Amber Rowley, a third-year psychology major at the University of Maine, has received the Laurence A. Jones Jr. scholarship for the past two years.
The scholarship was established in memory of Laurence A. Jones Jr., who graduated from UMaine with a psychology degree in 1992 and was killed while he was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. Jones’ mother created the scholarship to be awarded to students who demonstrate excellence in psychology.
In fall 2014, Rowley spoke at the annual memorial service to honor the life of Jones, which was held near the Laurence A. Jones Jr. memorial tree on campus.
During the event, Jeffery Mills, president and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation, said he hopes through Rowley’s studies and work in psychology, she will “continue on the living memory of Laurence.”
Rowley of Howland, Maine, also is pursuing a minor in sociology and expects to graduate in May 2016. Beyond academics, she is a supervisor at a clothing store in the Bangor Mall and is involved with her high school cheering squad. She helps the team prepare for upcoming competitions and even took classes to become a certified assistant coach.
Tell us about receiving the Laurence A. Jones Scholarship and speaking at the memorial ceremony
Receiving that scholarship — not once, but both years — was the most honorable thing I can say I’ve received since my time here at UMaine. Laurence’s story was so inspiring, and he had such big dreams. I was so honored and grateful to participate in the memorial ceremony and personally give my thanks to his mother and tell her how much he has inspired me. Laurence’s story will continue to be heard and he will continue to make a difference in people’s lives through this scholarship.
Why did you choose to study psychology?
I chose to study psychology because I find people to be so interesting. Everyone is so unique and has their own story. In high school I joined an extracurricular peer helpers group my sophomore year, and I absolutely loved it. You were encouraged to introduce yourself to people you’ve never really talked to before; be a first friend to a new student; or maybe let someone who seems distraught know that if they ever want to talk, you are there for them. It inspired me to want to be the best person I could be and to make a difference in someone’s life. After three years of studying it, I’ve never been more sure that this is what I want to do.
I chose UMaine because it has an amazing psychology degree program — one of the best in the state. It was close to home, and I grew up in a very small town, where some classes only had four people. Everyone knew everyone and I wanted something completely different. I love the large classrooms and the beautiful campus, the events that go on, and the energy that team UMaine brings. I love it here.
What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
I didn’t know a thing about college, or the outside world, or where to even start when it came to deciding what I wanted to do. The idea of the real world made me nervous. I came from a small school, graduating with a class of 50 people. UMaine has given me the chance to experience and learn things with a large group of people and get that feel of being surrounded by large crowds, which will be a benefit for me in the future.
Having to take gen-ed classes, I’ve been introduced to real-life topics that I would never have even thought about taking or had interest in taking if I had the choice. I didn’t realize how subjects that you would think to be completely different to your major, actually tie in with it.
I used to be the type of person that didn’t pay attention to the news and headlines, especially ones that had to do with other countries. But through every class I have learned so much and notice things that I never would have thought twice about. It’s just given me a whole new perspective on life and is eye opening to what is really happening in this world and the things that are being done about it.
By taking these classes and by taking a class in each psychology focus, I was able to narrow what I wanted to do with a psychology degree, bringing me one step closer to my goal. At the moment, I want to concentrate on abnormal/social psychology and see what my options are and go from there.
What’s your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus, I actually found out about by taking a peace studies class. The professor assigned us to go to the peace garden right across from the Collins Center for the Arts. I didn’t even know about that little hidden spot, but it’s beautiful.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation, I want to hopefully continue my education in grad school here at UMaine and eventually find my way to move toward a more urban area. I love big crowds and the city and hope to find somewhere in an area like that to pursue my career. I haven’t decided whether or not I want to leave the state, but I’m very open to expanding my horizons.
Mary Ellen Camire, University of Maine professor of food science and human nutrition, was quoted in a Shape magazine article about the health benefits of resistant starch. The starch is a carbohydrate with health benefits such as regulating blood sugar and acting as a probiotic, according to the article. Camire said resistant starch is a carbohydrate your body can’t digest, and it behaves a lot like fiber, helping food move through your system. Resistant starch can be found in cooked and cooled rice, pasta and potatoes, as well as in beans, legumes and lentils, the article states.
Edith Patch, a major figure in entomology at the University of Maine from 1904–37, was featured in an Entomology Today article on famous female entomologists. Patch was the first female president of the Entomological Society of America, was the head of the Entomology Department at UMaine and published several works including “Food Plant Catalogue of the Aphids of the World,” according to the article. “After being employed for more than 30 interesting and pleasant years as a research entomologist, I shall never discourage any capable young woman — with a real desire for the work — from preparing for it,” Patch had said.
Anne Miller, a doctoral student at the University of Maine who has been an English teacher, library/media specialist and literacy specialist, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” as part of the Maine Calling Book Club.
The University of Maine’s research and development spending for fiscal year 2013 was mentioned in the Mainebiz article, “As public funding for R&D slows, universities feel pinch.” University R&D spending increased by less than half a percent nationally in fiscal year 2013, according to National Science Foundation data. The University of Maine spent $77.58 million in FY2013, down from $92.14 million, and was ranked 161st nationally, according to the article. UMaine ranked 57th among all universities for money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture — at $4.66 million — that went to life sciences, engineering and environmental sciences. UMaine also was ranked 102nd in funding from the Department of Energy at $4.54 million, with funds going to engineering, life sciences and physical sciences. For involved personnel, UMaine had 1,782 people, with 347 of them being principal investigators, 25 post-doctoral students and the rest in the “others” category, the article states. The Portland Press Herald also ran the Mainebiz article.
Times Higher Education of London recently published the column, “The ABC of tolerance and the ‘alphabet community,’” by Deborah Rogers, an English professor at the University of Maine.
