Seven teams of University of Maine Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) students will unveil their design challenge projects from 9 a.m. to noon on Maine Day, Wednesday, April 29, in Bennett Hall on campus.
Maine Day at the university is about providing service. And for MET students, it’s typically when they debut their senior capstone projects, which often are created to meet needs of people with challenges.
An 8-year-old girl from a local community will be particularly interested in the demonstrations. Not only will she select the winner, the project will benefit her. The girl, who was born without a left hand, will take home the design that best helps her play a Baroque soprano recorder.
Last summer, the girl’s music teacher proposed the project to UMaine MET personnel. The teacher wants the girl to be able to fully participate in music class.
Criteria for the device include that it allows the girl to use both arms in some way and play nine Baroque notes. It also needs to be able to be disinfected and continue to function as she grows. The girl needs to be able to put the discrete device together and take it apart. And, if possible, it should be her favorite color — purple.
For about six months, UMaine student teams have been brainstorming, building, testing and tweaking the devices. MET teaching assistant Emmett Hodder says the 50 participating seniors have become more knowledgeable about music and instruments, as well as better educated about the engineering design process.
“The ability to play music has been an inspiration for many throughout generations,” writes Team 4 scholars Gentry Burch of Owls Head, Maine; Corey Denis of Waterville, Maine; Justin Dobrovich of Kennebunk, Maine; Dylan Johnson of Bennington, N.H.; Brian Kearns of Eddington, Maine; Aaron Koss of Vermont; and Travis Sherman of Winthrop, Maine.
“Opportunities to assist someone in need and allow for their personal enjoyment is an inspiration to create the best product possible.”
Previous years’ MET projects have included a stair-climbing wheelchair and a human-powered watercraft for a person without arms.
The first portion of the design challenge begins at 9 a.m. Sessions run back-to-back, thus the end time could be between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Events will be in Room 137, Bennett Hall unless otherwise noted.
- Musical tone testing, Room 140, Bennett Hall
- Judging at team tables
- Case Race — Students will be timed removing the device from the case, assembling it, playing a note, disassembling it and returning it to the storage case.
- Cleaning demonstration — Teams will show how to maintain the device and give directions for disassembly and cleaning.
- Presentations — Each team will provide a 10-minute description about how it came up with the design and why it’s the best choice for the client.
- Musical competition — One member per team will play “Camptown Races” on a recorder equipped with his or her team’s respective design. This is the only event the audience will judge
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Stellar seniors — who come from throughout Maine, and Canada and Nepal — share their UMaine experiences. Learn about their research, community service and world travels, and their plans for the next chapter in their lives.
Outstanding Graduating International Student
College of Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Zoe Berkey of Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, majored in civil engineering. A midfielder on the UMaine field hockey team, her America East Conference honors include All-Academic Team since 2012. Most recently and for the fourth consecutive year, Berkey also was named to the National Academic Squad of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, Division I. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, Berkey worked as an engineering summer student in the municipal wastewater treatment plant of North Cowichan, Duncan, British Columbia. Her plans include pursuing a career in hydrology and environmental engineering.
Outstanding Graduating Student
Maine Business School
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting with an additional major in Finance
Katherine Bolster of Walpole, Maine, majored in accounting and finance. Bolster is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies, and served as a peer tutor. She is Bloomberg certified. Bolster has accepted an internship at State Street in Boston, Massachusetts, and ultimately plans to pursue certification as a public accountant.
Outstanding Graduating Student
College of Education and Human Development
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education
Samantha Dunton of Winterport, Maine, majored in elementary education and secondary education, with concentrations in science and mathematics, and a minor in French. She received a Galen Cole Family Foundation Scholarship and a Project Reach Endorsement to be certified to teach English as a Second Language. Last summer, Dunton served as an undergraduate research assistant for the Maine Physical Science Partnership, conducting research on problem solving in a college chemistry course. In 2012, she studied abroad at the University of Angers. She completed her student teaching at Dedham School and Hermon Middle School. Dunton was involved in the Student Education Association of Maine and worked in an after-school program in Bangor. In addition, for the past six years, Dunton has worked for Bangor Parks and Recreation as a coach, counselor and assistant supervisor. She plans to teach in Maine.
