The Bangor Daily News, WVII (Channel 7) and the Penobscot Bay Pilot reported University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone will appear on the Sept. 16 episode of Katie Couric’s talk show. In August, Blackstone traveled to New York City to talk to Couric about her expertise — both personal and through research — on childfree adults.
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Morning Sentinel about the growth of agriculture in Maine for an article on the Good Will-Hinckley charter school’s latest project to reflect on its agricultural mission. Rebar said there is a growing interest in agriculture among young people and there is a need for agriculture education. He says programs such as those offered at the charter school in Hinckley will help students look at farming as a potential career.
A Scientific American article titled “The mind-boggling math of migratory beekeeping” cites research conducted by Frank Drummond, a University of Maine entomologist and blueberry pollination expert, and his colleagues. Drummond’s research, which was conducted among flowering blueberry bushes, determined a honey bee forages for four hours and visits an average of 1,200 flowers a day.
University of Maine sociologist Kyriacos Markides appeared on the July 2 episode of “Elita,” a 90-minute call-in talk show that airs on the national television station of Cyprus. Markides was the only guest on the live show. He was also interviewed by journalist Antigone Drousiotis for Phileleftheros, the leading newspaper of Cyprus, for an article that has yet to be published.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about the state’s apple crop for the latest post of the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Moran said this year’s crop is larger than last year’s because the weather during bloom was favorable for pollination. She added that orchards in northern Maine have a lighter crop than southern Maine orchards from poorer pollination weather.
University of Maine students talked to WLBZ (Channel 2) about their excitement for the upcoming home opener football game Saturday between the Black Bears and Bryant University.
The Maine Edge previewed the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority’s fourth annual car show to be held on the University of Maine campus Saturday, Sept. 21. All proceeds from the show will benefit The Arthritis Foundation.
A free bus ride from the University of Maine campus to Bangor will be offered to students Friday, Sept. 13 to attend the fall Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative Art Walk.
A Cyr Bus will be available to board in front of the Collins Center for the Arts on campus at 4:30 p.m. Students will arrive at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor around 5:15 p.m. for a reception, orientation and welcome from Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.
The students will then get the chance to explore the museum, art studios, shops and restaurants in downtown Bangor before a 6:30 p.m. dessert reception and overview from Director and Curator George Kinghorn at the University of Maine Museum of Art.
The bus will be available to board at 7:15 p.m. in the Harlow Street parking lot outside the upper-level of the UMMA, or nearby as street parking permits, and will leave Bangor at 7:30 p.m. to return to campus.
The trip is being organized by Liam Riordan, a University of Maine Humanities Initiative Advisory Board member and associate professor of history, and is made possible by campus funds provided by Robert Dana, vice president of student affairs.
To reserve a bus seat or to request disability accommodations, contact John Mascetta, advising center coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 207.581.1957 or email@example.com.
The Bangor Daily News, Boston.com and Portland Press Herald were among several news organizations to report on Steve Abbott’s announcement that he will leave the position of University of Maine athletic director this fall after three years of service. Abbott said he will return to serve as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. WVII (Channel 7), WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) also carried reports.
Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for an article on Maine’s aging population and the possible negative effects it has on the state’s economy. Hecker spoke about the opportunity to harness the older population’s brain power as the enrollment of traditional students declines by looking at the group’s educational needs and making them accessible.
The Maine Edge reported the University of Maine Counseling Center will host an Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk Sunday, Sept. 29 in Orono as part of the group’s ongoing efforts to raise suicide awareness.
Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting article that stated the University of Maine System paid former University of Southern Maine president Selma Botman $363,000 for a five-year plan for recruiting international students. The Forecaster, Portland Press Herald, Sun Journal and Bangor Daily News were among news organizations to carry the report.
The University of Maine’s trail system was mentioned in a Maine Edge article on trail systems in the Bangor area that offer opportunities for day hikes.
University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone shares her expertise about childfree adults with Katie Couric on an upcoming broadcast of Katie.
Blackstone says producers of the talk show are 99 percent sure the show will air Sept. 16.
The associate professor and chair of UMaine’s sociology department says it was rewarding to discuss sociological research on a national stage.
