Tag Archives: middlebury college

Alumni Spotlight: Krissy Taft (S’09)!

Krissy Taft, a Spring 2009 Island School alumna, is in her final semester at Middlebury College and has been very focused on senior thesis, which concerns the efficient use of the solar panels located in Middlebury’s own solar panel field. We got in touch with Krissy to hear more about her impressive project and how she is truly being a leader effecting change.

“I am a physics major, and I’ve added my own focus in environmental studies. One of my favorite physics professors has been in charge of getting our field of solar panels working. I’m really interested in renewable energy,  so I asked him if I could work with him this fall. One of the biggest issues with solar panels, second to their high cost, is that they are not very efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, so my professor and past students have been working to make our panels as efficient as possible.


Our system has a capacity of 140kW and consists of 34 solar trackers located in a field right behind our science center. Solar trackers can pivot around their posts, as well as adjust the angle of the solar panel. This allows us to point the panels exactly where we want to. On really sunny days, our computer system tells the panels to point directly where the sun is because that alignment allows them convert solar radiation into electricity most efficiently. Past physics theses have focused on this task of alignment on really sunny days. My project is actually looking at how our solar panels perform on cloudy days. When it is cloudy, light from the sun is scattered everywhere instead of coming down in direct rays. Our panels still point to where the sun is on cloudy days, but this might not be the most efficient alignment due to the fact that almost all the light coming from the sun is scattered at different angles.

My goal is to use data we’ve been collecting over the past two years to figure out how we should align our panels on cloudy days so that they operate with the highest efficiency. Hopefully whatever I find can be incorporated into the algorithms that tell our panels what to do every day!”

Congratulations to Krissy on her final semester at Middlebury and best of luck completing your senior thesis!

If you have an alumni spotlight story to share with The Island School, email alumni@islandschool.org.

Island School Parent Reception

On Friday, March 1, Ernie and Kim Parizeau (parents of F’03, S’06, and S’10) opened up their home in Wellesley, MA to host an Island School Parent Reception. The reception featured Middlebury College professor, and alumni parent, Jessica Holmes (parent of F’12) speaking about a summer entrepreneurship course Middlebury College is offering in Lake Tahoe called MiddCORE. MiddCORE is for highly motivated college students (or recent graduates) who have a desire to build leadership and communication skills, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Students should be comfortable in collaborative settings and be prepared for forty hours a week of impact-focused, project-based learning.

It was an incredibly successful event with over 60 alumni parents and friends of The Island School or Middlebury College in attendance. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the Parizeaus for hosting everyone in their beautiful home! Visit MiddCORE’s website for more information.

Days 1 & 2 of The Island School Road Trip!

Good evening from Burlington, Vermont! Your Island School roadtrippers have had a busy yet successful first two days on the move and wanted to update you!

We set out from Boston, Massachusetts on the most gorgeous fall day yesterday morning. First on our list of stops was Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. This sending school has sent a few students to us in the recent years (Chelsea Frost, SP’09; TJ Thran, SP’11) and we had the opportunity to meet a few prospective students, including Read Frost (brother of Chelsea Frost, SP’09) who will be joining us on Eleuthera in the spring! Although it was difficult to leave the beautiful coastal campus of RHS, we had another appointment at The Wheeler School in downtown Providence, RI! At Wheeler, it was great to meet up with alum Kyle Titsworth (SP’12) who recruited his younger brother and another fellow student, Bella, to come to our informational session.


We hopped back in the car, dutifully following the directions of our Continue reading

Congratulations America’s Next Eco-Star, Katie Romanov!

We are excited to announce that our very own Katie Romanov (F05) has been declared the winner of America’s Next Eco-Star Competition through SmartPower! After a long process of voting and judging all the entries of the young energy leaders who have committed themselves to sustainable practices on campus and beyond, Katie has come out on top. We are so proud of you, Katie!


Alumni Spotlight: Katie Romanov F05!

After leading Middlebury’s Solar Decathalon team to an impressive fourth place finish in 2011, Katie Romanov (F05) is now in the running to be America’s Next Eco-Star, a contest sponsored by Smart Power. You can watch Katie’s video here, where she not only talks about the impact her Island School semester had on her passion for the environment, but the many other activities she has been involved in throughout her high school and college careers that would make her the most qualified candidate for this contest. Be sure to vote for Katie so that she can become America’s Next Eco-Star! Good luck Katie!

Middlebury Solar Decathalon Team Finishes Fourth!

Congratulations to Katie Romanov (F’05) and the rest of Team Middlebury College for their impressive finish in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathalon 2011!


Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition that challenges twenty collegiate teams from around the world to design and build net zero energy houses that are attractive, affordable and entirely solar-powered. Team Middlebury College’s entry, Self-Reliance, received 1st place in three of the ten decathlon contests: communications, home entertainment and market appeal.

As the first undergraduate liberal arts team ever to make it into the finals on their own, Team Middlebury College is extremely proud to have performed as a top contender amongst teams from technical architecture and engineering institutions. Right before the final results announcement in West Potomac Park on Saturday Oct. 1st, the team’s Communications Coordinator Katie Romanov ’11 commented, “If we could finish in the top five, and be the little engine that could, we’d be thrilled!”


Read the full press release here!