Outstanding Graduating Student
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Physics
Robert Fasano of Jefferson, Maine, majored in physics, with a minor in mathematics. His academic honors include a Theodore and Dorothy Whitehouse Scholarship, and a Creative and Academic Achievement Fellowship from the Center for Undergraduate Research. For the past two years, Fasano has been conducting research to develop a fast, flexible code to construct model galaxies in dynamical equilibrium — models that can be used in conjunction with N-body simulators to investigate galactic instabilities and dynamics over long time scales. Last summer, as part of a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Colorado, he developed a semiclassical model of cavity-assisted atom cooling for narrow line-width atoms, with the ultimate goal of harnessing synchronization of atoms as a new laser cooling technique. For the past two years, Fasano has been a Maine Learning Assistant and a member of UMaine’s Society of Physics Students, this year serving as president. He served as secretary of Black Bear Robotics and was a member of the design team for the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders, translating into Spanish a septic system operations and maintenance manual used in a rural Honduran community. In August, he will join the Optical Frequency Measurements Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, conducting research on cavity-stabilized laser systems for use in cutting-edge atomic clocks. This fall, he will enter the Ph.D. program in physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Outstanding Graduating Student
Division of Lifelong Learning
Bachelor of University Studies
Michael Munson of Hudson, Maine, majored in university studies and minored in Maine studies. After attending UMaine and earning professional certification at Eastern Maine Technical College in the early 1980s, Munson went on for licensing in the state of Maine in the oil and natural gas service fields. At UMaine, he pursued interdisciplinary coursework, with particular focus on Maine history, environmental and climate change, and respect for cultural diversity and preservation. He developed a series of experiential learning videos on reverence for life and cultures, veteran recovery programs and a living history trail of the 1775 Arnold mission to Quebec. The videos were created for nontraditional students who are challenged in making Maine’s often resource-based historical patterns relevant to their employment, education and community involvement.
Outstanding Graduating Student
College of Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Benjamin Pomeroy of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, majored in civil engineering. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international development studies from McGill University, which he earned in 2011. Pomeroy served as president of the UMaine chapter of Tau Beta Pi honor society, and since 2012, has been a member of Engineers Without Borders, which took UMaine student crews to Honduras for a wastewater treatment project and a clean water initiative in Ecuador. For two years, he worked for UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, first in lab research and design related to VolturnUS, UMaine’s 1:8 scale model floating wind turbine platform, and engineering design related to composite arch bridges. Last summer, he had a structural bridge design internship with HNTB Corporation in Westbrook, Maine. Pomeroy plans to pursue a career in structural bridge design in Maine.
Outstanding Graduating International Student
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
Riju Shrestha of Katmandu, Nepal, majored in biochemistry. She received the Frederick H. Radke Award and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Last summer, Shrestha received a research fellowship from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to serve as a research assistant at Bowdoin College, examining the impact of phenotypic and genotypic changes in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans during host adaptation. In the previous summers, and throughout the past academic year, Shrestha has been a research assistant at UMaine, analyzing host-pathogen interaction using zebrafish and Candida albicans, a commensal fungal organism that can cause severe infections in immunocompromised individuals. For the past three years, she has worked as a resident assistant on campus, and has been an active member of the International Student Association, South Asian Association of Maine, Partners for World Health and the UMaine chapter of the Maine Society for Microbiology. Shrestha plans to pursue a career in public health research.
Outstanding Graduating International Student
College of Education and Human Development
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Physical Education
Holly Stewart of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, majored in kinesiology and physical education, with a concentration in exercise science. Stewart, a forward on the UMaine field hockey team, received the 2014 “M” Club Dean Smith Award and was on the Gladiator National Academic Squad from 2011–13. She was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Region Team and the America East Conference First Team, both in 2013 and 2014. Stewart also was an SGI/NFHCA Division I Scholar of Distinction in 2013 and 2014. Last summer in Vancouver, she had a physical therapy internship at the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre and volunteered in a stroke rehabilitation class in the North Vancouver Community Recreation Centre. Stewart has been playing for Team Canada, and hopes to help the team qualify for the 2016 Olympics. She also plans to pursue graduate work in physical therapy.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
University of Maine associate professor Denise Skonberg and graduate student Dhriti Nayyar are working with a Bristol company to study the shelf life and nutritional values of aquacultured sea vegetable products.
