Champlain Seniors Prepare for Post-Graduation

Whether They're Traveling the World or Starting Their First job, Soon-to-be Champlain Graduates are Living the Dream

Some 437 seniors are approaching one of the most gratifying moments of their lives: college graduation. This year's commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4, in a new venue, on the field at Edmund's Middle School. No doubt students are already experiencing a mix of emotions as their four years at Champlain College heads into the final weeks before picking up their diploma.

Some seniors are diving right into their first job days after graduation, while others are planning one last summer adventure before settling down into the next stage of life. Here are just a few examples of the Class of 2013's plans after graduation:

Blue Eyed Grizzly Clan Indiegogo crowdfunding page.Mongol Rally: Four seniors, Wilson Slader (social work), Alex Gunter (communications), Chris Erickson (graphic design), and Nick Lappen (education), collectively known as 'The Blue Eyed Grizzly Clan' have opted to, in their words, "Spend their summer battling the hands of time that would seek to force us apart as we pursue our post-graduation dreams and aspirations." Throughout their senior year, they have invested a great deal of time and effort to ensure their participation in the 2013 Mongol Rally, a 10,000+ mile charity road race from London, England to UlannBaatar, Mongolia. The rally starts July 13 and will end roughly six weeks later. They will be one of 300 teams, or about 900 individual participants. The trip offers a rare glimpse of shifting cultures across vast spaces of geography (they will visit over twenty different countries) which the team will capture through video, photographs, blogs, and artwork. "It's going to be wild," said Slader. "We will document it heavily." Not only does the team need funds to participate in the rally, but they are also giving $1,000 or more to two charities, Safe Passage and Cool Earth. They still would like to raise their goal of $3,000 on their Indiegogo crowdfunding site before May; they now have just over $1,900 and are promised a sponsorship from Beau Ties, Ltd. of Vermont. To support their team in the rally, visit their fundraising page.

Professional writing major Abbie Clark stands at Hadrian's Arch in Jerash, Jordan. Clark writes about her travels on her goal-setting and bucket-list blog, Chasing Dream Balloons.Career Reaching Lift-off: Champlain professional writing major, Abigail Clark, has maintained her goal-setting and bucket-list blog Chasing Dream Balloons with the hope of becoming a travel writer after graduation. She has recently entered in the Big Blog Exchange competition, a new initiative that gives 16 bloggers the chance to swap lives, blogs, cultures and places simultaneously in real life for 10 days. If Clark receives enough votes before April 15, she will get to take her travel writing to the next level. Core and writing adjunct professor Erik Shonstrom encouraged others to "read Abbie's blog - see for yourself how passionate she is! We can help send a Champlainer out into the world and blogosphere and make us proud." Clark has recently written about her experience studying abroad at Champlain Dublin and her trip to Jordan with Champlain's Core program this spring. Clark plans to stay in Burlington beyond graduation to network, work on freelancing, chase more dreams and knock more things off of her bucket list.

Senior business major Melanie Hess prepares to bike across the country with 'Bike & Build,' pedaling for affordable housing.

Biking Across America: Melanie Hess, a business major looking for a larger-than-life adventure before settling down and putting her degree to use, will bike across the country with a program called Bike & Build. "Over the years, I never quite found the time to give back in a significant way and that means a lot to me," said Hess. "Bike & Build was the perfect opportunity for me to physically challenge myself while giving back to our local communities right here in the United States." The program raises awareness for the affordable housing issue; along the way they build houses with Habitat for Humanity and other housing programs. Hess hopes to work for a non-profit or in an event/marketing job in the outdoors industry when Bike & Build is over in August; she sees this experience as a great way to make connections. Support Hess at

Business Internships in China: When Champlain College received a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Family Foundation to underwrite providing internships in Shanghai, China for 16 students from the Robert P. Stiller School of Business, seniors Donald Maynard, Ryan Hohl, Robert "Joey" Regan, David Paquette, Parker Cohn, and Kelsey Hall dove right in and submitted their applications. In June, they will be joined by juniors Kayla Hedman, Alaina Cellini, Patrick Dodge, Paxton Hall, and George Taylor Bentz, and sophomores Kaitlynn Roberts and Julia Haas at various internship placements in Shanghai.

Senior International Business major Ethan Edholm is already in Shanghai, taking five classes at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade before he starts his internship with the rest of the group this summer. For more information on the Shanghai Internship Program, visit

Hire(d) This Grad: Communications major Sadie Stone has already started working, weeks before graduation. She will begin full time once exams are over as the Communications & Program Coordinator at Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, Vt. Much like Stone, seniors Chris Brough and Kyle Marchev will start their jobs as programmer at Square Enix in Montreal and engineer at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, respectively, days after graduation. Public Relations major, Anya Frans, will begin her new job as Assistant Account Executive at People Making Good (PMG) PR on May 20. Frans joins Champlain alumni Liz Muroski '12, Brittany Southwick '12, and Alicia DeMartini '09, whom also work at PMG Public Relations, which was founded by Ken Liatsos and Nicole Ravlin, who teaches at the College.

At some point during their first year away from college, Champlain graduates will miss the social atmosphere of college, events like spirit week and spring meltdown, and even our mascot Chauncey T. Beaver.

"Upon graduation, nearly half of these graduates will likely have already lined up post-graduation employment," said assistant vice president of career services Sarah Potter. In last year's graduation survey, 83 percent of employed graduating students indicated that their first jobs out of college were "very" or "somewhat" related to their career goals and most had found their jobs as a result of their internships, part-time or summer jobs.

This year's survey will be conducted in the coming week while graduates pick up their cap and gown on April 18. As they move the tassel on their mortarboard from one side to the other on May 4, they join the ranks of Champlain College alumni, and have excellent opportunities for networking, finding jobs or continuing their education through graduate programs. The return on their investment of four years at Champlain will pay off over a lifetime, and the Office of Advancement and alumni relations are eager to keep in touch with these students.

To better serve graduating students, Champlain established admissions agreements with programs at New York University, Thunderbird School of Management, and Vermont Law School. For more information on the advantages of admissions agreements with these tertiary institutes of higher education, visit

If you're struggling to make a decision about what to do after graduation, meet with your career advisor before you head home. Students who have a plan mapped out are more likely to find their way to success.

Best of luck, Class of 2013!

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit