M. Peter McPherson, the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), will receive an honorary doctorate and share remarks on May 9 at the 213th Commencement at the University of Maine.
In 1865, the University of Maine became the Maine’s land grant university and this year’s Commencement ceremonies are part of the celebration of that 150th anniversary.
McPherson will deliver a keynote address during the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ceremonies, and will receive his honorary degree in the morning.
“In 2015, with UMaine celebrating its 150 years of leadership in Maine and beyond, it’s particularly timely and important to have Peter McPherson join us,” said UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “His reflections and insights will add to our anniversary observance and inform our perspective on the role of the land grant university in the 21st century.”
Since 2006, McPherson has been president of the Washington, D.C.-based APLU. The association, founded in 1887, is North America’s oldest higher education association, comprised of public research universities, land-grant institutions and universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, Canada and Mexico. APLU is the leading research, policy and advocacy organization for public research universities like UMaine.
McPherson also chairs the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, an organization he cofounded to address agricultural production and rural income issues. He is also chair of advisory committee for HarvestPlus, an organization funded at approximately $40 million annual to research the biofortification of crops grown by workers in poor countries. Biofortification is the genetic improvement of crops to fortify them with vitamin A, iron and zinc.
From 1993–2004, McPherson served as president of his alma mater, Michigan State University. Prior to that, he was a group executive vice president with Bank of America, based in San Francisco. He also served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). McPherson is a former chair of the board of directors of Dow Jones and Company, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
More than 200 University of Maine students will display their research during the 2015 Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on Tuesday, April 14 at Wells Conference Center.
The sixth annual event, which runs from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., is sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) and is open to any undergraduate at the university. A total of 121 presentations from 229 students in the form of 92 posters, 16 oral presentations or performances, and 13 exhibits will be featured. Several presentations include multiple students.
A new electronic judging system will allow the 40 judges to score presentations online using a tablet or smartphone.
Students presenting projects that receive the highest scores from judges in each format will receive research scholar medals and cash awards ranging from $100 to $200 in various categories.
Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies David Neivandt will deliver opening remarks at 9 a.m. UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeff Hecker will present awards and give closing remarks starting at 4 p.m. The awards presentation will include the announcement of five Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship winners, who will each receive a $3,000 fellowship.
The UMaine community and general public are welcome to attend the free event. Participants and guests can follow the showcase on Twitter and Instagram using #CUGR2015. For more information or to request disability accommodations, call CUGR at 581.3583, or email CUGR@maine.edu, using “CUGR showcase guest request” as the subject. More information is online.
Alyssa Chauvette, a first-year graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Maine’s criminal justice system needs a better way to handle the mentally ill.” Chauvette received her undergraduate degree in social work from UMaine and works as a graduate research assistant in the UMaine Office of Assessment.
The Weekly and The Maine Edge reported on the University of Maine Museum of Art’s spring exhibitions that will open to the public on April 3 and run through June 6. The exhibits are Andy Warhol’s “Photographs and Screenprints,” Elizabeth Livingston’s “Dark Houses” and Jennifer Caine’s “Amnesia.”
The Ellsworth American reported two University of Maine studies found a diet containing wild blueberries may improve certain characteristics of metabolic syndrome, including lipid status and inflammation. The studies were conducted by Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, a clinical nutritionist and professor at UMaine, and were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry and British Journal of Nutrition. Having metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the article. “Metabolic syndrome is a growing health problem in the United States, impacting roughly one-third of our adult population,” Klimis-Zacas said. “We are pleased to report our research indicates that wild blueberry consumption can have significant and positive health impacts on several components of this serious health condition.”
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release about Send Silence Packing, a national traveling public education exhibit of 1,100 backpacks that represent the 1,100 college students who annually die by suicide. Members of the UMaine and local community are invited to experience the exhibit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 2. Send Silence Packing is a program of Active Minds Inc., a national nonprofit with a mission to engage students in discussions about mental health.
The Weekly published a University of Maine news release announcing 47 members of the UMaine community, including 41 undergraduate and graduate students, were inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and largest collegiate honor society, during the chapter’s annual meeting on campus March 19. Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at UMaine by 10 seniors in an effort to start an honorary society that recognizes outstanding students, faculty and staff from all disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi has since grown to an international society with more than one million members from more than 300 campuses across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
The University of Maine Department of Art will present the 2015 annual Juried Student Art Exhibition that features work by current studio art, art history and art education students.
