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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 5 hours 35 min ago
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The University of Maine Alumni Association will host the second annual Black Bear Business Conference on Friday, April 24 at the Buchanan Alumni House on the UMaine campus.
“Making it in Maine,” aims to connect would-be entrepreneurs from across the state with a range of available resources to help them succeed. The half-day conference, which runs from 1–5 p.m., will include presentations, exhibits and panel discussions on topics such as marketing, financing, technology and legal issues involved in launching a business.
Corson “Corky” Ellis of Kepware Technologies, a proponent of entrepreneurship in Maine and vice chair of the Maine Small Enterprise Growth Fund, a state-funded venture capital organization, is the keynote speaker.
An entrepreneurs panel including Kate McAleer, founder of Bixby & Co. craft chocolate, will speak about resources they tapped and challenges they overcame to launch successful businesses.
Tom Chappell, a Maine-based entrepreneur, author and environmentalist best known for co-founding Tom’s of Maine, will close the conference.
Participants will have the opportunity to network at a reception from 5–7 p.m.
Registration for the conference and reception is $25 for Maine residents and is available online. More information about the event, including a program and speaker biographies, is available on the UMaine Alumni Association website.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Susan Mullaney at 581.1147, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student research was displayed during the 6th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on April 14.
The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), was open to any undergraduate at the university and featured 121 presentations from 229 students in the form of 92 posters, 16 oral presentations or performances, and 13 exhibits. Several presentations included multiple students.
Following are the winning presentations:
- Samuel Gates of Old Town, Maine; and Meghan Hurlburt of Union, Maine, “Multi-Tag Radio Frequency Indication for Use in Indoor Positional Tracking Systems;” adviser: Nicholas Giudice, School of Computing and Information Science
- Danielle Walczak of Lee, New Hampshire, “Forward, Not Back: Young People’s Search for Farming and Community in Maine;” adviser: Melissa Ladenheim, Honors College (first place)
- Vincent Digiovanni of Belmont, Massachusetts, “Chemical Degradation and Functionalization of Acarbose for the Creation and Study of Novel Alpha Amylase Inhibitors Related to the Acarviostatin Family of Natural Products;” Adviser: Matthew Brichacek, Department of Chemistry (second place)
- Eliza Kane of Deer Isle, Maine, “The Geochemistry and Historical Ecology of a Burnt Mississippian House at the Lawrenz Gun Club Site in the Central Illinois River Valley;” adviser: Alice Kelley, School of Earth and Climate Sciences (first place)
- Kai Hermansen of Old Town, Maine; Abbie Gray of Poland, Maine; Evan Nadeau of Brewer, Maine; Viktoria Staples of Brooklin, Maine; and Roger Brasslett of Brewer, Maine, “Exercise Education at Brewer High School Health Class;” adviser: Elizabeth Bicknell, School of Nursing (second place)
- Jacob Posik of Turner, Maine; Cameron Marcotte of Lewiston, Maine; Jacob Hatch of Portland, Maine; Harold Trey Stewart III of Presque Isle, Maine; and Adam Thibodeau of Bangor, Maine, “Confronting The Challenges of Studentification in Residential Orono Neighborhoods;” adviser: Robert Glover, Department of Political Science (third place)
Also announced at the showcase were the five winners of a $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship:
- Spencer Desrochers of Biddeford, Maine, “Optimizing Power Usage of Modern Computing Systems;” adviser: Vincent Weaver, electrical and computer engineering
- Ailish Foley of Montville, Maine, “The Effects of Collection Time, Auxin Concentration, and Wounding on Root Formation of Softwood and Semi-Hardwood Cuttings of Rhododendron Canadense;” adviser: Bryan Peterson, School of Food and Agriculture
- Zachary Mason of Wells, Maine, “Increasing Resolution of Tropical Last Glacial Maximum Record with Cosmogenic Surface Exposure-Dating;” Brenda Hall, Earth and Climate Sciences
- Scott Mitchell of Haymarket, Virginia, “Use of FAME Profiling to Detect Differences in Microbial Activity in Compost from Horses Treated with and without Antibiotics;” adviser: Robert Causey, School of Food and Agriculture
- Jessica Moore of Bangor, Maine, “Investigating a Link Between Inflammation and Invasive Candidiasis;” adviser: Robert Wheeler, molecular and biomedical sciences
Gregory Porter, chairman of the Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences; and Matt Schultheis, a student in Porter’s lab, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about a new potato variety created by UMaine and the Maine Potato Board. Porter described the Caribou Russett as having high quality for fresh consumption, such as a baked or mashed potato, as well as for making healthier french fries. It also produces high yields and has a good internal quality, he told MPBN. Schultheis spoke about how a potato is created in the lab by collecting and transferring pollen. “I’m collecting pollen from individual clusters and then taking pollen from other plants and applying them to the stigma of individual other clusters that we have made for crossing by taking the anthers off and applying the pollen directly to the stigma,” he said.
