Award-winning author Mary Doria Russell will present the 2014 John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics Lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in Hauck Auditorium at the University of Maine.
Russell has authored five books, including the 2005 historical fiction “A Thread of Grace,” which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her talk, titled “The Age of Discovery: From Spain to Space,” is free and open to the public.
The biological anthropologist also penned the science fiction novel “The Sparrow,” which was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and was the 2013 Honors Read for UMaine’s Honors College.
“Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. ‘The Sparrow’ is one of them,” reads Entertainment Weekly’s review of the book that describes a Jesuit missionary’s voyage to the planet Rakhat and his interaction with extraterrestrial life there.
Before becoming an author, Russell taught human anatomy at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. She lives near Cleveland with her husband, Don.
The John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics Lecture was established in 1999 to critically engage students, faculty and the community in ethical issues of national importance.
The lecture is part of the John M. Rezendes Ethics Initiative, a program established through a gift from Dennis and Beau Rezendes, which also includes the John M. Rezendes Ethics Essay Contest open to undergraduate students at the University of Maine.
The Rezendes Scholars in 2013 and 2012, respectively, were Arthur Serota ’66, co-founder of the United Movement to End Child Soldiering; and Robert Kenner, creator of the award-winning documentary “Food, Inc. The Ethics of How We Eat.”
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Third-year marine sciences major Ian Jones of Canton, Conn., is studying how ocean acidification impacts lobster larvae, an important resource for the Maine economy.
Jones works with American lobsters raised at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Center (ARC). The lobster larvae were raised last summer at various pH levels, replicating natural environments and the impact of ocean acidification. Jones weighed and photographed approximately 700 lobster larvae to monitor their growth in these different environments. The hypothesis: slower growth and more irregular development occur at lower pH. This creates adaptation problems for lobsters dealing with increased environmental CO2 levels.
“We will certainly see greater ocean acidification in the future as an effect of climate change. As atmospheric levels of CO2 continue to increase from human input, so do the CO2 levels of the upper ocean,” says Jones.
Along with lobster larvae, Jones also monitored seahorses in Tim Bowden’s lab. The seahorses, which were dealing with a mycobacterial infection, were in the care of Jones while an antibiotic treatment was created. He also raised juvenile seahorses last year. Through this experience, Jones learned about seahorse aquaculture, proper feeding protocols, tank chemistry and more.
“Not much is known about seahorse aquaculture relative to raising other fish, so although information on raising newborns was limited, it was a fun challenge figuring out our own system that worked.”
This fall, Jones will travel to the Darling Marine Center on the Damariscotta River, where he and other UMaine students will further the hands-on work they do in the classroom through the Semester By the Sea program.
Jones plans to attend graduate school to study sensory biology and/or the effect of climate change on marine animals.
Why is your lobster research important?
Research on American lobster growth at lowered pH is incredibly important first, because there has been little climate change study on this particular species and second, any slowing or other adverse effects on lobster growth could have serious impacts on the health of the lobster fishery, which Maine, of course, greatly depends on. Delayed lobster larvae development means it will take longer for lobsters to get to market size, and predation risk may increase as well, causing fewer individuals to grow into adults and lowering the overall abundance of adult lobsters. Changes in lobster abundance can in turn upset ecosystem balance by changing the abundance of organisms that depend on lobster as prey and organisms lobsters prey on. These trophic cascades have the power to reduce the presence of many species in addition to just the lobster, consequently reducing biodiversity.
Are you excited about heading to the Darling Marine Center in the fall?
I am really excited to be able to SCUBA dive in the area on the weekends; there is a dive locker on campus. I’m also excited for many of the courses offered this fall, such as the scientific diving course and the marine invertebrate biology course. I look forward to the seminar class, which teaches students how to tackle job interviews and graduate school applications for pursuing a career post graduation. Generally, I look forward to interacting with the marine environment on a near daily basis as I learn more about it and gain skills for marine research.
Why did you choose UMaine?
My primary reason for choosing UMaine was their excellent marine science program, which was more attractive than those at other colleges due to its emphasis on hands-on experience, such as through their Semester by the Sea program, expert faculty and it covers fundamentals of marine biology, chemistry and physics, not just the area you choose to concentrate in. Also driving me to UMaine were the strong nondiscriminatory policies and minority services on campus, making me confident that I can be myself at UMaine and face minimal to no prejudice, especially from faculty and administrators.
Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
Working with Tim Bowden has greatly improved my experience here, and the opportunities he’s granted me to assist with seahorse aquaculture and lobster larvae research have not only been very enjoyable but have helped define my research interests and add to my qualifications for future research experience. Additionally, his constructive feedback on my performance in his lab has allowed me to improve as a researcher.
What difference has UMaine made in your life, helping you reach your goals?
