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Updated: 7 hours 40 min ago
Emma Wilson’s path to becoming president of a Maine startup company began in her undergraduate years at the University of Maine. As a fellow in UMaine’s Innovate for Maine Program (Blackstone Accelerates Growth), she interned with Zeomatrix, a university spin-off company specializing in a patented odor-absorbing technology. Under the direction of Wilson, Zeomatrix launched Odigo, an environmentally friendly kitchen composting kit, engineered to reduce odor. In this video, Wilson talks about her journey from undergraduate intern to Zeomatrix president, and the opportunities offered by the Top Gun Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.
The Top Gun entrepreneurship accelerator is a five-month program that engages entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. Top Gun combines education, mentoring, pitch-coaching and networking opportunities. The program is a partnership of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Technology Institute, Blackstone Accelerates Growth and the University of Maine. UMaine organizes and hosts a Bangor region class and has also developed curriculum to support the statewide program. More information about Top Gun is online.
For more information about these and other innovation and economic development initiatives at UMaine, visit umaine.edu/econdev.
For the past century, the black bear has been the UMaine mascot. The new suit will mark the mascot’s sixth makeover. A complete history of Bananas is on UMaine’s 150th website.
C&EN (Chemical & Engineering News) reported on marine slug research led by Douglas Rasher, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, and researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology. The researchers found the marine slug Elysia tuca sniffs out the seaweed Halimeda incrassate so it can steal the algae’s chloroplasts and chemical weapons, according to the article. The slug then uses the chloroplasts to make its own energy from sunlight. “It’s a solar-powered slug,” Rasher says, adding it gets 60 percent of its fixed carbon from the stolen photosynthetic organelles. The slug also steals the seaweed’s toxic arsenal of halimedatetraacetate — one of the compounds used by the slug to track the seaweed — for use as its own defense, the article states.
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in reports by the Portland Press Herald and WVII (Channel 7) on the University of Maine System announcing its pledge to offer 20 percent local food by 2020. “Maine agriculture is passing the test,” Rebar told the Press Herald of being able to supply enough food for the state’s university students. “We have the most diverse agriculture in New England. By some measures we are second only in the nation to Vermont in terms of interest in local foods.” The Bangor Daily News also reported on the pledge, stating that while UMaine in Orono, which operates on a separate contract, already draws about 18 percent of its food from local sources, and plans to hit the 20 percent mark by 2020. “For 150 years, the University of Maine has really served agriculture with education and applied research. Now we’re going to be a customer of the very folks we’ve worked with so it’s really very exciting,” Rebar told WVII.
The Portland Press Herald reported George Kinghorn, director and curator of the University of Maine Museum of Art, will lead a panel discussion about regionalism in contemporary art at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Portland Museum of Art. Kinghorn will moderate a discussion among Maine artists Lauren Fensterstock, Anna Hepler and Philip Frey on the opportunities and challenges of being an artist in Maine, according to the article. The talk will be in the museum auditorium, and admission is $8.
The Ellsworth American reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program will offer a free workshop with Woodlawn Museum on Sept. 19. “Native Pollinators: Habitats In Your Garden,” will run from 10 a.m. to noon at the museum in Ellsworth. Alison Dibble, a research professor in pollination ecology at UMaine, will present on native bees, other pollinators and their habitats, according to the article.
An analysis on Maine drug deaths was cited in a Portland Press Herald article on a candlelight vigil and march held in Portland’s Monument Square to remember those who have died from drug overdoses and to spread the message that addiction can be overcome. The analysis was released by the Maine attorney general’s office and conducted by Marcella Sorg, a research professor of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. The study found that the number of Maine residents who died of drug overdoses in 2014 hit a record high, according to the article. The report showed 208 people in Maine died of drug overdoses — an increase of 18 percent over 2013, when 176 peopled died. The drugs ranged from cocaine to heroin and other opioids, and the number of deaths from heroin jumped from 34 in 2013 to 57 in 2014, the article states.
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with Deseret News for the article, “A younger generation of farmers gets in the dirt.” The article states the number of Americans younger than 35 pursuing farming as their primary occupation increased 10 percent to roughly 55,000 between 2007 and 2012, according to a United States Department of Agriculture census. “The younger farmers of today are not the same as the ‘back to the land’ homesteaders of the 1970s,” Rebar said. “Today’s young farmers are aspiring to be successful businesspeople who want a relationship with their customers. They want to work toward creating something that is meaningful for them and the communities where they live. They want to make a living while having a quality of life that creates a positive place within their community.” Daily American also published the Deseret News article.