Maine Fresh Sea Farms, a startup based on the Damariscotta River, is one of five Maine companies to share $471,571 in Value Added Producer Grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. The federal grants were awarded in August 2014 to preserve rural jobs at companies that process and add value to agricultural products.
Maine Fresh Sea Farms received $71,673 to help “study the feasibility of delivering fresh aquacultured sea vegetable products to the marketplace using agricultural produce and seafood distribution systems,” in addition to helping it create a business plan, the USDA said. The funds also will help the company retain 21 jobs and create 10 more over the next decade.
To study the products, the company turned to Skonberg, a professor of food science and human nutrition in the School of Food and Agriculture. Skonberg and Nayyar are collecting baseline data on the length of time several species of sea vegetables can be considered fresh while under refrigeration. They also are conducting basic nutritional analyses to help meet nutritional labeling requirements.
Skonberg anticipates the study will provide key information about the nutritional benefits and shelf-life stability of four varieties of sea vegetables that are farm raised in Maine.
“This information will help the newly developing seaweed industry in Maine with marketing their products, and will help them make decisions about how best to harvest, handle, process, store and distribute products to their customers,” Skonberg says. “The results will promote the production of locally sourced, high-quality and nutritious seaweed products from Maine and help in job creation along the coast.”
Throughout the yearlong project, the researchers will look at four species of freshly harvested aquacultured seaweeds — sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima), dulse (Palmaria palmata), Gracilaria, and winged kelp (Alaria) — grown on the company’s Clark Cove farm.
Basic nutritional analyses will be conducted on the raw sea vegetables on a wet weight basis — not dried — for use on nutrition labels. Samples of each species will be collected throughout the year during the time period that each would normally be available for harvest and sale. Using standard harvesting and handling procedures, Maine Fresh Sea Farms will transport the vegetables to UMaine where they will be refrigerated and then stored for up to 12 days, or until they are unfit for human consumption. Whole fronds along with a shredded seaweed salad version of three species — sugar kelp, winged kelp and dulse — will be periodically tested for quality.
Although some nutrient data already exist for dried sugar kelp and dulse, it has been shown that growing conditions, region, strain and time of harvest can affect the nutrient profile of sea vegetables, according to Skonberg. The sea vegetables will be assessed for basic nutrient composition — water, fat, protein, total minerals and carbohydrates.
The shelf-life studies will be conducted at two holding temperatures, one close to freezing at 35 F and another at 45 F, which is on the high end of normal holding temperatures.
The researchers will look at how each species performs at different temperatures and forms. Soluble protein content, which has been shown to be a good indicator of quality loss in fresh seaweed, will be monitored through protein analyses, Skonberg says.
An in-house sensory evaluation will be conducted by an experienced panel to assess quality deterioration of the whole fronds and seaweed salad. Panel members will rate aroma, texture, color and overall quality of the samples.
Nayyar has already conducted shelf-life studies on sugar kelp and dulse, and will be starting another shelf-life study on winged kelp this spring. The researchers have found that sensory evaluation, as well as instrumental color and texture were better indicators for assessing shelf life than microbial analyses.
The shelf life studies and basic nutritional analysis are expected to be completed in December 2015.
Maine Fresh Sea Farms also has worked with Maine Sea Grant, the Brawley Laboratory at UMaine, and the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research. One result of the collaborations is Sea Belt, a Scotch Ale brewed by Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast using dried sugar kelp grown at the Damariscotta River sea farm.
In addition to funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, Maine Fresh Sea Farms won a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration and has applied for a Phase II. The Maine Technology Institute has provided grant writing assistance and a Business Accelerator Grant.
