"I have always loved science and teaching. They both keep me young."

Paula Fives-Taylor
South Burlington, Vermont


Paula grew up in Brooklyn, joined the Dominican Sisters convent and taught science for 16 years.  She helped develop the science curriculum for New York City and then left the convent and got married.  She later went on to earn her PhD at the University of Vermont Medical School where she became a full professor and researcher.  Paula earned many honors for her teaching and research prowess includes the Kidder Award for most outstanding faculty member.  Her specialties were microbiology and molecular genetics, where her research with how bacteria attach to surfaces earned her great recognition within the scientific and medical communities.  After an illustrious career, Paula retired four years ago.  Her sister, Fredrica Garvey, will join her on the cruise.

Paula now dedicates most of her energy and considerable talents to hospice care, dealing with end of life support for patients.  Their philosophy is that dying is just the other end of being born and that people have the right to live well until the very end.  Paula works with the non-profit, home health and hospice Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties in many capacities, making sure her patients are as comfortable as possible every step of the way.  She has individual clients and stays with them until the end, ensuring their comfort, sitting vigils with other volunteers by the patient’s side when they are near death, and bringing comfort to the patient’s family.  Twice a year, Paula teaches in the 11-week course that all volunteers must go through before working with patients.   Since much of the hospice work is supported by the government, you’ll often find Paula at the computer entering data and preparing required reports.

The Visiting Nurse Association and hospice volunteers do their work at the patient’s home, in assisted living facilities, and in hospitals, although as Paula says: “I always prefer to provide hospice care in a patient’s home.  It’s much more comforting for the patients and their loved ones, and the whole process of hospice care eases things for everybody involved.”