Category Archives: Midd Off-Campus

Breaking News: Midd Graduate Peter Theo Curtis Freed After Being Held Captive in Syria by Qaeda Affiliate For Two Years

Today, breaking news revealed that after being held for nearly two years in a prison run by an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria, American freelance writer and Middlebury graduate Peter Theo Curtis was unexpectedly freed on Sunday after emissaries from Qatar’s government won his freedom on humanitarian grounds. While Curtis‘ relatives are not aware of the exact terms of the release agreement, they were told that no ransom was paid, in alignment with the US government’s long-standing policy not to negotiate with terrorists. This incredible event is undoubtedly a blessing to Curtis‘ family, the Middlebury community, and our nation at large, though it stands in a stark contrast to the brutal decapitation of fellow war correspondent James Foley last week, which must not, and cannot, be forgotten.

Curtis, now 45, wrote freelance journalistic dispatches under the name Theo Padnos and authored two books: “My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun,” a memoir about teaching literature to young offenders at a correctional facility in Vermont, and “Uncovered Muslim,” investigating Islamic extremism in Yemen. Curtis was taken near the Syrian border in October 2012 by Al Nusra Front, one of the groups seeking to overthrow President Bashir Assad of Syria that also has ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. His 22 month captivity was kept private, at his family’s request.

After graduating from Middlebury College, Curtis, an Atlanta native, went on to earn a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts. He is fluent in French and Arabic, and also speaks German and Russian, according to his family.

Middbeat, as well as the entire Middlebury community, extends its relief, and love, to Curtis and his family, while continuously mourning the loss of James Foley and remaining hopeful for the many other journalists presently held captive over seas. Significant information on Curtis‘ release, captivity, and career is available — be sure to read up here, or at your preferred news source.

Also, stay tuned for exclusive Middlebury Magazine coverage of Curtis‘ release.

20 Things Liberal Arts Students Need to Know At a Professional Internship

Reposted from Bustle.com. For all you Midd Kids on the summer intern grind…

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So it’s late July, and if you’re a college student packed in a sweaty shoebox-sized city apartment like I am, you’re probably a large portion of your way through the “golden ticket” to post-grad success: the summer internship.

At small liberal arts colleges (hello, NESCAC) like mine, once April rolls around “So what’s your summer plan?” questions start spreading like the flu in January, and if you haven’t landed a summer internship, well, “Yikes!” Now, of course, there are many of us that graduate and lead successful, fulfilling careers without ever achieving intern status (Yes, really!). But we aren’t TOTALLY crazy: According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers 2014 Internship & Co-op Student Survey, about 60 percent of interns received full-time job offers last year.

Unpaid, paid, stipend, free Chipotle under the table — however they’ve lured you in, you’re here: the aspiring liberal arts academic pretending to know something about law, finance, marketing, journalism, you name it. Plus, if you spend the other nine months a year amid farmland like me, you’re probably equally overwhelmed by the subway system (wait, they don’t stop for bikers here?!) as you are by the professional work environment.

But as liberal arts students it seems we are taught just about everything BESIDES professional skills. Sure, we’ve read an (un)healthy amount of Shakespeare, can lead a kick-ass community service project, and can likely spit a random fact or two about anything from quantum physics to Russian history (ask us about our distros, I dare you). But is being “well-rounded” really the key to success when your boss is spitting terrifyingly unrecognizable acronyms and you’re the only one in the room not salivating like Pavlov’s dog (hey, at least we get the reference!)?


We might have some seriously frustrating moments, but we’re doing a hell of a lot better than you might think based on the smirks people give you when you tell them you’re English major. Check out this list for a laugh about everything us lib arts kids know (or NEED to) so we can swim, not sink, among our fellow pre-professional interns this summer.

1. The majority of co-workers don’t recognize your school.


They probably don’t know it by name, or know where it is. Nothing makes you cringe like hearing “Oh I’ve never heard of it, is that a community school?”

2. You should appear totally chill when no other interns know your college.


It’s not the Harvard business major’s fault that the whole world heralds her brand name. Plus, your less-blabbed-about institution just amps your unique flare.

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The Caiçara: J-term Documentary by Tommy Hyde ’14.5

Whether you were interested in the beautiful country of Brazil before this summer’s ragin’ World Cup or not (BTW USA! FUCK YA @ 4PM TODAY!), once you watch this awesome documentary-style video by Tommy Hyde ’14.5 you will certainly be scratchin’ for a trip down south. Tommy spent J-term 2014 living the Brazilian beach life in the small, non-touristy, fisherman-fueled town of Bonete, Brazil. This video was his final project. Check out Tommy’s description of the experience below. Definitely worth watching (make sure those subtitles are on unless you’ve mastered português as well)!

