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Inside last year’s course book you will find a full month long calendar, quotes from alumni, and descriptions of the CORE strengths. Click on the course book above to download.  

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Summer 2015 Applications are Now Open

We are happy to announce that our MiddCORE Summer Immersion 2015 Application is now open.  The Summer 2015 MiddCORE Program will be held on the shores of Lake Tahoe from July 11 – August 8. MiddCORE is for highly motivated college students and recent college graduates who have a desire to build leadership and communication skills while developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Students should be comfortable in collaborative settings and be prepared for forty hours a week of impact-focused, project-based learning.    

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MiddCORE Alum Alec MacMillen Takes the Stage as TEDx Speaker

The Project on Creativity and Innovation (PCI) is Middlebury’s “launchpad for new ideas.” Through programs such as MiddCORE, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, TEDxMiddlebury and a host of others, PCI fosters a dynamic community of actively engaged thinkers and learners. This is an exciting community to be a part of: it is bursting with creative ideas and innovative individuals. Alec MacMillen ’14 is one such individual. As a MiddCORE alum, a MiddCOREplus intern and the student speaker at this fall’s TEDx conference, Alec has embraced the opportunities Middlebury offers to expand education in new directions. I had the chance to sit down with Alec this week to hear about his experience as a TEDx speaker and discuss the message he conveyed through his eighteen-minute TED talk, titled “The Extrovert Ideal and the Best Four Years of Your Life.” The talk offers a poignant reflection on the pressures and expectations…

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Kick-Off of Mamma Kat’s Middlebury Visit: Whispers, Dreams and Blessings Workshop

Dr. Kathryn Hall-Trujillo arrived on the Middlebury campus on the evening of October 16th.   She is the founding director of Birthing Project USA, holds a B.A. and a Masters in Public Health, has had an extensive career in social services and women’s health, and is an Ashoka Fellow. But this list of illustrious titles and accomplishments does not come close to fully describing the smiling, warm woman who arrived at Middlebury on a rainy October night. Right from the beginning, she said, “Call me Mamma Kat.” Mamma Kat exuded kindness, wisdom and humility. She conveyed warmth, gentleness and acceptance. Mamma Kat visited Middlebury as a Social Entrepreneur in Residence. The program is a part of Ashoka U, an initiative geared at bringing social entrepreneurship to college and university campuses. Middlebury itself is an Ashoka Changemaker Campus, with exciting endeavors like MiddCORE, the Programs on Creativity and Innovation and…

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Before I came to MiddCORE I thought…

We’re now at the halfway point of the MiddCORE  journey!  See what students are saying about what they thought MiddCORE was going to be like before they arrived and what they now realize MiddCORE is… “Before I came to MiddCORE, I thought it would be a one month ab workout.  Now that I am here, I think that it is a one month brain workout.” “When I first came to MiddCORE, I thought it would be more business – oriented.  Now, I know there are much more important skills learned.” “When I first came to MiddCORE I thought that it was going to be more independent now I realize it is about collaboration.” “When I first came to MiddCORE I didn’t think that I was going to work so closely with mentors, now i’m really enjoying working with mentors on a daily basis.” “When I came to MiddCORE I…

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Reflections About the MiddCORE Journey

An update from Team Northstar Facilitator, Jonathan Miller-Lane: We are midway through week two of MiddCORE SNC, Summer 2013. Team Northstar is thick in the work of moving from “themes, to insights, to platforms” as we develop strategies for a national campaign to raise awareness about, and affirm the importance of, First Generation college students.  Chastity Lord, Chief External Officer of Achievement First, who delivered the First Generation challenge during Week One, is now here with us to shepherd students through week two and to our final presentations on Friday morning. Blake Glenn from What If! Innovations has played a key role over the past five days in unraveling the creative process.  Rather than relying on the limited practice of ‘brainstorming,’ Blake has challenged students to develop a much deeper and intellectual understanding of how to move from impulsive reactions to a question, to a rich and nuanced process of data…

