The Mountain Times

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Five to be inducted as Fellows of the Vermont Academy of the Arts and Sciences

The acclaimed Middlebury-based writer Julia Alvarez is among the five Vermonters chosen this year to be inducted as Fellows of the Vermont Academy of the Arts and Sciences (VAAS).

The honor is given every year to a select few Vermonters who have made a significant contribution to their fields, said VAAS President Connell Gallagher. Other recipients of the honor this year are: writer Chris Bohjalian, artist Sabra Field, and scientists Lauren Howard and A. Paul Krapcho. "The Fellows were selected for their exemplary reputations and the substantial impact they have made on the life and conditions in Vermont," Gallagher added.

Dominican-American Alvarez gained international fame in 1991 with her novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents followed a few years later by In the Time of Butterflies, a novel chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to help revitalize literary reading in America. Since then, her autobiographical essays, poetry, novels and children's books have made her one of the most significant Latina writers in America today.

Sabra Field is a contemporary printmaker who has published hand-pulled, wood block prints from her Vermont Studio since 1969. Her richly-colored prints, known for distilling the essence of Vermont, have been featured in numerous books, as magazine covers and major galleries.

Chris Bohjalian has published 16 novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers, including The Light in Ruins (2013) and Skeleton's Feast (2008).  His book, Midwives (1997), based in rural Vermont was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club and subsequently became number one on the New York Times bestseller list. 

The VAAS has also chosen Lauren Howard as one of its scientific Fellows. Dr. Howard is an award-winning biology professor at Norwich University and an expert on woody plants. He served as chair of his department for 15 years and he established an important herbarium at Norwich for the study of the plant environment.

Dr. A. Paul Krapcho, emeritus professor of chemistry from UVM was named for his research in cancer treatment. His work has led to safer chemicals in the treatment of cancers. He developed the widely used synthetic procedure known as the Krapcho dealkoxycarbonylation. Dr. Krapcho has also developed a drug currently under review by the FDA for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's leukemia.

The Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences is an organization that works to foster intensive participation in the arts, humanities and sciences within the state. Besides recognizing outstanding Fellows, it organizes intercollegiate student symposia and conferences with a Vermont focus.

VAAS also provides grants and cash awards to high schools to support science and historical research projects.

Past Fellows include: Bill McKibben, George D. Aiken, Sister Elizabeth Candon, Edward J. Feidner, Bernd Heinrich, Ralph Nading Hill, Galway Kinnell, Jamie Laredo, Richard Lewontin, Margaret MacArthur, Larry McCrorey, Wolfgang Meider, Tom Slayton, Claire Van Vliet, Hub Vogelmann and Gwyneth Walker.