In May 2014, Sterling College graduated 33 students, its largest graduating class in history.
Under a sky that threatened rain, thirty-one of the thirty-three graduates paraded in behind piper Robert McEwing, and listened to student performances as well as student speakers John Smolinsky ’14, Allyson Makuch ’14, and commencement speaker Dr. Bernd Heinrich.
Heinrich, author and emeritus professor of biology at the University of Vermont, is an expert on insect physiology and bird behavior. He told of working with a Sterling College student in the 1990s on raven behavior.
Dr. Heinrich was studying ravens at that time to determine if they share food resources. Kristin Schaumburg ’92 was helping him with his research for an internship. Schaumburg was from the Bronx and had never been in the Maine woods before. Nevertheless, she would be one of Heinrich’s research assistants for the study.
As part of the study, Heinrich had Schaumburg hiding out in a refrigerator box in the Wilton dump, to better observe raven behavior without being seen. Alas, Heinrich recalled, “the results were zilch,” and he still doesn’t know if ravens share food.
Even though the study did nothing to shed light on raven behavior, it did quite a bit to change Schaumburg’s life: she is now a bird keeper at the Bronx Zoo.
Heinrich is also a dedicated long-distance runner, and was presented with a Sterling College Mountain Trail Ultra Running t-shirt.
Receiving their degrees were: Mikal Anderson, William Aubrecht, Liz Chadwick, Lillian Corbin, Jessica Cottrell, Kendra Dempewolff, Erica Feinberg, Amasa Fiske-White, Clark Gaudry, Steven Giddens, Nathaniel Grant, Adam Haley, Ethan Higgins, Matthew Jackson, Allyson Makuch, Alison McKnight, Steven Obranovich, Jesse Scarlato, John Smolinsky, David Stevens, Erica Sullivan, Devin Thurber, and Malaika Whitney. Those who had completed their degrees in August 2013 were Alexis Drane, Bru Mille, and Brittany Tarbox. Those who had completed their degrees in December 2013 were Erez Brandvain, Peter Detwiler, Aidan Feeney, Margaret Jackson, Andrew Marshall, Haley Neddermann, and Kayla Scheimreif. •