“I hope the show will help dispel the myths that continue to pervade when it comes to perceptions of the childfree,” says Blackstone, who was a guest on the show taped Aug. 27 in front of an audience at ABC’s TV1 Studio in New York City.
“Two of the biggest misperceptions of the childfree are that they are selfish and that they die lonely and miserable. The research shows that neither stereotype is true. I was grateful for the chance to describe that work.”
And having the opportunity to describe research during an interview with a role model was “truly the experience of a lifetime,” Blackstone says.
“I came into adulthood watching and admiring Katie on the Today Show,” Blackstone says. “She was truly one of my idols as a young woman in my 20s looking for models of how I’d like to be professionally. I’m still a little stunned when I think about the fact that I not only got to meet someone I admire — I got to be interviewed by her.”
Blackstone says Couric asked about the supposed “mom gene.”
“What I appreciated … was the chance to discuss research showing that while the desire to nurture kids once women have them may be genetic, there’s very little scientific evidence to suggest that we have an instinctual drive to have kids,” Blackstone says. “The key force behind the desire to have kids is socialization. Children are taught from a very young age that one of the most important things they can do when they grow up is become parents. Girls in particular are taught both that they are natural caretakers and that their primary role — and primary aspiration — should be to become a mother.”
Two childfree couples and Lauren Sandler, author of the August TIME Magazine article “The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children,” are other guests on the show. Blackstone also met fellow childfree blogger Piper Hoffman and Madeline Lane, founder of ChildfreeNYC, a group of childfree-by-choice people in Manhattan, at the taping.
Blackstone describes her experience on Katie in her blog, werenothavingababy.com/childfree/chatting-katie.
The second season of Katie started Sept. 9. The show airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on WLBZ 2 in Bangor and WCSH 6 in Portland-Auburn. Couric co-anchored the TODAY Show for 15 years and anchored and was managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric for six years.
On a sunny July day, Jeffrey Dubois hops into a boat at the dock of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole. Wearing a blaze orange life vest, cargo shorts, T-shirt and a baseball cap, he starts the motor and heads out to the right side of the pier. He steers the boat toward one of four trapping stations he has set up along the shore in the Damariscotta River estuary. Accompanied by a fellow researcher, he hauls a trap from about 5 meters below the surface and finds it’s full of crabs.
Over the course of three days, Dubois will catch about 1,500 green crabs and between 100–200 rock crabs, also known as the commercially harvestable Jonah crab. He throws all them back. But before returning the green crabs to the sea, he measures characteristics such as abundance, species composition, size and sex in an effort to learn more about the invasive species he refers to as “feisty little tanks” and “voracious predators.”
Dubois, a senior from Norway, Maine, who is majoring in marine science with a concentration in marine biology, is trying to determine the most effective and efficient way to trap green crabs in the Gulf of Maine. He hopes information he gathers will help him and other researchers determine how green crab abundances alter with temperature changes and how to create a market for the plentiful creatures.
The green crab came to the Gulf of Maine from Europe in the mid-1800s. In the 1950s, the population exploded in the Gulf’s intertidal zones, causing declines in the state’s soft-shell clam industry, according to Dubois.
“The Gulf of Maine has no natural intertidal species of crab,” Dubois says. “As a result, they have been quite detrimental to our soft-shell clam industry, which developed without having a natural predator.”
The population increase in the 1950s was related to a rise in ocean temperature, and since the Gulf of Maine has been warming over the past few years, green crabs are starting to peak again, Dubois says.
Dubois says green crabs are a thermally regulated invader, meaning as the water gets warmer they thrive, and as the water gets colder they die in mass quantities.
“Our best bet is to chill down the Gulf of Maine, but with this whole idea of climate change, it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon,” he says.
The green crab is also one of the fastest species of crabs, according to Dubois. He says the larger they get, the more they can travel and the more they can eat. Although the crabs prefer a cobblestone habitat, mudflats can become accessible to the larger crabs, putting the soft-shell clams at risk.
“There’s not a lot that eats the green crabs,” Dubois says. “They’re very voracious, they eat a lot. Pretty much if there’s food out there, they’re going to find it, and as a result they’ve become quite a problem.”
There currently isn’t a market for green crabs, and Dubois thinks its mainly due to the crab’s small size — with the largest one he has seen coming in at 8.4 cm wide — and because they’re usually not found any deeper than 5 meters.