The exhibition will be on display from April 3 to May 1 in the Lord Hall Gallery on campus. The venue provides the opportunity for undergraduate students at all levels to exhibit their work.
This year, more than 90 works of art were selected from over 300 submissions in a range of media. Paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, collages and design, as well as sculptures and ceramic works are included in the exhibition.
The exhibition was juried by Julie Horn, visual arts director of the Maine Arts Commission, and Department of Art faculty Laurie Hicks and James Linehan.
During the April 3 opening reception, approximately 40 awards and recognitions will be given in studio, art history and art education areas. Awards, in the form of scholarships and travel grants, as well as book and exhibition awards, will be presented to students who have excelled in their work. The campus community, family and friends are welcome to attend the opening from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The exhibition is free and open to the public. Lord Hall Gallery is open from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is wheelchair accessible.
Students who recently returned from a spring break trip to Cuba will share their experiences in presentations from 4–5:30 p.m. April 15 in 107 D.P. Corbett Business Building. The travel study course, Cuba: Myths and Realities, led by faculty member Barbara Blazej, is offered by the Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program. On the trip to Cuba, March 2–11, students toured many sites and institutions in Havana and in outlining rural areas. They also met with many individuals and organizations to learn about Cuban national priorities.
University of Maine professors and Center for Research on Sustainable Forests leaders Sandra De Urioste-Stone and Robert Lilieholm are conducting a survey under the Bay-to-Baxter initiative. The study seeks to identify sustainable economic development pathways for the Penobscot River corridor that protect and leverage the region’s natural resources and quality of place.
De Urioste-Stone, leader of the CRSF Nature-Based Tourism Program, and Lilieholm, conservation lands lead for CRSF, are mailing 3,000 surveys to residents along the Penobscot River to learn their views on recreational use of the river, as well as their thoughts on the community and its ability to adapt to changing social, economic and environmental conditions.
“It is extremely important to understand and incorporate residents’ views and feedback for effective land and sustainable development planning to occur,” De Urioste-Stone says.
The survey is part of the larger project, “Promoting Sustainable Economic Development and Quality-of-Place in Maine: The Penobscot River ‘Bay-to-Baxter Corridor’ Initiative,” which is led by De Urioste-Stone with team members Lilieholm; Claire Sullivan, associate dean for community engagement; Linda Silka, of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center; and John Daigle, associate professor in the School of Forest Resources.
The researchers hope the survey will inform ongoing and future sustainable economic development and environmental efforts in the region that stretches from Penobscot Bay to Baxter State Park.
The area faces sustainability threats, as well as opportunities, and the team will use community feedback to support improved land use and economic development decisions across the region.
Research objectives include determining:
- Characteristics of residents’ use of the Penobscot River, including activities, predicting future recreation use and perceptions of environmental conditions of the river;
- Characteristics of residents, including attachment to the Penobscot River, status of employment, education and other socio-demographic descriptions; and
- Beliefs associated with community resilience to environmental and economic development changes.
The Lower Penobscot River Watershed offers an ideal setting for studying and integrating stakeholder participatory scenario modeling, community resilience and sustainable economic development, De Urioste-Stone says.
The region faces multiple sustainability challenges, including an aging population, poverty, energy and food insecurities, high dependence on resource extraction, heavy reliance on social assistance programs, strong urban-rural gradients, active species and watershed restoration efforts, and public health challenges.
The difficulties, which aren’t unique to Maine, pose risks to social, political and economic systems around the world, according to the researchers. They hope what they learn in Maine will have widespread applicability.
Even with its set of growing challenges, the watershed has several assets that can develop and leverage community health and economic growth. These assets include UMaine, the Greater Bangor area, the I-95 corridor, Bangor International Airport, an international border, an abundant coastline and natural and cultural amenities that attract tourists. Recent development proposals have sought to build upon and leverage those resources, the researchers say.
The project will integrate information generated through the resident and user survey for an alternative futures modeling study led by Harvard Forest and funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of decision making.
The study includes service-learning opportunities for several undergraduate and graduate students and is funded by UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the UMaine Rising Tide/NSF ADVANCE Award.
