Paddle Crew Alums

Since opening our door in 2005, we have had the pleasure of employing many wonderful folks to work with us — a majority being college students preparing to embark on their next journey through life. To celebrate these young people, we thought it would be interesting to showcase our “Paddle Alumni” on this page.



liz-perez-dancingTo say we miss Liz would be an understatement. Over the past ten years, we have witnessed Liz’s growth from an exceptional all-around student to a professional with a tremendous amount of integrity. She is full of life, extremely conscientious and caring of others. She is, and will always and always be, a very dear friend of ours. We love you, Liz Perez…

From Liz Perez:
As a former South Hero resident, I was first introduced to Mandy and Phoebe as a frequent Afternoonies customer. When I was old enough to apply for a job, these two women hired me shortly after the Blue Paddle Bistro opened in 2005. I first worked as a busser and eventually became a server. After I went off to college in 2006 I continued to work at the Blue Paddle for two summers. Six years later, I still visit every time I am back in Vermont. The bistro was and continues to be a huge part of my life. Mandy and Phoebe truly are like family and have always taken such wonderful care of me over the years. I deeply miss them both and am always looking forward to me next visit…


I graduated from Essex High School in 2006 and moved across the country to attend the University of California, Davis. While at UCD, I was Vice President of Delta Delta Delta (Mandy is a fellow TriDelt!), artistic director of a dance group, a tour guide, and an orientation leader.

During my junior year, I went on to spend three months in Washington, DC interning for Senator Bernie Sanders. It was during that time that I wrote an independent research project entitled: “Red, Blue or Purple: Are Independents Ever Truly Independent?” and presented it at two research conferences.

After graduating from UCD in 2010 with a double major in political science and history, I began a master’s degree program in political science at American University. I am currently a reading tutor for K-5 students at a DC public school.

This summer, I am interning in the Senate once again; this time for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee. As an education policy intern, I will be assisting the staff with the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind.

It is my hope to work in the DC public school system as a Teach for America corps member after my graduation in May of 2012.

Whatever Liz chooses to do ‘in life’, we know that she’ll do it with heart and grace. We’re proud of you, dear friend!




Our first “pick” is truly a Paddle favorite – Heidi Smith.

During her three summers serving as a server, Heidi gained the respect and admiration of her peers, as well as the love of many of our guests. We are so proud of Heidi and her endeavors. She truly is a special individual who will always remain our friend.

(We love and miss you, Heidi!)

From Heidi Smith:
I worked at the Blue Paddle Bistro for three wonderful summers. I enjoyed every minute being a part of such a wonderful food loving culture; the friends I made during this time have remained close and important to me throughout the years.

After graduating from Montana State University in the spring of 2009 I began graduate school the following fall. Currently I am enrolled as a graduate student in the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University researching how microbes adapt to life in extreme icy environments as well as the influence that microbes have on the synthesis of dissolved organic matter and carbon cycling.


My study site is in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. I spend three months there each year during the Austral summer conducting research and living in the field. My research is both exciting as well as rewarding as our plant faces an ever changing environment. The necessity to understand key governing process is a must. Growing up in such a beautiful and pristine place, such as Vermont has instilled the importance of science and the environment into my life.