At GMC, Nick found a sense of academic rigor that he hadn’t found anywhere else—rigor rooted not only in the curriculum, but in service learning.
Now a law student at American University, Nicholas Ravotti was accustomed to moving around frequently during his youth, spending most of his time in Athens, Ga. and, by the time he turned eighteen, Brooklyn, N.Y. What caught him by surprise was the allure of a rural setting that, despite its small size, opened up big opportunities for the aspiring law student.
“It’s funny,” Nick says. “But I kind of stumbled upon GMC accidentally.” He had already decided it was time to go back to college, after deciding not to pursue his degree in psychology and art therapy at the well-regarded New School University in NYC. “Three years into my degree, I realized that this was the worst possible avenue for me personally,” he says. As hard as it was then, Nick trusted his gut and left the New School and reevaluated his priorities. During this transitional period, Nick had done some work with the Sierra Club, effectively cementing his interest in policy. After making his way to Poultney, Nick began to appreciate the close-knit relationships that GMC has between its faculty and the student body.
“Coming from a larger school, I can tell you that it’s the most undervalued asset that the school has,” he says. Nick had also found a sense of academic rigor that he hadn’t seen anywhere else—rigor that was rooted not only in a cohesive class curriculum, but also service learning. Nick played a large role in constructing a solar-powered greenhouse on the farm, a project which has become part of the College’s research in extending the growing season in Vermont. He also plugged himself into the pre-law program, where he found GMC’s approach to be very compelling.
“We were actually thinking critically about law and taking the time to discuss, whereas in law school you’re pretty much just learning the law without making time to question it,” Nick says. All of Nick’s work paid off considerably, as he left GMC having won an esteemed Morris K. Udall Foundation scholarship two years in a row. The award is named after brothers Stewart and Morris Udall—Congressmen who championed environmental causes during their tenure.
By receiving the award, Nick has been welcomed into a network of like-minded students all over the country, whose academic interests all focus on conservation and other environmental efforts. “They flew all of the scholars over to Arizona to hang out and get to know each other… it was great fun,” he says. “It was extraordinarily humbling to receive the award and be a part of a group of people that I found so fascinating.”