The Conservation Lands and Nature-Based Tourism programs at CRSF conduct applied and collaborative research to better understand, monitor and anticipate important issues regarding Maine’s conservation lands, and to understand the economic impacts of tourism.
The Climate Change Institute (CCI) at the University of Maine and its director, Paul Mayewski, were mentioned in the Portland Press Herald article, “Looking for edge, Maine plunges into Arctic policy.” Maine is positioning itself as a player in Arctic politics, which could increase opportunities for Maine’s climate researchers and several business sectors, according to the article. As Arctic sea ice continues to melt because of climate change, shipping lanes across the top of the world will become more viable, the article states. The CCI, which was established more than 40 years ago, was cited as “one of the nation’s oldest research institutes dedicated to understanding the climate.” Mayewski said as the Arctic Ocean warms, the effects will be felt in Maine. “We have this very long perspective on how the Arctic operates,” he said. “It is very important that Maine play a critical role.”
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported a University of Maine study found more than half of Mainers surveyed say they would be willing to pay extra in their electricity bills to support more efficient and/or cleaner fuel development. The study also found 37 percent of the nearly 400 respondents viewed energy efficiency and renewable energy investments as complementary. UMaine economist Caroline Noblet and colleagues conducted the study in 2013. “What we found was that people are in general supportive,” Noblet said. “So we had 52 percent of our respondents say that they would agree to that energy scenario where we invest in renewable energy or energy efficiency.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the Maine National History Day competition held at the University of Maine. More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in the contest that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. Student exhibits, websites, documentaries and performances were on display and judged, with the top state winners becoming eligible to compete in the national contest. “Any time you can see high school and junior high students who are interested in this kind of thing, I think it’s incredibly important. It makes me excited that they’re excited about this kind of stuff,” said UMaine political science professor Mark Brewer. For the second year in a row, a partnership between UMaine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library, with support from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Historical Society, brought the event to campus.
Jason Bolton, an assistant extension professor and food safety specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about food safety in restaurants. Recent efforts by health inspectors to bring local restaurants into compliance with federal regulations and reduce the risks of potentially dangerous foodborne illnesses are clashing with some of Portland’s cutting-edge restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients to make inventive dishes, according to the report. Bolton reviews all Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points plans for Maine restaurants. The plans are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for large- and small-scale food producers. “It forces them to look at the hazards and where things can go wrong and document that they are doing things correctly,” Bolton says of the HACCP plans. Health inspectors also have been taking classes at UMaine to learn about cooking processes that expert chefs have already mastered, the article states. “One of the challenges is getting all of the inspectors up to date,” Bolton said. “People are coming in at all different levels of knowledge. It’s a complicated system.”
The Bangor Daily News printed an interview with Karlton Creech, the University of Maine’s director of athletics. The interview, published in question-and-answer format, contains both personal and professional questions that range from “What is the best part about living in Maine” to “What is your vision for the University of Maine’s athletic program?”
WABI (Channel 5) reported University of Maine student Dan Shorette recently shaved his head to donate his hair to Wigs for Kids, an organization that makes wigs for children losing hair for medical reasons. Shorette said he was inspired by fellow classmate, Juli Sclafani, who lost her younger brother to cancer. “I think it’s really incredible that he thinks it’s something he should do and wants to do,” Scalfani said. “[To] be a voice for kids fighting cancer who don’t have a voice.” In addition to donating his hair, Shorette also has raised more than $1,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research, according to the report.
The Bangor Daily News reported the Maine Military Community Network, Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Maine Humanities Council will host three public screenings of the Oscar-nominated documentary feature “Last Days in Vietnam.” The screenings are April 9 at the The Grand in Ellsworth, April 19 at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine, and April 21 at the Temple Theatre in Houlton. “[The movie screenings] are a great way to get the vets to come out and to learn what resources are available to them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel Grace, Maine Military Community Network community liaison.
The University Credit Union’s 8th annual Healthy High 5k/10k and 1-mile run/walk will be held at the University of Maine at 4:20 p.m. Monday, April 20.
The race, which begins at UMaine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center, promotes health and wellness for members of the university and surrounding community.
Early registration fees for the 5k are $5 for students, $20 for non-students. Early fees for the 10k are $10 for students, $25 for non-students. The 1-mile run/walk is free. Early registration deadline is noon April 15. Registration is available online.