Boothbay Register reported the Knox-Lincoln Counties Extension Association’s (KLCEA) annual meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at Sheepscot General Store, in Whitefield. This year’s meeting will focus on the challenges facing small farms in Maine and the innovation leading to success, according to the article. Guests are invited to meet with University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff and executive committee members, view UMaine Extension displays and enjoy refreshments before a 6 p.m. presentation by Ben Marcus and Taryn Hammer, owners of Sheepscot General at Uncas Farm.
The University of Maine and CHISPA Centro Hispano will host the 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture Series throughout September and October.
All lectures will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays starting Sept. 17 at UMaine’s Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium, 165 Barrows Hall. The events are free and open to the public and include a reception following each talk.
The series kicks off Sept. 17, when UMaine alumnus John Burns, an associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Religion at Rockford University in Illinois, will deliver the talk, “Aesthetic of the Rain: Translating the work of contemporary Chilean poet Raúl Hernández.”
Other lectures are “The most common endocrine diseases that affect the Hispanic population,” by Dr. Ana X. Mendoza Salazar, an endocrinologist at St. Joseph Hospital, on Sept. 24; “The Americas from a transnational perspective,” by Stefano Tijerina, the visiting Libra Diversity Professor in history and an adjunct assistant professor of political science at UMaine, on Oct. 1; and “Health disparities and challenges faced by the Hispanic population,” by Nilda Cravens, a registered nurse and lecturer at UMaine, on Oct. 8.
Co-sponsors of the lecture series include UMaine’s Department of Modern Languages and Classics, College of Education and Human Development and Department of English.
CHISPA Centro Hispano is a nonprofit organization that facilitates and promotes Hispanic social and cultural values in the Greater Bangor area. More information is on the group’s Facebook page.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with first-year University of Maine students as they moved into their dorms during Fall Welcome Weekend. Students were asked questions including why they chose UMaine, what they are most looking forward to and what their expectations are for this year. One student said they chose UMaine because of the atmosphere and people, and many of the students interviewed said they looked forward to meeting new classmates.
Sarah Redmond, a marine extension associate with the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, spoke with Fosters.com for a report about Maine’s growing edible seaweed industry. Redmond said “there’s definitely a lot of potential” for the seaweed industry in Maine. “We’re not having rampant growth, but people are hearing about seaweed more and more. I think something big is happening, but we need more awareness for the industry to really take off,” she said. Redmond tracks the edible industry in Maine, which includes wild harvest and aquaculture seaweed, according to the article. She has been working for the past four years with those interested in growing seaweed in an aquaculture setting, and UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research is working to cultivate native species that can be transplanted to grow in controlled farms in the ocean, the article states. There are currently seven wild harvest seaweed companies and seven aquaculture seaweed companies in Maine, Redmond said.
As part of a series on the importance of humanities, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network interviewed Patty Counihan, who directed the University of Maine’s Career Center until she retired earlier this year. Counihan spoke about an essay she wrote titled, “What are You Going to Do with ‘That’ Major? The Humanities, Jobs and a Career,” for the special issue of Maine Policy Review on the humanities and policy, produced by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center in cooperation with the UMaine Humanities Center.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald about Maine’s relatively small peach crop. Moran estimates there are about eight acres of peaches in the state compared with 2,000 acres of apple trees. In an ordinary year, the state’s climate is rough on the stone fruit, according to the article, and this year cold temperatures took a particular toll, with growers reporting from zero to 30 percent of a full crop, according to Moran. Highmoor Farm, UMaine Extension’s research orchard in Monmouth, got about 25 percent of its usual harvest, the article states.
Susan Brawley, a professor of plant biology at the University of Maine, and Keri Kaczor, a marine professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, were quoted in the Fosters.com article, “Massive influx of seaweed worries officials.” Maine environmental officials, scientists and coastal municipal leaders have recognized an ecological shift along southern coastal beaches and inlets in recent years that has allowed for periodic but massive influxes of seaweed to wash ashore, according to the article. Kaczor, coordinator of the Maine Healthy Beaches program, said the increase in seaweed is “something no one has seen before” and high bacteria counts in the past few months can be traced directly to loose seaweed on the beach. “What we think is happening is that there’s a larger shift occurring in the ecosystem as a whole. This is indicative of coastal imbalance,” she said. Seaweed grows just off the coast and is lightly attached to rocks and gravel, according to the article. “So when there’s any turbidity at all — and it doesn’t take a serious storm — it’s torn from its roots and washed ashore,” Brawley said. She added although definitive studies have yet to be conducted on increasing seaweed along the Maine coast, “it is clear that warming ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine play a factor.”
