Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Maeve Vallely Bartlett oversees state’s energy, environmental affairs agency

When Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Class of 1980, was pursuing an English major at Wheaton College, she never thought her path would bring her to a state government office. But here she is on Beacon Hill in Boston—serving as Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

She was appointed to the post by Governor Deval Patrick in June 2014 after serving as undersecretary for the previous year. Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to combine energy and environmental agencies under one cabinet secretary with the shared mission of bringing clean energy technology to market, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting energy costs.

Maeve Vallely Bartlett

Pictured above, Governor Deval Patrick swears in Maeve Vallely Bartlett ’80 as Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs on June 9, 2014.

In her new role, Bartlett oversees policies and programs to secure energy and protect natural resources in the state.

“What we do is incredibly important to me, and it is absolutely necessary for the next generation,” she says. “I’m proud to be a part of what we’ve done here.”

The road to cabinet secretary has been a winding one that has included stints as a writer, which she always envisioned herself being (she still keeps a copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style in her office); law school at Suffolk University; and more than 20 years of experience in the environmental field working in state and federal government. She has served as environment undersecretary, assistant secretary for transportation planning, assistant general manager for environmental compliance at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and general counsel for Energy and Environmental Affairs. She has also served as senior enforcement counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Secretary Bartlett now juggles a range of issues as she leads the departments of Agricultural Resources, Conservation and Recreation, Environmental Protection, Energy Resources, Fish and Game, and Public Utilities. [Read more...]

Boston Globe shines spotlight on Adara Meyers’s play

2008-newsmaker-Adara-MeyersAdara Meyers ’08 has been featured in the Boston Globe for her play Talk To At Me, which the paper described as a “tour de force,” praising her “zany, satirical script.”

The play is a humorous, socially poignant look at a large number of contemporary issues and their subsequent coverage in the media. “I began writing Talk To At Me as an absurdist response to the media’s rapid-fire coverage of the global recession, the Deepwater Horizon [BP] oil spill and protests throughout Arab countries, to name just a few,” she said.

Meyers is the managing director of Sleeping Weazel, the Boston-based experimental multimedia theater company that presented the play. She is also a playwright and producer for the company, which was founded in 1998. [Read more...]

Unexpected gift

Gilman scholarship helps extend Oxford experience

Sarah Estrela 15

Sarah Estrela ’15 at the University of Oxford

For Sarah Estrela ’15, the Gilman scholarship arrived just in time.

Estrela had begun a yearlong study abroad program at the University of Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall last October, but when she approached the spring term with limited funds and a spot on the Gilman scholarship waitlist, Estrela returned from Oxford early and began making plans to start her spring term at Wheaton on January 22.

On January 26, she received notice that she would be given the funding. It was an unexpected gift that would enable her to return to the university for a second and third term.

“The Gilman scholarship is the reason I have been able to continue pursuing this lifelong dream. Without it I would have had to end a unique and enriching chapter of my life in the most abrupt, heartbreaking way,” Estrela said. [Read more...]

Liquid assets

Senior wins grant to bring potable water to Guatemalan village

Jorge de Leon ’14A small village in Guatemala got potable water this summer, thanks to Jorge Clemente de Leon Miranda ’14. He won a $10,000 award from Projects for Peace to distribute water filters and to help villagers develop plans for replacing the filters on an annual basis.

“It is important that communities realize that they can bring change to themselves by effectively using the resources they already own,” de Leon Miranda said in his proposal.

A native of Guatemala, de Leon Miranda distributed inexpensive water filters in El Coyol that can produce as much as five gallons of purified water daily. In addition, he hosted a series of workshops and social events, partly inspired by his work as a resident advisor at Wheaton, to educate the people about how to use the filters and the importance of potable water.

The grant for the work comes from Projects for Peace, which provides funding for grassroots projects developed by students at colleges and universities that participate in the Davis United World Colleges program. The initiative was launched in 2007 by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a noted philanthropist and the mother of Wheaton Trustee Emerita Diana Davis Spencer ’60, to support peace-promoting summer projects. [Read more...]