Restaurants interested in the company’s fresh sea greens can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.944.7848. Maine Fresh Sea Farms also supplies wholesale dried sugar kelp; more information is available by emailing email@example.com.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Anne Lichtenwalner, a University of Maine professor, veterinarian and director of UMaine’s Animal Health Laboratory, was interviewed by the Bangor Daily News for the article, “Once shunned, eggs again deemed healthy convenience food.” “I’m a big supporter of eggs as an important part of good nutrition,” Lichtenwalner said. “Eggs are a quality food, [and] they have a lot of potential for enriching family life with kids learning a lot about nature being around the birds.” Lichtenwalner also spoke about how people can supply the protein-rich eggs for themselves and teach children about sustainability and where their food comes from.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the Maine Business School’s International Trade Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at the D.P. Corbett Business Building on campus. Fourteen teams, each with 10 students, will showcase their respective international trade exhibitions that promote doing business in Brazil, China, Japan, Argentina, Sweden, Ireland, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, France, Singapore and Austria. Area professionals will judge the exhibitions on content as well as overall appearance, creativity and appearance of effort.
Mainebiz reported funds for Blackstone Accelerates Growth, a $3 million initiative launched in 2011 by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, will run out this fall and won’t be renewed in the program’s current form. Blackstone Accelerates Growth is a partnership among the Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the Foster Center for Student Innovation at the University of Maine. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is reengineering its giving, so the Maine partners will focus on other ways to get money, including from the foundation, according to the report. Blackstone Accelerates Growth has helped expand the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s Top Gun program, create the Accelerated Ventures program, the Foster Center’s Innovate for Maine Fellows program and Maine Startup and Create Week, which debuted last year, the article states. The effort also set up innovation hubs in Portland and Bangor.
The College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture has presented its 2015 top student and faculty awards:
Undergraduate Awards: Stephanie Wood, Wallace C. and Janet S. Dunham Prize; Riju Shrestha, Outstanding International Student; and Gwendolyn Beacham, Frank B. and Charles S. Bickford Memorial Prize.
Graduate Awards: Kaitlyn O’Donnell, Norris Charles Clements Graduate Student Award; Noah Oppenheim, George F. Dow Graduate Scholarship Award; Daniel Stich, Fred Griffee Memorial Award; David Carter, Outstanding Master’s Degree Student Award; Nadir Yildirim, Edith M. Patch Outstanding Ph.D. Award; Skylar Bayer, Outstanding Service Award; Jie Cao, Graduate Research Excellence Award; and Jessica LeBlanc, Jean A. and David A. Webb Professional Master’s Award.
Faculty Awards: Seanna Annis, professor of mycology, Outstanding Public Service Award; Emmanuel Boss, professor of oceanography, Outstanding Research Award; and Brian Olsen, professor of biology and ecology, Outstanding Teaching Award.
The University of Maine softball team will host a Friends of Jaclyn Day at its noon game Saturday, April 25, with the University of Hartford, at Kessock Field.
The FOJ Foundation, based in Cortlandt Manor, New York, works to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers, as well as to improve the quality of life of the children’s family members. The foundation pairs youth with athletic teams from around the country that provide them with love, support and friendship.
Sisters Kylee and Jordan, whose brother Tripp is battling a brain tumor, are special members of the Black Bear squad. The family will be at Saturday’s noon game and has been invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Saving Endangered Native Languages” is the theme of the spring 2015 University of Maine Humanities Symposium April 24–25.
Language activists and tribal representatives from native communities in the northeastern United States and Canada along with university partners will discuss the challenges and opportunities for language revitalization during the two-day event on campus.
Jessie Little Doe Baird, a MacArthur Fellow and linguist known for her efforts to revive a native language through the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. Friday in 107 D.P. Corbett Business Building.
On Saturday, the event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Bodwell Lounge of the Collins Center for the Arts. The day will include panel discussions on topics including curriculum development and intellectual property; celebrations of native languages; and recognition of those who have kept languages alive.
The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by a grant from the University of Maine Humanities Center. Refreshments will be provided.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Bethany Haverlock at 581.1417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maine athletic training major Alicia Valente of New Gloucester, Maine will represent the New England Region at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Quiz Bowl in St. Louis, Missouri on June 25.