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Sales and Flyfishing

At the end of their fourth week of the program, the seven MiddCOREplus participants learned about sales from mentor Nicolas Boillot, CEO of HB, an integrated marketing agency focused on business-to-business, clean-tech, high-tech and medical technology markets.  Students learned that building good rapport must always be the first step in sales. Nicolas stressed the importance of remembering that “sales is not about you or what you have to say…it is about listening to what the other person needs and seeing if and how you might be able to fill that need.” Students practiced making a good pitch about their company in order to get feedback from one another and from Nicolas.  This feedback will be critical in the upcoming weeks of their internships as they will continue to be in the field gathering insights. During the afternoon session, participants headed outdoors for a fly-fishing lesson. Everyone quickly realized that fishing, like…

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Life is Good Super Powers Challenge

  Sometimes we forget that life is good. After only a weekend to embody the Life is good super powers of WISDOM, COURAGE, FUN, SIMPLICITY, AUTHENTICITY, CREATIVITY, COMPASSION, GRATITUDE, HUMOR AND LOVE students illustrated how life is good to mentor Roy Heffernan, Chief Operating Optimist of Life is good.    

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FlyLow

  “You guys don’t ski fast; you flylow.” This week Team Alpine Meadows will work with FlyLow, an outdoor apparel company positioned at the intersection of ski racing, snowboarding, mountain and freeride skiing.     The FlyLow team intends to capitalize on the growing power of its brand and reduce the seasonality of its business model by expanding its product lines beyond the skiing industry.  The MiddCORE challenge is to make a specific proposal to the FlyLow team about the new product strategy. Students spent the afternoon with Dan Abrams, the owner of FlyLow, and mentor Ernie Parizeau talking about the FlyLow business model and Dan’s journey as an entrepreneur. Interview with Dan Abrams

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We Are All on a Path as Speakers

  “At some level we all hate going up on stage as speakers. The important thing is to keep stepping up to the podium.” - Mike Kiernan   Five important secrets for persuasive communication from Mike Kiernan: 1. Create a structure “Place some telephone poles in the empty landscape to drape your words upon.” 2. Remember the importance of silence “Attend to the graphic design of your utterances.” 3. Your speech is not happening inside you “100% of the design and delivery of your presentation must be focussed on an understanding of the perceptual apparatus and the psychological state of your listener.” 4. Attend to number of input portals of your listener “Always start with visual silence.  Be certain that your visuals are superior to silence.”  5. Surprise Me “I have given you, as a listener, the gift of my attention. Do not insult my generosity by allowing me to anticipate…

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Emotional Intelligence with Leslie Schreiber

Increasing emotional intelligence is possible through improved self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. Leslie Schreiber, founder of Schreiber Training, guided the students through both physical and verbal activities to better understand how to understand and improve their aspects of emotional intelligence. Alec MacMillen said of the session, “Personal and social awareness are only as valuable as the actions they inspire. You can be the most observant and aware person in the world, but it means nothing unless you can translate that knowledge into self-regulation and relationship management.” Later that afternoon, students traveled to Metta Earth Institute, where they focused on intentionality and focus through yoga and meditation. Chessy Kelley led the session, encouraging students to clear their minds and prioritize their values.

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The Danger of a Single Story

  “It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about POWER.” – Chimamanda Adichie Tara Affolter opened her session last Friday with Chimamanda Achidie’s TEDtalk, The Danger of A Single Story.   “Why does this matter?” Tara asked the students, “We come to places like Middlebury with a story of who we are, what our family’s expectations are like, all sorts of influences and impacts; yet we are dropped mid-stream into this place.  College lets us start to remake oursevlves, but that history shapes who we are and how we see the world.  Without access to a larger picture the story told about us and the story we tell about others is limited.” During the session Tara challenged students: “Consider the stories that you were told about race, class, stories that were told about you and stories you were told about how to be a success….

