Faculty & Staff

Francesca Arnoldy

StoryListening Investigator

Program Director, UVM End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Program

Interests: Reading, nature walks with my pup, making memories with loved ones, engaging conversations, and all things doula 

Life Advice: “My motivational mantra: You’ll never have more time than RIGHT NOW!”

Steve Berns, MD

TalkVermont Director

Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine

Interests: Hiking, running, camping, traveling, baking pies, indie rock, and anything Harry Potter

Life Advice: “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the water chute, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute”

Katharine L. Cheung, MD, PhD

Telemedicine Investigator

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Nephrology ; Center of Aging

Interests: Hiking, kayaking, cooking, gardening

Life Advice:”Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.” -W.B. Yeats

Maggie Eppstein, PhD

Machine Learning Investigator

Research Professor and Professor Emeritus, Department of Computer Science

Interests: Research-wise, I love discovering things about how the world works using computational modeling and analysis in a wide variety of application domains. Aside from research, I love being in Nature – especially camping, hiking, kayaking, and rock-hounding. Around the house I love designing remodeling projects (that my husband implements), landscaping and perennial gardening, sewing, upholstering, and other creative crafty projects, and hosting family get-togethers over the Holidays for my two grown sons and various other siblings, cousins, in-laws.

Personal Life Advice: A wise piece of advice passed down to me from my Mom: “If you’re going to feel guilty about something, don’t do it. Once you decide to do something, don’t feel guilty about it.

Liz Gajary, RN, MA

PCCRI Study Coordinator

Interests: Dogs, goats, horses, travel, people, food and cooking, hiking, being outside doing anything!

Life Advice: “Life is a dance. Learn to dance well!

Robert Gramling, MD, DSc

Principal Investigator

Holly and Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine, Professor of Family Medicine  

Interests: Laughing, hiking, biking, writing, dancing, sharing big ideas, iaido

Personal Life Advice: Watch for a second arrow”

Liam John

Study Coordinator

Interests: Work: Aging, dementia care, and end of life decision making. Play: Cello, cross-country and backcountry skiing, gravel road cycling, and trail running.

Life Advice: “You only have enough time for the things that are important to you”

Donna Rizzo, PhD

Machine Learning Investigator

Professor and Dorothean Chair, School of Engineering

Interests: Machine-Learning and developing computational tools to improve the understanding of human-induced changes on natural systems and the way we make decisions about natural resources and multi-scale environmental problems.

Personal Life Advice: “Learn a lot and have fun!


Larry Clarfeld, MS

PhD Student- Computer Science

Interests: My interests outside of academia include field ecology, birding, hiking, camping, playing guitar and spending time with my family. 

Brigitte Durieux

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Senior – Biochemistry and French

Interests: Music, language, painting, hellbenders, space, biodegradable plastics, thelyphondia.

Life Advice: “Enjoy all that you can”

Cailin Gramling

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Senior – Philosophy

Interests: Writing, philosophy, dance, sleep, debate

Life Advice: “I feel like I have not lived long enough to give life advice. When I am older and wiser, I will get back to you!”

Laura Hirsch

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Senior – Chemistry

Interests: Cycling, Irish Dancing, gardening, hiking and chemistry poetry

Life Advice: “If the grass is greener on the other side, there is probably more manure there

Ali Javed

PhD Student – Computer Science

Interests: Food, traveling and fitness

Life Advice: “Persistence, determination and patience.” 

Jack Straton

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Senior – Statistics

Ann Wong

Research Assistant

Undergraduate First Year – Biology

Interests: Skiing, surfing, playing the piano, and drinking tea


Bridger Banco

Environmental Engineering

Interests: Hiking and backpacking, paddling, fishing, dogs, skiing, and birding

Life Advice: “Be kind to others and others will be kind to you. Also, always have fun!”

Viktoria Manukyan, MS

Product Engineer at Global Foundries

UVM Complex Systems Master’s Degree 2018

Interests: Big Data, Machine Learning, SUP Yoga and Dancing 

Life Advice: “Being confident and believing in your own self-worth will make everything possible

Lindsay Ross

UVM Computer Science

Interests: Cooking, running, singing, crafting 

Life Advice: “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.” –Billy Joel

Aidan Ryan

Civil Engineering

Interests: Playing guitar, anything outdoors, and of course diner breakfasts

Life Advice: “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift” -Steve Prefontaine