“The best thing we can do is open a market for them and just hope something fishes them all out,” he says.
Other researchers at UMaine are looking into ways to make green crabs commercially harvestable by incorporating them into fish food.
Dubois, who is collecting data until the end of the summer, is trying to find the best way to catch green crabs before moving onto more research where trapping will be used for sampling.
He is currently comparing two different baits — herring, a traditional lobster bait, and soft-shell clams — as well as two different types of traps. Dubois is using the Acer trap, a cylindrical trap designed by researchers to catch green crabs, and shrimp traps donated by a local fisherman. The shrimp traps are similar to a trap the Maine Department of Marine Resources used in the 1950s and ’60s to measure green crab abundances, Dubois says.
“What I’ve basically done is created a Punnett square,” Dubois says. “My hope is that I can figure out which bait catches the most amount of green crabs per trap.”
Although the Acer traps are designed for catching green crabs, Dubois is hopeful the shrimp traps and less expensive herring will prove to be an affordable option, by using equipment a lot of shrimp fishermen already have.
“Shrimping only happens in the winter, so there are a lot of shrimp traps out there that aren’t used during the summertime,” Dubois says. “If we were to open a market and the shrimp traps were effective in catching green crabs, people could fish for shrimp in the winter and fish for green crab in the summer.”
Dubois originally wanted to study the Asian shore crab, a more recent invasive species, but once he started researching at the center, he learned they hadn’t made it that far into the Gulf of Maine.
He then began looking for green crab studies and found a project being led by Brian Beal, a marine ecology professor at the University of Maine at Machias, that focuses on measuring abundances over a few sites in Maine. With the help of his capstone adviser, marine science professor Bob Steneck, Dubois got involved with Beal and his research.
“Once I can figure out how to best capture green crabs, the doors that open for my research are almost infinite,” Dubois says. “Eventually, once Asian shore crabs make it up here, I want to see which one is the better invader.”
After earning his undergraduate degree, Dubois plans to attend graduate school to earn his master’s — possibly in coral reef ecology, following in the footsteps of Steneck — and eventually get a Ph.D.
“I don’t want to get my Ph.D. yet because I can get it at any point in my life. I only have a youthful body until I’m — oh, I don’t know — 40 or 45,” Dubois says.
In the near future, Dubois hopes to continue to conduct research, enter the workforce and start making connections.
Dubois recalls wanting to be a marine biologist in elementary school, but let that dream fade in his pursuit to become a doctor.
“I went into college with biochemistry and a minor in pre-med and I was gung-ho that I was going to be a doctor,” Dubois says. “I’m first generation to go to college, so why not become a doctor? Go big or go home, right?”
After his third semester in the program, Dubois, who became a CNA at age 16 and started working in a hospital at 18, decided being a doctor wasn’t what he wanted.
“I remembered seeing a poster for the Darling Marine Center’s Semester by the Sea my freshman year in my Biology 100 class, and I thought ‘Wow, that would be so cool to be able to do that.’ And two years later I decided to switch to marine science. It was a shot in the dark, something I wasn’t really sure of, but I haven’t looked back since,” Dubois says.
Dubois, who has a full-time job at Maine Kayak and recently picked up a second job at Glidden Point Oyster Farm, says finding time to do research on top of working seven days a week can be challenging, but it’s worth it. He sees the study as a great opportunity to learn valuable research skills, such as “being able to roll with the punches” when it comes to science and enjoys studying at the center.
“This is anywhere and everywhere that I’d want to be and now I’m doing that Semester by the Sea program that I saw on that poster freshman year,” Dubois says. “It’s kind of like you gotta see what you want, then you’ve gotta take it.”
Wendelin Choiniere of Brunswick, Maine, was one of 28 female college students to participate in the 2013 Maine NEW Leadership program at the University of Maine.
The free, six-day, public leadership training program aims to strengthen leadership skills, teach how to network and encourage running for public office. During the session, students visited the Statehouse in Augusta and Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, and participated in workshops hosted by guests including state politicians, public leaders and members of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and UMaine faculty.
Choiniere, who will earn an associate degree in liberal studies from Southern Maine Community College this summer, plans to continue her education in the fall at UMaine’s Brunswick Engineering program, specializing in either biomedical or renewable energy.