“So this was pretty much the best month of my life. Rita Croce ’14 was a hero and set me up with a little hut her family owns on this beach. I got to eat coconuts, surf everyday, and hang out with these really amazing fishermen.

For the first week or so, I got a lot of weird looks. For one – there are very few tourists that stay in Bonete for longer than a few days, and it’s extremely rare to see any Americans. So a gringo staying for a month was confusing for the people there. However I gradually started to integrate – surfing with the locals, drinking beers with the old folks at the little bar at night, and even going to a few church services.

Marcelo, the centerpiece of the doc, was also a very shy guy. He is a man of few words, and was at first hesitant to open his life to me…even more hesitant about sharing with the camera. By the end of January however, right when my Portuguese was decent, he opened up and allowed me to film two days at his fishing outpost and conduct a single interview. It was a learn-on-the-fly experience in every way, and I’m privileged to have spent quality time with such an inspiring person in such a beautiful place.”

And here’s the link to the video again if ya missed it: https://vimeo.com/96993665

CALLING ALL MIDD STUDENTS: WIN $100,000 ON KING OF THE NERDS

SO THIS IS REALLY WORTH PAYING ATTENTION TO BECAUSE WE ARE ALL NERDS, LET’S BE HONEST, AND THERE IS $100K ON THE LINE.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.06.17 AMI’d never heard of the TBS hit series King of the Nerds until the casting staff directly contacted middbeat in hopes of casting Middlebury students for their next season - this is an incredible opportunity. And what is this show all about?

King of the Nerds is primed to become television’s ultimate nerd-off. The show invites competitors spanning the full nerd spectrum to come together to face challenges that will test their intellect, ingenuity, skills and pop-culture prowess. The nerds will first compete as teams before moving on to individual challenges, all with the goal of being named the quintessential master of all things nerdy.

The show is has completed two highly successful seasons and is casting for the third. Basically, they’re looking to compile a bunch of super smart kids and make them compete in totally absurd “nerdy-based” challenges like Robot Dodgeball, Nerdiocart and a Science Fair. Not sure if you’re “nerdy” enough? Associate Producer Brian Scully wants to encourage you that King of the Nerds is looking to re-claim, diversify, and celebrate the term “nerdy” – they don’t just mean bio and math majors (while you’re more than welcome too!), they’re looking for anyone with any unique obsession with anything that works the brain – be it academics, science, robotics, fandom, comics, rubik’s cube, engineering, sci-fi, anime, you name it.

In previous seasons competitors have reigned from top undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities nationwide. While Midd has not yet been featured on KOTN, Associate Producer Brian Scully is eager to see a Midd participant this year, as he was a huge fan of Sophie Clarke’s ’11 fierceness, wit and intelligence on Survivor: South Pacific, and even remarked that this Midd grad was “one of his favorite reality winners ever.” 

Casting for season three is going on now, and ending soon, so if you have any interest please email the casting team at kingofthenerdscasting@gmail.comSeason three will be shot during the summer, so you will not miss out on any classes. AND JUST A REMINDER, IF YOU WIN YOU’RE LOOKING AT A $100K PRIZE. Just think of the Two Bros nachos that would buy…

For any questions or concerns about the casting process, email kingofthenerdscasting@gmail.com

For more information about King of the Nerds check out these sites:
official TBS page: http://www.tbs.com/shows/king-of-the-nerds/
official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KingOfTheNerdsTBS
official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/KingofNerdsTBS
official casting Twitter account: https://twitter.com/KOTNcasting

Cursive Coffee: New Coffee Shop to Open in Middlebury

Middlebury is notably lacking a high quality coffee spot.  The dining hall coffee does’t quite reach diner status, and Crossroads, Carol’s, and Wilson are few notches above decent. Fortunately, Cursive Coffee, a Burlington based roaster, espresso bar, and artisan coffee shop, recently reached out to middbeat in hopes of generating stoke about their project to bring good coffee to Middlebury.  Founders Jim Osborne and Sam Clifton are working with Middlebury-based architect Anne Barakat to start an espresso bar at Barakat’s new office location at 58 Main Street, a few doors down from Vermont’s Own.  Barakat has designed spaces for the likes of Ben and Jerry’s, Hotel Vermont, and the American Bible Society, and, to add extra flavor to her Middlebury headquarters, is partnering up with Cursive to provide high caliber Joe for Middlebury. They currently have an IndieGogo campaign to raise money for the project with hopes of reaching $11,500 by May 23.  While middbeat will not ask our readers to donate, we do think the Barakat-Cursive partnership will be a great addition to Middlebury’s downtown, and would like to provide a platform for donation if this project interests you.  See after the jump for more background on Cursive’s growth from a mobile coffee shop at the Burlington Farmer’s market to a South End establishment, and more information on how to donate.

