As many of you already know, Dr. Buckley will sadly be leaving Belmont Hill at the conclusion of this academic year. Even prior to her arrival on the Hill, Dr. Buckley had already accomplished so much. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, where she concentrated in International Relations, she traveled across the country to Stanford. There, she earned her Ph.D. in Political Science, focusing on American History. While in graduate school, Dr. Buckley taught at both Harvard and Stanford. Apart from academia, Dr. Buckley also spent her summers as a Whitewater River Guide in Colorado, Idaho, and Utah. After acquiring her doctorate, Dr. Buckley worked as a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont. Following this, she published academic papers and co-authored a textbook. In 2009, Dr. Buckley decided to veer her career towards the molding of young minds and, accordingly, accepted a job at Belmont Hill.
Across her ten-year tenure at Belmont Hill, Dr. Buckley had a profound impact on numerous aspects of the school. Head of the History department for three years, she helped shape our history curriculum and design new courses. In April of 2018, Dr. Buckley was honored as the first recipient of the Centennial Chair in History. Dr. Buckley taught a plethora of courses in her tenure: American Government (Form II), World Issues/Middle East and China (Form III), US History (Form V), APUS History (Form V), Politics Internship Program (Form VI), American Politics & Policy (Form VI), International Relations (Form VI), Energy: Geopolitics & Science of Fossil Fuels & Renewables (Form VI), & The American West (Form VI). Although on paper her teaching impact is palpable, her influence on these courses is much more. For US History, she transformed the curriculum from one of rogue memorization to inquiry-based, enhancing the intrigue of the course immensely. For each of the senior electives which she taught, Dr. Buckley crafted the curriculum herself, which took many hours and much trial and error. Dr. Buckley also switched up the syllabi every year to keep the courses interesting for herself!
Speaking on Dr. Buckley’s effect, current Senior Thomas McEvoy states, “Dr. Buckley was instrumental in helping me to discover my passion for American history and political science. I’m forever grateful for the time and energy she invested in me as a student. Her classes were among the most engaging and rewarding I’ve ever taken, and I’ll miss that same lively yet focused atmosphere!” Profoundly influencing the school’s impact on the world outside of campus and opportunities for students, Dr. Buckley established the Politics Internship Program for seniors. In this program, students spend one day per week working on the frontlines of electoral or policy process. These internships can include working for Governor Baker or State Representative Linsky in State House offices or in US Congress District Offices for Representative Kennedy or Clark, aiding a campaign or consulting politically. These opportunities are one of a kind and not offered in many other places. Without Dr. Buckley, this program would never have come into existence. Asked for her favorite memory on campus, Dr. Buckley was unable to choose one as all her moments on campus were so special to her. Speaking of her time on campus, she affirmed, “I have loved every minute of my ten years at Belmont Hill. I had the opportunity to work with the very best colleagues and I will miss all my students dearly.”
As she departs the Hill, Dr. Buckley will start a new and interesting chapter in her life. Familiar with designing programs, Dr. Buckley will create and lead a policy institute situated out west in Crested Butte, Colorado. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, she will work on non-partisan policy solutions to controversial issues that plague the American West. Merging two distinct worlds, the Crested Butte Institute will bring together an interest of the energy industry with interests of land users and conservationists. The energy industry consists of oil, gas, coal, and renewables, such as wind and solar. The people who use the land include ranchers, farmers, indoor and outdoor ski industry, environmentalists, and homeowners. Having always been interested in “depoliticizing issues to focus on interest-based solutions,” Dr. Buckley crafted the Crested Butte Institute in order to accomplish this goal. Finding common ground between the multiple parties with distinct interests, the institute aims to build policies from the ground up, in a bipartisan manner. When not building and leading this institute, Dr. Buckley plans to traverse the Great Outdoors. Some activities she looks forward to include fly fishing, mountain biking, skiing, and a return to her beloved whitewater rafting. Overall, while it is sad to see her go, we all wish Dr. Buckley the best of luck in her future endeavors and thank her for her tremendous impact on the school.