Race day registration fees for both the 5k and 10k races are $10 for students and $25 for non-students.
Proceeds benefit the UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and the Black Bear Exchange food pantry and thrift store. In addition, donations of used footwear will be collected for Soles4Souls.
UMaine employees who participate will earn 20 RiseUP wellness points.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Lauri Sidelko at the Student Wellness Resource Center, 581.1423.
Former Celtic Thunder and “Glee” star Damian McGinty will be the special guest artist for “The Very Best of Celtic Thunder” show at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine.
McGinty will join Celtic Thunder performers Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Emmett O’Hanlon and Neil Byrne for the nostalgic Irish music show that includes dramatic lighting and choreography. Backed by the Celtic Thunder Band, the group will deliver ensemble songs, as well as anthems, fan favorites and solos. The CCA stage will be transformed into an ancient stone Celtic pathway for the performance.
Since forming in 2007, Celtic Thunder has sold more than 2 million records and performed at more than 800 shows in the U.S., Canada and Australia. For more information, visit the Celtic Thunder website. Tickets, which cost $38, $53 and $68, are available online or by calling 581.1755, 800.622.TIXX.
Developing a noninvasive procedure to determine the viability of lobsters for shipping was the goal of a recent cross-discipline research project led by a University of Maine undergraduate student.
Matthew Hodgkin, a fourth-year animal and veterinary sciences major from Colebrook, Connecticut, developed a method to evaluate lobster livelihood based on claw strength while working with Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at UMaine; Michael “Mick” Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor, and Thomas McKay, a fourth-year mechanical engineering technology student.
The inspiration for Hodgkin’s research came from his adviser Bayer who had approached Peterson two years ago as a result of a press inquiry about the strength of lobster claws. Peterson and McKay then built a device to measure the closing strength of a lobster’s crusher claw, Hodgkin says.
Hodgkin has since worked with Bayer to determine if the device could be used to predict the viability of lobsters for shipping. Knowing a lobster’s viability is relevant to Maine’s primary seafood industry because it can determine if the crustacean is most suitable for shipping live or going straight to a processing plant, according to Hodgkin.
“This research would save the distributors money from losses incurred during shipment. If the most healthy and viable lobsters were picked to ship there would be less casualties due to weakness,” he says.
The device is an alternative to the commonly used invasive procedure that calls for measuring serum protein content in lobster blood. Shipping facilities use handheld refractometers to measure the protein once lobster blood is extracted by a syringe, according to Hodgkin.
The serum protein measurement reflects the amount of muscle mass a lobster has. Lobsters with less muscle mass would not be able to handle the stress of shipping, Hodgkin says.
The technique was developed in the 1980s by Bayer and graduate student Dale Leavitt.
The new device allows for muscle mass measurements to be determined by claw strength as opposed to using a blood sample. The prototype contains an aluminum load cell located at the point where the most pressure is exerted by the lobster when it closes its claw.
“In our first trial the gripper was made from plastic, and that did not last long with the lobsters,” Hodgkin says.
Once the rectangular gripper is placed in the lobster’s grasp, the load cell measures the pressure in pounds per square inch. The measurements then appear on an attached electronic reader that looks similar to a digital alarm clock.
Hodgkin examined various lobsters of the same size from different stages of the molt cycle. He tested the lobsters for crusher claw strength using the load cell meter and used a refractometer to evaluate serum protein in the blood. When comparing the methods, he found the closing strength of a crusher claw correlates with serum protein.
The prototype has been field tested at local lobster dealers and seems to work well, Hodgkin says. He adds more testing is needed to study the effects of water temperature on the ability of the lobster to show interest and on its strength.
Funding for the project came from the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Lobster Institute.
Hodgkin also co-owns a lobster-related business with Bayer; Lobster Institute Associate Director Cathy Billings; and Stewart Hardison, a business partner from outside the UMaine community. Lobster Unlimited LLC, formerly LobsteRx, aims to develop products from lobster-processing industry waste, such as shells. The company’s goal is to get more money to lobstermen and improve Maine’s economy.
After graduating in May 2015, Hodgkin plans to stay in the Orono area to continue work at Lobster Unlimited and eventually pursue a graduate degree in food science and human nutrition at UMaine.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747