Combined News

Blackstone Accelerates Growth Funding Period Ends, Mainebiz Reports

University of Maine News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:19

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.

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College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture Presents Student, Faculty Awards

University of Maine News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:19

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.

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Softball Squad Hosts Friends of Jaclyn Day

University of Maine News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:18

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.

Information on how to support the softball squad’s efforts to help FOJ continue to improve children’s lives is online. More information on FOJ is on the Friends of Jaclyn website.

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Two-Day Event to Focus on Saving Endangered Native Languages

University of Maine News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:16

“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

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Alicia Valente: Athletic Trainer

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 14:39

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.

Why UMaine?
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.

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UMaine’s Clean Snowmobile Featured in Engadget Article

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:54

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.

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Bayer Speaks with WLBZ About Higher Lobster Prices Following Long Winter

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:53

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.

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Engineering Students, Faculty to Participate in Center’s Space Day, Maine Edge Reports

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:52

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.

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WVII Reports Bryant Pond Learning Center to Host Camp North Woods

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:51

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.

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UMaine, Bangor Public Library to Present Historic German Correspondence

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:49

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.

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Professor Emeritus Alan Langille Passes Away

University of Maine News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:48

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.

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Provost Hecker Writes Op-Ed on Student Debt for Press Herald

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 13:27

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.

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Mayewski Delivers Keynote at Emergency Management Conference, Media Report

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:13

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.

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Food Safety News Interviews Wu About Latest Research

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:07

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.

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Ippolito Wins Thoma Foundation’s Inaugural Digital Arts Writing Award, Media Report

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:03

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.

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Press Herald Reports on UMaine Business Challenge Finalists

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:02

Finalists for the UMaine Business Challenge, the state’s largest student entrepreneurship competition, were announced in a Portland Press Herald blog post. One of the five finalists will receive a $5,000 award to help develop their idea into a business, according to the article. The UMaine Business Challenge was founded in 2011 by a group of 2010 UMaine graduates who wanted to give back to their alma mater while creating more opportunities for student entrepreneurs. This is the first year in which students from any Maine college or university were invited to apply, the article states. Among those competing in the final live pitch event April 25 are Nadir Yildirim, a UMaine Ph.D. student, who wants to develop eco-friendly products for the insulation, construction and food-packaging industries; and Eddie Gonnella and Cody Rubner from UMaine who are developing an online platform to make it easier for people to organize and plan trips into the Maine woods.

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Mount Desert Islander Advances Youth Gardening Program

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:01

The Mount Desert Islander reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a youth gardening program May through September in Somesville. “Kids Can Grow!” is designed for children ages 7–12 and offers monthly hands-on gardening classes, as well as materials and help for each participant to build their own raised bed. Master Gardener volunteers will guide each child’s efforts, according to the article. Participants will learn about planting, growing and harvesting their own vegetable, herb and flowering plants; nutrition and food safety; and teamwork, the article states.

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Maine Edge Reports on 2015 Valedictorian, Salutatorian

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:00

The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the 2015 valedictorian and salutatorian. Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, is this year’s valedictorian, and Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, is the salutatorian. Beacham, a biochemistry major and Honors student, also was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. This fall, she will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. Massey is a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. For the past four years, she has been a forward on the UMaine women’s ice hockey team, serving as assistant captain this year and taking Hockey East Top Scholar Athlete honors from 2012–14. This fall, she will pursue graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at UMaine.

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BDN Publishes Op-Ed by Professor Emeritus Tjepkema

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:58

The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece by John Tjepkema, professor emeritus in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine. Tjepkema’s article is titled “We must reduce our carbon footprints, but that’s only the beginning.”

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Lambing Season Underway at Witter Farm

University of Maine News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:57

Spring has arrived at the University of Maine’s J. Franklin Witter Teaching and Research Center where lambing season has begun.

About 20 students in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Program are providing prenatal, delivery and post-delivery care for the flock of registered Icelandic ewes at the Orono farm. Since the season began in early April, the students have overseen five sets of births. Five more births are expected in the next few weeks.

James Weber, associate professor in the School of Food and Agriculture and the university’s attending veterinarian, is coordinating the student participation. He says the students are responsible for 100 percent of the animal care and are heavily invested.

“A student who was assigned to lambing watch texted me one night to say she thought the ewe was going to give birth,” Weber says. “By the time I arrived at the farm, there were 15 other students there. And this was at 9 p.m.”

The experience provides an educational, hands-on opportunity for the students, especially the seven who plan to attend veterinary school next year, Weber says.

Witter farm currently is home to 10 ewes, two rams and 11 lambs, as well as cows and horses. The sheep have recently returned to campus after the farm’s herd was sold six years ago because of financial constraints, Weber says.

Weber’s $200,000 USDA grant for research on a deadly sheep and goat parasite helped bring the lambs back to the farm. The three-year Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) study aims to develop and implement a winter management protocol for Haemonchus contortus, or barber pole worm, in northern New England.

During the region’s cold winters, the parasite is confined to the animals’ digestive tract. In the spring, overwintering larvae mature to adults that contaminate pastures and can sicken or kill pastured animals. The researchers hope to reduce the effect of the pests on grazing sheep through winter treatments, or by delaying return to pasture until the first generation of adult worms die within the host.

Weber and his team will take the data they find at Witter and test it on commercial farms in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. They also plan to teach the protocol, as well as conventional diagnostic and treatment tools, to commercial sheep and goat farmers throughout the region.

In addition to contributing to research and veterinary care education, the sheep have provided an opportunity for students to market and sell wool to local spinners, Weber says. The students also may market some of the lambs that aren’t needed for the study.

The farm is frequently visited by locals, as well as children on field trips, who enjoy seeing and learning about the animals. Witter Farm is open daily to visitors.

Photos and more information is on the students’ Ewe Maine Icelandics Club Facebook page.

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