How did you learn about the Maine NEW Leadership program? Why did you decide to participate?
I saw a flier in the Southern Maine Community College lobby and read a short description. After jotting down the website, I researched the opportunity to figure out if it was right for me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was, but I sent in my application anyway. I trusted that if it was meant to be, the opportunity would materialize. Plus, I had the mentality that I would apply every year until they let me in. I applied and participated in the hope that I would learn new skills to allow me to be of greater service to my college and community.
What did you learn from the experience?
My eyes were opened wide to women’s issues. That may seem silly since I am a woman going into engineering — a career where women are notoriously underrepresented and underpaid — but I had no idea the depth of the issues, let alone the confidence to embrace the strength that comes from being a woman.
Before the conference, I thought the way to “get ahead” was to act like a man. The conference not only reiterated the need for community leaders, but also enlightened me to the skills that women leaders like myself bring to the table; traits such as compassion, communication and a natural instinct toward caring. Women innately understand the need for access to child care, education and health care.
Do you plan to participate in the program again? Why or why not?
My participation outside the conference week has already begun. A handful of women and I are part of a committee to organize an alumnae dinner. Just as I plan to be of service to my hometown and college, I plan to fully be of service to the NEW Leadership institute.
What makes this program important?
The NEW Leadership program plays an important role in strengthening our nation’s future. It is vital that women continue to represent — and grow in their representation — as leaders in businesses, organizations and governments.
NEW Leadership permeated me with strength and encouragement to seek such a role for myself whether it is within college, the workplace or Statehouse.
What was your favorite part of the conference?
Going to the Statehouse.
I was unaware that any Maine resident can walk into the Senate and House to watch while they are in session. The most enchanting part of it was the legislative bill on the docket when we walked into the Senate session. They were voting on an amendment to the child care subsidy program, which has been instrumental in allowing my husband and I to return to college to secure engineering degrees as student parents. The Senate was voting on a small change to the program.
As the Senate light board lit with yays or nays I was intently watching. The bill, which did pass, didn’t greatly alter our standing in the program but it was amazing to see the room at work and to know the senators’ votes trickle down to affect every citizen in some form or another.
That day, as I sat in the Senate, their vote had the potential to affect me. I understood that before, but the experience that day brought it to life.
What are your plans for after graduation?
This coming academic year, I am focusing on starting my engineering degree. I am dedicated to continuing through to a master’s degree, but where and in what, I am unsure.
The conference has put policymaking on my radar. I am interested to see a junction between an engineering background and energy policy; I definitely see one in advocating for STEM education policy.
Tell us about the scholarly pursuits you are involved in:
I am a member of the MidCoast Campus Club, MidCoast Technology Speaker Series Committee and NEW Leadership Alumnae Dinner Committee; staff assistant in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership; and peer tutor in math and writing.
The midcoast campus I attend is rife with opportunity. It is located on the former Naval Air Base in Brunswick. When the base was decommissioned it transferred five buildings to Southern Maine Community College to open a new campus, which would house a premier composites program as well as the UMaine engineering program.
When I started attending classes, there were no student activities, organizations or work study positions available. I began to volunteer my time to be a visible presence on campus with a focus on encouraging extracurricular involvement.
Once I put myself out there, I quickly found other students who were as motivated as I was. We formed a student organization called the MidCoast Campus Club with the mission to bring student activities to campus.
Not long after I began my volunteer involvement, I was offered two work study jobs, one in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, and the other as a peer tutor.
Persistence can pay in the field you’re passionate for. I was told there would be no student work available but I wasn’t deterred from the purpose I believed in.
Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupy your time?
Children and yoga.
For me, academics, work and extracurricular come second to the biggest role of my life — being a mother. My husband, who is also an engineering student, and I adore our two children; Mason who is 3, and Madison who is 1.
It is said that life is a balancing act, as if all parts must remain equal, but I find this untrue in my experience as a mother. My family is the largest part of my life. So, when I spend time outside my home, I spend it doing things that enrich me as an individual and makes me stronger as a mother.
Affordable access to child care has been a blessing that has allowed me to have a full life with a mix of academics, work and time at home.
