shanghai, China, Buenos Aries, Argentina, Auckland, New Zealand and Ifrane, Morocco, that combine study abroad with opportunities for internships, service learning and volunteer work that will build your resume and provide personal and professional growth.

Bio: Jim Cross has more than 30 years of experience in international education in both academic and applied settings working for the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development, the NATO Parliament, Loyola University Chicago's Rome Center, Business International, Heidelberg College, Michigan Technological University, Clemson University and now Champlain College. He earned the Doctoral Degree in Political Science from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and holds graduate degrees and certificates from the European Institute for International Studies at the University of Nice, the Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for International Management. Cross is a graduate of the University of Vermont and was named the 1979 Harry S. Truman Scholar from the State of Vermont. He is on the Board of the Vermont Council on World Affairs and serves as President of Education Vermont USA and Vermont International Academy.  He  served as the NAFSA Association of International Educators Senior International Officer Network Manager and was a member of the Executive Boards of the IIE Global Engineering Education Exchange and the Center for Cross Cultural Studies (CC-CS). He recently served as the President of the Administrative Council of the Clemson University Brussels Center and Chaired the Atlantic Coast Conference International Academic Collaborative. Cross' areas of academic grant writing and scholarship include international development, international economic policy, international education, international politics and international security.

Volunteering Full-Time After College

Elin MelchoirPresenter: Elin Melchior, Senior Administrative Coordinator, Office of International Education, Champlain College

Not sure what to do next? Peace Corps and AmeriCorps offer some great choices to give you life experience and cushion the transition into the working world. Learn what you can expect in the way of assistance and expectations.

Bio: Elin Melchior works in the Office of International Education at Champlain College. At loose ends after college, she joined the Peace Corps and went to Niger, West Africa. She has spent a total of 15 years overseas.

Special Education Certification: Why you need more arrows in your quiver

Presenter: Kyle Dodson, Director of the Center for Service and Civic Engagement, Champlain College & Barb Bishop, Teacher

In this session, 20 year veteran teacher Barb Bishop and ex-Principal, Kyle Dodson will share why they think that special education training is such a powerful tool for serving ALL students.