Valente will compete against nine other teams of three, each representing a district of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. New England makes up District 1. Contest questions include topics such as anatomy, treatment of injuries, athletic training history, preventative care and diagnosis, Valente says.
“The quiz bowl is an important way to represent our districts, as well as our states and programs. It’s a fun way to display the education we’re receiving,” Valente says, adding teams that finish in the top three receive money for their school’s athletic training program or club.
Valente earned her spot in the national Jeopardy-style competition after participating in a regional contest during the 2015 Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Convention at the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Conference in Philadelphia. She competed against undergraduate and entry-level graduate students from several institutions including Springfield College and the University of Vermont. Valente came in second place in the regional contest.
This was the senior’s second year competing in the regional quiz bowl, and will be her first time competing nationally.
“Having been a part of it last year made me confident that I had a good shot at placing this year.” Valente says. “I made sure I went into it less nervous than last year and just answered everything to the best of my ability. The other students who came to the conference with me were so supportive and it helped to see them cheering for me in the crowd.
What are you most looking forward to about the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Quiz Bowl?
I always like meeting students from other programs and other parts of the country.
Why did you choose to study athletic training?
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, but wasn’t sure what. I spent some time researching the nursing program here when I was a freshman, but decided that wasn’t for me. Athletic training combines my interest in sport with my interest in medicine and the human body into one major and career.
For me, UMaine is perfect because it’s affordable, diverse and only a few hours from home.
Describe the hands-on training you’ve received while at UMaine:
Athletic training students at UMaine complete four clinical rotations during our second and third year. We work with an athletic trainer at either UMaine, Husson University, Bangor High School or Orono High School. We assist the athletic trainer with their job as much as we can, depending on how much we’ve learned at the time. We work with the athletes under their supervision, practice skills with them, and learn from them.
My second year at UMaine I was with UMaine field hockey, UMaine men’s basketball, UMaine women’s ice hockey, and UMaine spring football. My third year, I covered Husson fall sports and UMaine baseball. This past fall I completed a 50-hour general medical observation rotation at Cutler Health Center.
Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
Sherrie Weeks and Chris Nightingale are the core athletic training professors who I’ve worked closely with. Our program is small but very tough. I thank them for making the program so competitive; it’s made me grow tremendously over the past four years. With my class being so small, we’ve basically become family and I wouldn’t have made it without them.
Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupy your time?
I enjoy spending time with friends and family, going to camp, going to the beach, and exercising.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Get a job and work while planning to continue with more school in the future.
What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has given me the opportunity to work with a variety of different athletes from Division I and Division III, which has made me a well-rounded athletic training student. UMaine also has helped fund some of our Athletic Training Student Organization’s trips to conferences in order to learn, network, represent UMaine, and of course, compete in quiz bowls. The sense of community at UMaine is outstanding. I always feel supported and love being a part of UMaine.
Engadget published the article, “UMaine’s clean snowmobile runs on (a lot of) natural gas,” about a machine customized by University of Maine mechanical engineering students. The students say the snowmobile is the only natural gas-powered snowmobile in the U.S., according to the article. The Arctic Cat XF1100 was customized by the students to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which was founded to create machines capable of running in Yellowstone National Park where rules about noise and emissions keep gas snowmobiles out, the article states.
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about how the colder-than-average winter is playing a role in higher lobster prices. The current wholesale market price of lobster is up to an average of $9 a pound, according to the report. While the past winter did not decrease lobster populations, it chilled the water long enough to keep the crustaceans in one place, the report states. According to UMaine biologists, when the water is below 40 degrees, the lobsters don’t move around as much and are less interested in finding food, including the bait inside lobster traps. “Prices are higher because there aren’t as many lobsters available and demand is strong,” Bayer said, adding the cold water may help decrease the invasive green crab population.
Students and faculty from the University of Maine College of Engineering will take part in The Challenger Learning Center of Maine’s “Space Day” celebration during its sixth annual open house on April 29 in Bangor. Researchers from UMaine’s Wireless Sensing Laboratory (WiSe-Net Lab), directed by electrical and computer engineering professor Ali Abedi, will provide demonstrations throughout the free, public event, according to the article.
WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond will host Camp North Woods, an opportunity created by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The camp, which was established to build upon the popularity of the Animal Planet show “North Woods Law,” aims to provide opportunities for youth and their families to learn outdoor skills and the importance of sustaining Maine’s natural resources, the report states.
The Bangor Public Library will host an event to introduce letters and photos related to a German politician and diplomat from 5–7:30 p.m. Monday, May 4.
At the end of World War II, an American soldier found a box of letters and photos belonging to the family of Franz von Papen. In 2013, the box was donated to the Bangor Public Library. Among the collection of letters are those written by von Papen to his wife while he was German military attaché to America in 1914–1915, and others to his son during the 1930s and 1940s.
At the presentation, UMaine professor emeritus of history Richard Blanke will place the material in the letters as well as von Papen’s importance into historic context. German instructor Anette Ruppel Rodrigues will comment on the relationship between the couple gleaned from the letters. She also will speak about the multilingual ability of the von Papens. Justus Hillebrand, a UMaine Ph.D. student in history and research team volunteer, will speak on the difficulties of reading old manuscripts, as well as provide insight into German daily life during World War II based on the letters from the early 1940s.
The event is free and open to the public.
The research project, “Historic Franz von Papen Correspondence,” was funded by the University of Maine Humanities Center through the Public Humanities Grant. The Bangor Public Library is a partnering institution with the grant.
Alan Langille, who joined the University of Maine’s Plant and Soil Sciences Department as an assistant professor in 1967, passed away April 19, 2015. Langille spent 39 years at UMaine, retiring in 2006. During the last decade of his career, he taught and developed a field research program in turfgrass science, establishing UMaine as an official site for the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, according to his obituary. Langille was 77. His obituary is online.
Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald titled “Timely graduation could help cut UMaine student debt.” Hecker cited recent findings that show the amount of debt students accumulate while earning a bachelor’s degree depends on how long they are in school. The average student debt for Maine residents who complete their UMaine degree in four years is $22,101. The debt rises to $33,482 for those who take six years to graduate, according to Hecker. “The implications of these findings are obvious: If we can help students complete their degrees in a timely fashion, we can cut costs significantly,” Hecker writes, citing the Provost’s Action Plan for Retention and Graduation, which includes steps UMaine is taking to improve student retention and graduation.
Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute (CCI) at the University of Maine, gave the keynote address at the seventh annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference in Augusta, according to media reports. The two-day event focuses on climate change implications for the state. The Kennebec Journal covered Mayewski’s talk that focused on the need for local communities to be better prepared for different types of emergencies as expected increases in temperature, sea level and rainfall continue. Mayewski said the CCI is developing a framework to help communities, the state and others plan for the effects of climate change, the KJ reported. The Portland Press Herald also published the KJ article. The Associated Press previewed the conference and Mayewski’s talk. Sun Journal, SFGate and WLBZ (Channel 2) carried the AP report.
Vivian Wu, a professor of microbiology and food safety in the School of Food and Agriculture, spoke with Food Safety News about her latest research. Wu recently received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve processing technologies to enhance the safety and quality of fresh produce and low-moisture foods, such as raw grains, spices, seeds and nuts, without using heat. “Heat is a very effective way to control microbial contamination, but there are food products that heat just doesn’t work that well,” Wu said, mentioning foods such as produce and grains. “We want to develop nonthermal processing techniques to maintain the safety of produce and low-moisture food.” This year, Wu will receive $900,000 of the $4.9 million for the first year of the five-year interdisciplinary project, which will be a joint research collaboration between UMaine and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Eastern Regional Research Center, Virginia Tech, University of Delaware and Ohio State University, the article states.
ARTnews and Artforum reported Jon Ippolito, a new media professor at the University of Maine, has received a new prize for writers who concentrate on covering digital art. The Thoma Foundation, a foundation established by Carl and Marilynn Thoma, created the Thoma Foundation Arts Writing Fellowship Award to acknowledge those “who have contributed significantly to the field of writing in the digital arts,” according to Artforum. Ippolito received the $30,000 award for being an established arts writer, while Joanne McNeil, a freelance New York City writer, received $15,000 in the emerging arts writer category.