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Two SVC Community Members Honored at VEOP Conference

Southern Vermont College (SVC) is delighted to announce that two of its community members were recognized by the Vermont Educational Opportunity Programs (VEOP) at a ceremony on October 13 at Vermont Technical College. VEOP is a professional organization that ensures equal educational opportunity for Vermont’s first-generation, college-bound students who are from low-to-moderate-income families and/or are individuals with disabilities.

Catherine Burns has been named Educator of the Year by VEOP for her dedicated service to the TRIO community for over 17 years. Alumnus Zachary Garafalo ’09 will receive the VEOP Achiever Award in recognition of his outstanding civic, community, and professional achievement, and his contributions to TRIO programs. Both individuals were nominated by Melinda Maris, Dean of Teaching and Learning and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at SVC.

TRIO is a federally-funded program designed to provide enhanced support to targeted individuals—the first in their families to go to college, from low-income households, and/or having a documented disability—as they progress toward college graduation.

Catherine BurnsBurns, of Bennington, Vt., is Tutoring Coordinator and Course Apprentice Program Supervisor at SVC’s Student Support Services through CTL. She has helped thousands of low-income students, first-generation students, and students with disabilities navigate through college.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Burns went above and beyond her normal position by taking on an additional role of Interim Director of CTL. Burns achieved a five-year recertification for the Tutor Training Program from the College Reading and Learning Association and expanded the Course Apprentice Program enabling more TRIO students to obtain support from their peers.

“Catherine willingly contributes to many SVC initiatives across every unit of the College,” said Maris. “Catherine’s contributions to these many initiatives support TRIO students directly and indirectly and provide SVC’s TRIO students with ever-better academic experiences.”

Zachary GarafaloGarafalo, of Albany, N.Y., is Money Follows the Person Component A Program Director, New York Association on Independent Living in Albany. He is responsible for the development, evaluation, and supervision of an initiative funded by the New York State Department of Health as part the federal Money Follows the Person demonstration.

A 2009 alumnus of Southern Vermont College graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Politics, Garafalo was supported by SVC’s Student Support Services program. He took full advantage of the services offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning, and gave back to TRIO by serving as a peer tutor. Garafalo continues to donate his time and energy in support of TRIO. Garafalo participates in the VEOP Legislative Reception serving as an exemplar outcome of TRIO support, and he often returns to SVC to inspire current SVC TRIO students.

In her nomination letter, Maris stated, “Zach’s decision to enter his chosen career path, in which he mentors and empowers disadvantaged and marginalized populations including immigrants, young people, older adults, and people with disabilities, was a direct result of his experiences as a member of the TRIO community.”

Since 1978, Southern Vermont College’s academic support services have helped thousands of students realize their dreams of earning college degrees. The Center for Teaching and Learning provides a wide range of services (free of charge) that help students get the most out of their college years—whether they are struggling in class or want to progress from “good” to “great.”

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