Richard Kersbergen, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator on sustainable dairy and forage systems, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Backing up claims about local and grass-fed meat,” as part of the “Green Plate Special” column. According to a letter drafted this summer by the Maine Grass Farmers Network to retailers, restaurants and institutions that sell and serve locally sourced meat and poultry, learning where meat was born, raised and slaughtered isn’t always easy, the article states. As the demand for local proteins has increased, so have the instances of distributors and farmers misrepresenting the products they sell, the letter claims. The letter lays out steps retailers, restaurateurs and institutional buyers should take, including that all meat and poultry purchased should come with a USDA or ME state approved label. Any value-added claims made about the product on the label can be listed only if the claims have been evaluated and found to be true by inspection, according to the article. “There is a significant paper trail in place. It’s a matter of educating buyers at all levels how to use it,” Kersbergen said.
Fosters.com reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) will offer a five-week Beginner Bee School from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 1 through Oct. 29, at Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale. Instructor Larry Peiffer, master beekeeper and former MSBA vice president, will discuss honey bee colonies, hive construction, pests and diseases, and honey production, according to the article. Participants also will observe area hives and gain hands-on experience during a field lab at a later date, the article states. Cost is $95 per person, $140 for two people who share materials, and includes a one-year membership in the York County Beekeepers Association. Sept. 24 is the deadline to register. More information and registration is online.
The Active Times named the University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center one of “America’s Best College Gyms.” The article states “the fitness centers at these universities are more incredible than you could possibly imagine.” In selecting the 11 gyms that made the list, the organization said it considered everything from the size and layout of the facilities to the amenities and extras they offer. “The 87,000-square-foot facility houses everything you would expect in a state-of-the-art facility — and much more,” the article states of UMaine’s rec center, citing the floor-to-ceiling windows, 140 pieces of cardio and weightlifting equipment and indoor aquatic complex. “Students looking for outdoor adventure can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes from the rec center to explore the 15 miles of groomed trails in the adjacent DeMeritt Forest,” the write-up continues.
The University of Maine Center on Aging’s Senior Companion Program (SCP) currently has openings for qualified volunteers throughout the state.
SCP provides volunteer opportunities for limited-income adults age 55 and older. These volunteers, called Senior Companions, visit homebound older adults 15–20 hours per week to provide companionship.
Primarily funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, SCP provides nontaxable stipends and partial travel reimbursement to Senior Companions.
In 2015, SCP had close to 100 active volunteers who visited more than 325 people on a regular basis, enabling both the Senior Companion and the client to maintain independence, often in their own homes.
For more information about SCP and other programs available at the UMaine Center on Aging, contact Wanda Lincoln at 581.3326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Zachary Mason came to the University of Maine, he was unsure of what field he wanted to pursue. With strong interests in science and math, he joined a variety of clubs to dip his toes into different scientific disciplines.
When he signed up to attend a field trip with the UMaine geology club, he didn’t know anyone on the list.
A year later, he was elected president of the club.
“I was just a shy guy in a group of great people, barely even talking to other members,” Mason says. “But somehow they voted me the president for the next year. I must have done something right.”
The group was joining the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference at Sugarloaf mountain to find marine fossils. The group hiked to the summit, where the director of the trip explained that the area they were exploring was once partially submerged by the ocean.
Mason was astounded.
“At that moment, I knew that this was the major to be in. I knew that geology would fulfill my academic desires,” Mason says.
Mason, an Earth science major with a minor in ecology and environmental sciences, is expected to graduate in May 2016.
For his Honors thesis, he is looking at when certain quartz-bearing boulders were deposited in Peru by glaciers using cosmogenic dating of beryllium. He hopes the inferences he makes will inform researchers about paleoclimate changes in the tropics, which can help researchers better understand and predict climate activity in the future. His research integrates topics from various geologic fields such as petrology, geochemistry, geochronology, climate science and glaciology. He was awarded a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) grant to fund his summer research.
He recently completed a summer internship at the Northeast Geophysical Services in Bangor.
The internship is intended to equip students with knowledge of the latest methods in the field of geology. During the internship, he learned how to survey bedrock depth, groundwater contamination and buried drums/tanks.
Mason pursued the internship to take the knowledge he learned in the classroom a step further and apply it in the field.
“I enjoy interpreting and making inferences about the data I collect. I’ll take a day in the field over a day behind a desk anytime,” Mason says.
Hailing from Tweksbury, Massachusetts, Mason hopes to attend graduate school in a field related to geology — such as petrology, structural/tectonic geology or geochemistry. After his master’s, he plans on pursuing a career in mineral exploration with the eventual goal of earning a Ph.D. and teaching geology at the college level.
“I feel that UMaine has provided me with avenues to discover and explore, and the School of Earth and Climate Sciences has provided me with the resources and tools to further my goals of being a researcher in the sciences,” Mason says. “I believe my experiences at the university have allowed me to become more competitive as an applicant in the job market and for graduate schools.”
One of Mason’s most memorable UMaine experiences was traveling to Utah and Arizona with the geology club for Spring Break 2014. Destinations included Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park. It was one of the best trips of his life, Mason says.