My professors at UMaine have made a major impact on what it means to have a career in science and beyond. They share advice on the mentality, skills and process necessary toward being successful in particular research fields. Also, the abundance of research facilities here, such as the Aquaculture Research Center, has allowed me to build a lot of hands-on experience that I can apply to future positions in marine biological research.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
I advise students to get involved with at least a couple student organizations that suit their interests. There’s a club for almost anything you could think of, from fencing to SCUBA diving to various political, academic and religious and social groups. Also I recommend science students look for work in a faculty member’s lab as soon as possible, even if it’s just volunteer work. You don’t need to know what your interests are yet, but any research and lab experience gained early can really help you in the long run. Just ask around.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place is the Littlefield Garden on the north end of campus. The garden is especially nice to study in, or to just hang out and have a picnic at — given warm weather of course.
Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Unrelated to marine science, I took the Intro to LGBT studies course offered by the Women’s, Sexuality and Gender Studies department, which vastly increased my understanding of the complexity of the LGBT community. I knew a fair amount about LGBT culture and identities going into the course but I did not realize how much I didn’t know until taking the class. For example, I didn’t know that there is opposition to same-sex marriage within members of the LGBT community and that historically there has been plenty of conflict of interest between feminist and lesbian organizations, as well as lesbian and gay people who have spearheaded “LGBT” movements that often leave the B (bisexual) and T (transgender) out of the equation. I now view the LGBT community differently than before, recognizing that people won’t always get along or share common goals just because they all belong to a minority. I also better understand the importance of full inclusiveness in LGBT organizations, due the diversity and intersectionalities with race, class, etc., of LGBT people.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with University of Maine professors Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems, and George Markowsky, a professor of computer science, for a report about what people should expect when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP. The discontinuation means Microsoft will no longer provide updates — including security updates — for the program. “There’s a very active cyber criminal world out there that is just looking for all sorts of opportunities. And you don’t want to be the one to give them an opportunity,” said Markowsky. Jones spoke about how the discontinuation forces businesses to upgrade and become more effective, efficient and compatible with emerging technologies.
Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was featured in a Soy Biobased Products article titled “Ford interns drive sustainability.” Soy Biobased Products is a website run by the United Soybean Board (USB) — a farmer-led, famer-funded organization that invests in research, development and promotion of soy. The article focused on Kiziltas’ work as an intern at Ford Motor Co. where he worked on expanding the use of soy in vehicles by incorporating various types of nanofillers into soy-based foams. “By using soy-based materials, Ford is able to lessen its environmental impact, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cut CO2 emissions,” Kiziltas said.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with several University of Maine officials and faculty members for the the article “UMaine relying more on lower-paid professors as budget shrinks.” Jason Canniff, a part-time faculty member who teaches English and Honors College courses, spoke about his typical work week. Pat Burnes, coordinator of UMaine’s First Year Writing Program, and Ludlow Hallman, chairman of the Music Department, spoke about hiring more adjuncts to replace retiring professors. Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, said the university’s plan to pass a balanced budget for FY 2015 was an attempt to “meet our needs and commitments, while we develop a more thoughtful, longer-range plan.”
Francis Avery, a scientific research specialist with the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about tapping the university’s maple trees. He said the trees were tapped three weeks ago, but he hasn’t seen much sap flowing yet.
University of Maine Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron will resign to join the University of North Texas (UNT) System as vice chancellor of finance, effective April 28.
Waldron has led UMaine’s Office of Administration and Finance for 11 years.
“I look forward to this new opportunity and challenge working in a larger, more diverse system with Chancellor Lee Jackson and the University of North Texas System leadership. The senior leadership team in North Texas is highly experienced and committed to increasing educational opportunities for the citizens of Texas,” Waldron said.
“This decision has come with deeply mixed emotions as I care for and respect President Ferguson, his vision and our successful partnership at UMaine. I will deeply miss the wonderful faculty, staff, alums, my cabinet colleagues, directors, students and the campus community. One of the proudest days for me was becoming an honorary member of the UMaine Class of ’44.
“I leave with a sincere hope that the remarkable legacy and detailed strategic planning that we have done at the University of Maine will be fully supported in the future by the state and University of Maine System,” Waldron said.
In a letter to the UMaine community April 8, UMaine President Paul Ferguson noted that Waldron played a vital role in UMaine’s leadership and sustainability for more than a decade. “Through her deep experience, wisdom and insightful pragmatism, she has been instrumental in the growth and development of Maine’s flagship university,” President Ferguson said.
As vice chancellor for finance, Waldron will oversee system-wide financial planning and analysis, according to a UNT System news release. She will be responsible for the system offices of Budget, Business Services, Controller, Treasurer and Information Technology, which provide centralized, shared services to all UNT System institutions.
Waldron has spent more than three decades leading strategic business administration and operations in complex organizations. She has had key involvement in financial management and budgeting, information technology, human resource management and employee relations, and capital facilities management. She came to UMaine in 2003 after more than 15 years in Maine government offices, the last eight of which were as the state’s chief financial officer.
An interim UMaine vice president for administration and finance is expected to be named this month.
