This decision came after my first two years as an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, where I entered as a Civil Engineering major with the goal of pursuing a career in architecture. After my freshman year, I began working as a supplemental employee/intern (over three summers and a winter) in the Marketing Department at IBM-Chicago while an undergraduate student. There I was sales support for the sales force, and then engaged in event planning. Although I ultimately left business for teaching, I carried this experience forward into my work as a university professor, where I mentor young adults some of whom wish to work in the corporate world and international business. Because I am also passionate about research — my areas of specialization are WWII, decolonization and the history of immigration and integration policy, France’s political history, and twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature and film — after receiving my BA in French Studies from Northwestern University, I pursued graduate work at the Ohio State University in Columbus. My interests took me to France, where I worked as an English instructor, both in a secondary school and as an adjunct professor at the University of Rennes I, the scientific campus (i.e., specializing in science, technology, law, economics, management and philosophy). My first position out of graduate school was at the University of Vermont, which was the best first job any aspiring professor could hope for, and I am now an Associate Professor of French at UVM, a position I have held for 18 years. I just published my first book, The Algerian War Retold: Of Camus’s Revolt and Postwar Reconciliation.
The urban/rural mix of my childhood made me feel right at home in South Burlington, where, when offered the position at UVM in 2002, I and my husband decided to purchase a home and where we are raising our three children, now 21, 19, and 9. We have never regretted our choice and feel deeply committed to this wonderful place that we call home. We are a city of diverse resources. We have thriving businesses, major transportation portals, preserved natural areas and working farmlands, vibrant neighborhoods, active volunteers and City boards, and a highly skilled City staff. I treasure this shared investment in our community and understand the need for balance between these entities.
I first became involved in municipal affairs through my volunteerism at my children’s elementary school beginning in 2004, when our older son entered kindergarten at Chamberlin Elementary School. I was later appointed to the South Burlington Charter Review Committee in 2007, followed by a successful run for the Council in 2008. During my time on the Charter Review Committee, 2007-2008, the committee reformed the City’s Charter to include Neighborhood Civic Forums, a local governance structure I proposed to more directly involve citizens in the City’s decision-making processes. Between 2008 and 2015, I also served as South Burlington’s representative on Channel 17’s Board of Trustees and take pride in having served as its treasurer and president. Channel 17 Town Meeting Television is the local government access channel, established in 1984 in order to give citizens direct access to civic conversations and monthly and special meetings of our local policy-makers.
During my first two terms on the Council, I was a strong advocate for the new police station (for which voters passed a bond in 2009), the conservation of Leduc, now Bread and Butter Farm, on our city’s southern limits (also in 2009), and the development of City Center (approved as a TIF district in 2013). I was also serving on the Council when carbon emissions reduction plans were established for City and School buildings. I took a two-year break from 2012 to 2014, and am now completing my fifth term, which has seen the development of Market Street, more public investment in connecting our biking and walking trails, and groundbreaking for the Library/Municipal Center.
As you know, two of my passions, as your elected representative, are to do my part to uphold open, transparent, and accountable government and to increase citizen involvement and input into the City Council’s work in setting policy. I believe that policy decisions that directly impact our economy, infrastructure, environment, and residents are enhanced by active citizen participation and dialog among stakeholders, which promote buy-in and mutually respectful outcomes.
I look forward to continuing my service and would be honored to have that chance again if elected on March 3 to represent you on our City Council.