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MiddCOREplus 2013: Story Making with Mike Kiernan

From being lost in the woods in Norway to a reading of The Glass Castle, students told a variety of stories that helped students bond and understand the meaning of an effective oral narrative. Of the experience, Naila Jahan commented, “It’s important to take time to look back at your own story and remember your past.” During MiddCOREplus, a summer program for MiddCORE (Middlebury) graduates, students practice the skills they acquired in MiddCORE and collaborate with a local organization. In addition to these partnerships, students take part in weekly workshops that aid in personal development and in that of their project. The first workshop of MiddCOREplus, Story Making, was an exploration of values and the oral narrative.  Mike Kiernan, the workshop’s mentor, asked that students write a value statement, one sentence that communicated the beliefs, goals, and/or inspiration they use for motivation. Students used these value statements to reflect…

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Watch Videos of MiddCORE in Action

Crisis Management As part of the experiential learning that takes place at MiddCORE, students were handed the roles of upper management of Toyota during the accelerator crisis. Mentor Gary Holmes, Principal at Gary Holmes Communications LLC, helped the students craft their crisis management techniques and then put them into action. Take a look at what happened. Idea Creation MiddCORE participants have the opportunity to create their own innovation during MiddCORE, called the Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge also encourages students to reach out to the mentors that hold workshops during the program. As part of the idea development process, Lisa Condino (Teaching Artist and Regional Coordinator of VSA Vermont) and EJ Bartlett (Creative Director of EJ Creative) held a prototyping and idea creation workshop that helped students understand their ideas in a physical way. Social Entrepreneurship Challenge During MiddCORE January ’13, students were tasked with a challenge related to…

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VPR Teaches MiddCORE Active Listening

On Tuesday, MiddCORE headed up to Vermont Public Radio for a field trip to work with Jane Lindholm, host of VPR’s noontime Vermont Edition, on the interviewing process. The show seems to run effortlessly, but students soon learned that behind the scenes an orchestrated team fields calls, sets up questions, and feeds IM messages to Lindholm all as she articulates thoughtful questions and listens to the interviewee and callers. After Lindholm wrapped up Tuesday’s Vermont Edition on revenue generated from break open tickets, rodent poisons, and curling, she spent about two hours helping MiddCORE students understand what makes for a good interview. She demonstrated an interview with Hugh Marlow, and the students had the opportunity to dissect and discuss the process. Lindholm also talked to MiddCORE students about the most relevant interview they often face: the job interview. Her number one suggestion for all interviewees is to be honest….

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Leadership Summit

The last week of MiddCORE is an exciting time for students and mentors alike.  As students polish and refine their presentations for the Innovation Challenge and reflect on their experiences from the past month, they are also afforded a rare opportunity to meet with influential leaders and change makers from across the country. On February 1st, students and mentors gathered together in Kenyon lounge for a leadership summit and final celebratory dinner.  During the summit, students had the opportunity to pose questions to an incredible assembly of leaders: Ronald Liebowitz, president of Middlebury College; Jim Douglas, former governor of Vermont; Marna Whittington, Chief Executive Officer at Allianz Global Investors Capital LLC; Brian Napack, senior advisor of Providence Equity and Chastity Lord, Chief External Officer of Achievement First. Below are a few questions and responses from the night’s discussion: What one thing would have been most helpful to know before…

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You Are the Instrument: Your Body, Your Voice

“You are the instrument: your body, your voice- and today is about tuning that instrument.” MiddCORE persuasive communication educator Mike Kiernan opens. Today students worked to explore more of their natural style in persuasive communication. Working with text developed in the class, students examine the art of connecting: it is all about moving from Self-Consciousness to Other-Consciousness. Everything about the design and delivery of a presentation should be centered on an understanding of the perceptual apparatus and the psychological state of your listener.