Maine adults who want to return to college may qualify for as much as $4,000 per year in scholarships for up to four years, in a new Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Fund announced by the University of Maine System.
The system’s fund aims to help Maine people complete their academic studies — many adults started their university education years ago, but did not complete a degree program for some reason, likely due to family or work obligations.
The new scholarships are for adult students returning to a system university after an absence of three years or more, and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree. Courses may be taken at any of the seven universities in Maine.
“Maine has over 200,000 adults with some college, but no degree,” explained UMS Chancellor James Page. “That is a significant stranded cost — both in terms of monies invested and opportunities lost. Our goal is to work with these folks to help them achieve their educational goals and move Maine forward.”
The funding for the program comes from a portion of gaming revenue made possible by citizen initiatives that authorized gambling in Bangor and Oxford and a one-time appropriation from the Maine Legislature last year.
Those adults returning to a university will be in good company. At the University of Maine System, adult students age 25 or older currently represent more than 36 percent of all students enrolled in degree programs and more than 60 percent of those attending part-time.
Currently there are few scholarships or other forms of financial aid available in Maine for adults, especially those who work full-time.
“One of the many challenges adults face as they return to college is financing their education,” noted Rosa Redonnett, UMS chief student affairs officer. “Since our goal is degree completion, we’ve set up a tiered scholarship program so Mainers who have previously earned a significant number of credits are incentivized to quickly complete their degrees. And we are also providing smaller scholarships for those who have completed a handful of courses toward a degree, but want to finish that work.”
In addition, a new concierge service has been established to guide students to assist adult students, in the same way that the hospitality industry has concierges to help guide guests to explore a new area. The university concierges, based in 15 Maine communities, will help adult students achieve their educational goals through activities such as applying to a university, choosing a major, finding financial assistance and registering for courses.
“Unlike traditional age students, most adults are also balancing work, family and other commitments,” said Bonnie Newsom of Eddington, a member of the UMS Board of Trustees who also serves on the Adult Baccalaureate Completion Distance Education (ABCDE) committee. “As a result, financial help and the assistance of a concierge may mean the difference between finishing that degree — or not.” Newsom added that the scholarship fund and concierge service are part of a larger, statewide adult degree completion effort under way at the system.
The ABCDE committee was created as a result of a Board of Trustees directive in 2012 to develop and implement a system-wide plan to enhance baccalaureate degree attainment and completion by Maine’s adult and noncampus based citizens. Efforts under way will incorporate consideration of the multiple pathways that students may follow such as certificates, associate degrees and prior learning assessment.
There are three opportunities for students to apply for the scholarships: May 8, Aug. 1 and Dec. 1. Applications can be found here. Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for the scholarship:
Must be a matriculated student at a UMS institution seeking a first baccalaureate degree.
Must be a resident of the state of Maine.
Must be an undergraduate reentry student who has experienced a gap (three years or more) in the pursuit of postsecondary education. Students who returned to higher education beginning in fall 2013 or more recently will be considered.
Must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed FAFSA and/or statement outlining ability to pay/financial resources available for education.
Must be registered at least part time: 6‐8 credits per semester (fall and spring) or 9–12 credits total for the two semesters.
More than 100 area high school students will convene at the University of Maine on Friday, April 11 to celebrate World Languages Day with traditional dance lessons and a campuswide scavenger hunt.
Students from Foxcroft Academy as well as Bangor, John Bapst Memorial, Hermon and Orono high schools will attend. School teams will compete in a culture bowl to answer questions about geography, holidays, famous people, history and current events related to their language studies. The two languages highlighted will be French and Spanish. World Languages Day, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will also include opening and closing ceremonies and lunch in Memorial Union. Judges will be selected from UMaine faculty, staff and advanced students.
UMaine students, many from the Modern Languages and Classics Department, will teach crafts and guide students around campus. In addition, master folk dancer Cindy Larock will teach traditional French-Canadian dancing.
Danielle Beaupre and Maria Sandweiss, lecturers in French and Spanish, respectively, planned the event. The last World Languages Day was in 2009; it has been revived in 2014 thanks to sponsorship from the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, The Canadian-American Center and the Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME).
The University of Maine has opened registration for its three girls’ basketball summer camps. The Black Bears will offer an Elite Camp for girls entering grades 9–12 from June 21 to 22, Youth Overnight Camp for grades 3–9 from July 14 to 17, and Youth Day Camp for grades 3–9 from July 28 to Aug. 1.
Elite Camp focuses on advanced skill development, as well as speed and agility workouts, while offering commuter and overnight options. Youth Overnight Camp offers instruction from UMaine players and coaches, as well as the opportunity to play games, learn fundamentals, participate in drills and have fun at all levels of experience. Day Camp includes focused skill work and games.
Participants of each of the three camps will receive a T-shirt. Roommate requests for overnight camping can be made until two weeks before the beginning of the selected camp.
More information about UMaine’s girls’ summer camp sessions, such as how to register and pricing, is online.