Being a student, parent and employee can come with its challenges, and to round it out, I did work exchange at a local yoga studio for the last year. I would clean the studio once a week and participate in yoga and meditation classes. Yoga gives me the tools I need to be present in all areas of my life whether I am engaged with my peers at school, my husband and children at home, or a clerk at a store.
UMaine President Paul Ferguson and Athletic Director Steve Abbott have announced that Abbott will be leaving the position of Athletic Director this fall after three years of service. Abbott will be returning to serve as Chief of Staff to United States Sen. Susan Collins, a position he formerly held from 1997–2009.
“I have greatly enjoyed working with Steve to further the success of Black Bear Athletics. We have worked diligently together to support our student athletes, enhance our athletic facilities and manage a fully compliant Division I Program,” said President Ferguson. “I look forward to continuing our working relationship in his role with Senator Collins.”
During Abbott’s tenure the university completed a $5.5 million renovation of the Alfond Arena, constructed a walkway to connect the first-year student dorms to the Arena and other playing fields, constructed the $500,000 Paul J. Mitchell Batting Pavilion, and began a $15 million renovation to the Memorial Gym and Field House, the first phase of which is expected to be completed this December. The university will also play men’s and women’s basketball in the new $65 million Cross Insurance Center.
Abbott expressed a deep appreciation for his experience at UMaine and for the working relationship that he has had with University of Maine President Paul Ferguson. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with President Ferguson and his Cabinet,” said Abbott. “The President has been a great partner for me and all of us in the athletics department. His leadership and his vision for the university as articulated in the Blue Sky Plan, makes me very optimistic for UMaine’s future.”
“The University of Maine is a special place to me and my family,” said Abbott. “Given our family history and my lifelong affinity for Black Bear athletics, I am especially pleased to have been a part of the Athletics Department these past three years. I have great respect for the staff and coaches, and I continue to be impressed by the commitment and the work ethic of our student athletes. They are a real credit to this institution.”
“I have been a Black Bear fan since before I was a ball boy for the football team four decades ago and I look forward to returning to the stands as a fan of all our teams as soon as my employment here ends,” Abbott said.
Abbott highlighted the significance of the relationship that the university has formed with New Balance, which provided a $5 million naming gift for the Field House renovation. The gift was the largest corporate gift in UMaine history.
“This is a terrific relationship with a company that has almost 1,000 employees in Maine. The Davis family is incredibly generous and has built an organization that shares our values. The UMaine-New Balance relationship will continue to grow in the future and will greatly benefit both entities,” said Abbott.
Ferguson commented that one of the most significant contributions that Abbott made to UMaine Athletics was his work with other athletic directors, their staffs, and the conference staffs for the three conferences in which the University of Maine competes. Abbott agreed, “The athletic directors in our conferences are a group of people who are committed to the student-athletes, have great perspective on the role of athletics at academic institutions, and recognize both the value and the joy of athletic competition.”
During Abbott’s tenure the Colonial Athletic Association added Stony Brook University and the University at Albany, as well as retaining the University of Rhode Island, establishing geographic balance in the conference and placing all four football-playing schools in the same conference.
At the same time Hockey East added Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut as members, further solidifying its position as the strongest league in college hockey.
Abbott also served on the search committee for the America East Conference Commissioner and was chair of the Athletics Directors Council when the America East added UMass Lowell to the league, a traditional rival whose location is the second closest to the Orono campus in America East.
In reflecting on Abbott’s departure, America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen said that, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Steve. He’s served as chair of the AD Council over the past year, providing steady leadership during a critical time for the conference. He quickly gained the respect of his peers and I know they join me in wishing him the very best in the future.”
President Ferguson has begun the process for a national search to replace Abbott.
University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone shared her research findings for a piece that ran Sept. 6 on The Loop, which asked if feminism had become “uncool.” “Despite media proclamations of the death of feminism, many young women in fact support feminist goals, even if they don’t label themselves feminist,” the chair of the UMaine sociology department told the online Canadian news source.
Rick Kersbergen, sustainable dairy and forage systems educator with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was mentioned in the latest post of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Kersbergen moderated the “Meat, Milk and the Future of Livestock Farming in Maine” panel during the Maine Farmland Trust’s Maine Fare Event in Belfast.