Connecting K–12 students in Maine and around the world with researchers in the field is the goal of a new program offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with support from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the Maine 4-H Foundation.
Follow a Researcher aims to give students a glimpse into a scientist’s world by providing live expedition updates and facilitating communication between the youth and scientist.
“Science isn’t just white lab coats and pouring things into beakers,” says Charles Rodda, a doctoral student at CCI and the program’s first researcher. In his case, science means putting on crampons, scaling glaciers and drilling ice cores in Peru and Tajikistan to conduct research focused on abrupt climate change.
In March, Rodda and fellow CCI graduate student Kit Hamley will travel to Peru to collect snow and ice from glaciers high in the Andes. During the summer, he will travel to Tajikistan to join an international team that will retrieve and research samples from the world’s largest nonpolar glacier.
While in the field, Rodda will interact with participating classrooms and students by sharing prerecorded weekly videos and live tweeting in response to questions.
“We’re interested to see what they’re interested in,” Rodda says. “We of course are focused on the science, but we’re hiking in some of the most beautiful regions on Earth.”
To interact with students, Rodda will use the inReach Explorer, a global satellite communicator created by Maine-based company DeLorme. The tool allows him to text or tweet directly to students from the glacier. It also will track his movements and generate an online map so students can follow his trek in nearly real time. To document his journey, Rodda also will take several cameras, including a GoPro; a solar panel and battery pack to charge electronics; an iPad; satellite receiver; and memory cards.
In advance of the weekly question-and-answer sessions, prerecorded videos of Rodda explaining aspects of the expedition and research will be released. The videos were created to spark discussion among students and are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.
Rodda, who has participated in several outreach events around the state as a UMaine Extension 4-H STEM Ambassador, says having a science-literate society is important and getting students interested at an early age is essential.
“I think that’s the time — middle and early high school — when students seem to decide if they’re going to be interested in science or not. There’s great research happening here at the University of Maine and we want to make sure students know about it,” he says.
Several schools from around Maine, as well as schools in Iowa, Ohio, Rhode Island and Connecticut have already signed on to take part in the program, which is funded by the Maine 4-H Foundation. Rodda and Hamley plan to visit participating Maine classrooms after they return from Peru in April.
In Peru, Rodda and Hamley will look at signals that have been captured in the ice during El Nino events, or warming in the waters of the equatorial Pacific. They hope to see what El Ninos look like in climate records to determine if those events may be a trigger that shifts the climate system in Central and South America from one phase to another. Rodda completed preliminary research in Peru in 2013.
This summer in Tajikistan, Rodda will work with researchers from around the world to drill a long core that will be split among teams from the University of Idaho, Japan, France, Germany and Austria who will study a variety of the core’s characteristics. Rodda will focus on the ice’s chemistry makeup while others will focus on topics including physical measurements or biological signals, he says.
In advance of Rodda’s Peru trip, youth in grades six through eight took part in a UMaine 4-H Science Saturday workshop where they were challenged with determining how to keep ice core samples frozen and intact for research. Students were given ice and materials and were tasked with designing a container that would keep ice frozen under a heat lamp for a specific amount of time.
In reality, Rodda says bringing ice cores home from Peru is more like “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.” It involves horseback riding, long car rides, even longer airplane rides, and a lot of dry and blue ice, which he describes as heavy-duty freezer packs.
“It’s a great way to get students on campus to sort of demystify the university and show them some of the cool stuff we do at the university and in the sciences,” Rodda says of 4-H Science Saturdays, which are offered by UMaine Extension.
“Follow a Researcher is part of a big effort to connect youth in Maine with current university students. It may be the first time a youth has contact with someone who is going to college, or their first connection to a university,” says Laura Wilson, a 4-H science professional with UMaine Extension. “STEM Ambassadors are working in areas all over the state, from an after-school program in Washburn to programs offered in urban areas of Lewiston and Portland.”
Organizers would like to continue Follow a Researcher after the pilot year, as well as expand it to other disciplines throughout the university.
“By connecting youth to campus, we may be inspiring them to explore higher education, and perhaps come to UMaine in the future,” Wilson says.
Teachers interested in following Rodda on his expeditions may call Jessica Brainerd at 800.287.0274 (in Maine), 581.3877; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More about Follow a Researcher is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on events held in Orono and Augusta in celebration of the University of Maine’s 150th anniversary as the state’s land grant university. Faculty, students and representatives from businesses that partner with UMaine had displays in the Hall of Flags in the State House while a proclamation declaring Feb. 24 as University of Maine Day was read. On that day in 1865, the Maine legislature passed a bill to create the state’s land grant university. UMaine President Susan Hunter spoke to WVII in Augusta about the university’s history and future, as well as planned events to mark the anniversary throughout the year. In Orono, the UMaine community marked the day with a birthday cake and the dedication of the Spirit Room, an exhibition paying tribute to the university’s mascot, Bananas. “The University of Maine is a place for all people of the state of Maine, people nationally and across the world. This is a place where difference matters and we’re making a difference so we’re very excited about it,” Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student life and dean of students, told WABI. The Augusta event also was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News political blog post.
Nancy McBrady, the new executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald about her position, as well as the important role played by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. McBrady, who is expected to help grow and advocate for Maine’s wild blueberry industry, will work closely with UMaine Extension on research and development issues, according to the article. “The University of Maine and the Cooperative Extension are the backbone” of what the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine does, providing an “invaluable service” in terms of scientific research, she said.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on a new project created by the University of Maine’s Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service. The Cohen Journal provides UMaine students and alumni the opportunity to publish original research in a peer-reviewed journal. It will also highlight and promote the student research found at Maine’s flagship university.