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SUNDAY: The Conversation Continues: A Follow-Up Discussion on Body Image at Midd

Image from Glamour Body Image Survey

Image from Glamour Body Image Survey

Last week, we were extremely pleased to see so many of you show up for the first Body Image Story-Telling event. Significant feedback about the power of the stories and the pertinence of body image related issues on campus has motivated a follow-up discussion to the event. At this Sunday’s follow-up meeting we are going to discuss where to go moving forward after this event and converse about what we want the school to offer in terms of resources related to body image, wellness, and eating disorders. We are honored to announce that the two Vermont state representatives for The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders will be joining us and will speak about various on and off campus eating disorder resources. We encourage anyone to join this conversation, whether or not you attended last week’s Gamut Room event. We look forward to seeing you there! Plus, there will be free Noonie’s catering! 

What: Follow-up discussion to Body Image Story-Telling event
Date: Sunday, April 27
Time: 2 – 3:30 PM
Place: Palmer House living room (first floor)

Outside the Bubble: “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Patagonia”


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Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentine Patagonia

Continuing in our series called “Outside the Bubble,” where students share stories, anecdotes, and reflections from their time spent away from campus. Get in touch with us if you want to share a story!

In this post, Sayre Weir ’15 recounts an unexpected change in plans while traveling through Patagonia

Outside the Bubble: “Fique á Vontade”

imageSunset over Florianopolis, Brazil

Continuing in our series called “Outside the Bubble,” where students share stories, anecdotes, and reflections from their time spent away from campus. Get in touch with us if you want to share a story!

In this post, Faith Whang ’15 summarizes her semester in Brazil in 3 words: “Fique á Vontade”  Continue reading

Midd Grad earns new contract with Super Bowl champion Seahawks

Do you have aspirations of making millions of dollars a year as a professional athlete with your Middlebury degreeNeuroscience major Steven Hauschka ’07 just inked a three-year 9.15 million dollar deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Hauschka signed with Seattle this fall after bouncing from club to club for several years and his foot provided consistent quality for the Super Bowl champs, who have just made him the 11th-highest paid kicker in the NFL. Congratulations Steven!

XC Team Wins Big in Donny’s Honor

applesOn March 8, the Middlebury Cross Country team was the first student group to win the Vermont Chili Festival. The team, led by Jake Fox ’15 went home with $100 in prize money from their first place award in the “Kitchen Sink” category and another $1000 for their overall win. Here’s a few words from Jake about the whole process:

We wanted to make a vibrant and warm chili: we had apples, multicolored bell, anaheim, jalapeno, and habanero peppers, three kinds of beans, and lots of tomatoes and onions. We were in the kitchen sink category due to our inclusion of beef and chicken sausage. I had about 35 people (Chem dept friends, a professor, and XC folk) show up on game day to help prepare, cook, and serve the 24ish gallons of chili we made.

WOW. Chili is great, but it’s important to keep in mind the inspiration for this whole endeavor, according to Jake:

Jake, the mastermind

Jake, the mastermind

Certainly, it was exciting to win an event so popular to the town and college, but a win was not really on our radar when we committed to participate in the Fest. Rather, our goal was to commemorate our teammate Donny Dickson ’11, and we accomplished this by promoting the Rumpus Run (a 5k fundraiser in his name the day after Chili Fest) and by sharing a fun-loving energy–one reflective of Donny’s spirit–with the town, with the college, and with each other. Those two accomplishments alone would have been enough, so the $1100 of prize money that we donated to his scholarship fund was icing on the cake (or an equivalent chili idiom).

It was a weekend full of accomplishments and memories for the XC team who went on the organize and compete in the Rumpus Run in Donny’s honor the following day, raising around $18,000 for his scholarship fund and bringing together hundreds of friends and family. Here’s Nighthawk’s recollection of gameday:

As sun crept over the luscious Green Mountains and into Gifford 411 on the morning of March 8th, the vibrations of a white iphone 5c rang through the once tranquil room. The clock said 5:30 AM, but to the weathered culinary crusader, it was time to cook some fucking chili. After spending years from his passion of creating oral pleasure, it was the one they called Foxxx that was able convinced Nighthawk to step out of retirement. And only after confronting the demons of his past, Nighthawk and the Spice Brothers began to prepare.

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