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We Create Impact Through Design

“At IDEO we create impact through design. I want you to experience the way IDEO works by doing it,”  Tom said. Tom Raith, the Creative Director at IDEO, spent a day with MiddCORE students in Monterey brainstorming and re-framing the Fort Ord Social Challenge that the students there are focusing on for the month of MiddCORE. Using the photos and quotes from the day in the field, the students covered the walls with sticky notes looking for impressions that stuck and recurrent behavioral models.  Were the stakeholders open, confrontational, or engaged? Even before MiddCORE Monterey started on January 2nd, 17 students interviewed stakeholders about a connectivity challenge in the Fort Ord area.  The challenge had been framed around a connectivity issue; however, with Tom’s guidance, students started to reframe the question starting with three words: “How might we …?” From there, students jumped to prototyping. “This helps to scratch…

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MiddCORE Alumni Innovating a Year Later

Whether it’s developing sweet savories from local producers or creating energy bars made out of crickets, MiddCORE 2012 Alumni are continuing to further their enterprises that launched almost a year ago in MiddCORE during the Innovation Challenge! Read about Suzanne Calhoun of Suzanne’s Sweet Savories in the Addison Independent, who has packaged and sold hundreds of jars of savory spread. You can also read about Alex Bea’s mission to fight world hunger via his company Jiminy in the Middlebury Campus. Keep up the good work!  

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Join Us! Middlebury’s MiddCORE at SNC

Mark your calendars: the application for MiddCORE at Sierra Nevada College will be available on November 15th! We invite students and recent graduates from any institution to apply to join us this summer on Lake Tahoe. As the application opening draws nearer, our Outreach Assistant Astrid is getting ready to travel to colleges all over the country to recruit prospective students. She will lead information sessions about MiddCORE SNC and conduct interviews for interested candidates. Stay tuned for an info session on your campus! You can read the full press release from Middlebury College here.

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Feedback on Fall Workshop Series

This fall MiddCORE hosted four fabulous workshops: Persuasive Communication, Storymaking, Negotiation, and Activating Empathy (co-sponsored by the Center for Social Entrepreneurship). We were blown away by the mentors that led mini-MiddCORE sessions this fall, but don’t take our word for it! See what our participants had to say…  “Could this workshop be offered again? Or on a more permanent basis?” “That type of learning is exactly what I’ve been yearning for at Middlebury…” “Really fascinating and interesting learning experience!” “MiddCORE seems like the missing piece that I have been searching for in my Middlebury education – and I know I would be lucky to be able to be a part of the program this January.” Peter DiPrinzio ’13 competes with Jake Nonweiler ’14 in an arm wrestle as part of Paul Cramer‘s workshop on negotiation.

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“Be Useful!” said the Queen of Twitter.

Laura Fitton, Marketing Evangelist at Hubspot shared this bit of advice during our last stop at the inbound marketing firm in Cambridge, MA. Fitton, also known as @Pistachio, authored Twitter for Dummies and has influenced thought leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Seth Gowdin, Penelope Trunk and others on the benefits of using twitter. Here are some snippets of wisdom from @Pistachio on tweeting and inbound marketing strategies: “Influence (was) attract attention to yourself.  Influence (is) provide attention and value to others.” “Make your customer the hero of your story.” MiddCOREplus Students outside of HubSpot. After touring HubSpot, talking with @Pistachio, and meeting with the Talent Management Executive David Fernandez, students sat in the audience during HubSpot’s filming of their weekly marketing update.  The topic – Sexting Redefined and McHonesty Wins the Day.

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The Sin Bin – Don’t let the Party Go to Waste

Jo Opot ’05 Global Vice President of Business Development at TerraCycle and Freeman White ’03, CEO of Launcht challenged students to identify wastestreams on campus.  Groups identified, solo cups, paper towels, printer cartridges and plastic bags as main wastestreams. The winning team identified two prevalent discarded items on campus and included an additional item to to help market the Sin Bin.  Sin Bin is a collection mechanism for Solo cups, candy wrappers and condom wrappers.  This group even applied for an environmental life grant before their presentation on Friday!  After the awards, MiddCORE students sketched out an implementation plan for a Terracycle committee on campus.  Members of the committee would include staff from facilities, environmental organizations on campus, members of the residential life team and MiddCORE students.      

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