The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the 2015 1st Lieutenant James R. Zimmerman Memorial Fitness Challenge at the University of Maine. The event, hosted by the UMaine Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), was established in 2011 to honor and remember Zimmerman, a 2008 UMaine graduate from Presque Isle, who was killed in action in November 2010 while in combat during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. More than 40 teams of four competed in a variety of physical activities including pack runs, pull ups and a crawl through a mud pit on the course through campus as well as surrounding fields and trails. “This is very special today; to have him remembered,” Zimmerman’s mother Jane told WVII.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) article, “Despite spread of Lyme disease, Mass. dedicates no money to prevention.” Dill said the extremely cold winter most likely didn’t kill many ticks because “most of them were three feet under … warm and well-insulated” by the snow, the article states. Northeast states generally don’t spend much on tick-borne disease prevention, according to the article, although Maine voters in November approved $8 million for a UMaine Extension lab that will test ticks and conduct other pest-related research. Massachusetts’ Eagle-Tribune, Lowell Sun and Worcester Telegram & Gazette carried the NECIR article.
WABI (Channel 5) covered the University Credit Union’s 8th annual Healthy High 5k/10k and 1-mile run/walk at the University of Maine on April 20. The race promotes health and wellness for members of the university and surrounding community. Proceeds benefit the UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and the Black Bear Exchange food pantry and thrift store. During the race, the UMaine student organization Male Athletes Against Violence hosted the awareness event, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” Male student-athletes wore red high heels and walked one mile to symbolize the difficulty of being a woman in today’s society. Organizers told WABI they hope the demonstration helps raise awareness for the prevention of sexual violence. WVII (Channel 7) also reported on the race.
The Bangor Daily News interviewed Kate Garland, a horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for an article on the science and folklore of companion planting. Science shows that planting certain crops together can yield more bountiful results and potentially keep pests away, according to the article. “A lot of people feel very strongly about companion planting. Maybe they learned about it from their grandfather or grandmother, so it may not be based in science — but it works,” Garland said. “But, no one person is going to be 100 percent right all the time.” Garland said there are many suggested plant pairings related to either plant compatibility or timing.
The Portland Press Herald published a feature for its “Meet” series on Esperanza Stancioff, an associate professor and climate change educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant. Stancioff oversees the Signs of the Seasons program, which uses volunteers to observe and record seasonal changes as a way to track Maine’s changing climate, according to the article. “We are constantly reaching out to people all over the state, and we’d love to have more people out there observing,” Stancioff said of the program that began in 2010. “The more data, the better information we are going to get.”
Nicolle Littrell, a University of Maine women’s studies educator and Belfast filmmaker, wrote an article for the Bangor Daily News about UMaine’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Her article examines five common misconceptions about the discipline that persist despite recent curriculum changes that reflect a broader, more inclusive approach to programming. Some of the myths are addressed in a new video campaign from the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program titled, “This is what a UMaine Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Student Looks Like,” according to the article. The campaign launches Tuesday, April 21, in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union.
More than 80 student leaders gathered in Orono for a summit to discuss ways to improve student culture and involvement across all seven campuses of the University of Maine System, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and WVII (Channel 7) reported. During the conference, students were expected to hear talks by UMaine President Susan J. Hunter, University of Maine System Chancellor James Page, and other university leaders, as well as presentations from student leaders across the system, according to MPBN.
The Bangor Daily News referenced University of Maine Cooperative Extension videos and a guide on how to compost in the article, “Interested in composting? Here’s what you need to get started.” The report cited the UMaine Extension bulletin, “Home Composting,” as well as two videos featuring Mark Hutchinson, a UMaine Extension educator and professor.
The University of Maine will award honorary doctorates on May 9 to alumni Dana Connors of Gray, Maine, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Rezendes of Boulder, Colorado, who pioneered the hospice program in the United States; and M. Peter McPherson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
The honorary doctorates will be conferred at UMaine’s 213th Commencement, part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration.
McPherson will deliver a keynote address at both the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ceremonies.
As the leader of the state’s largest and most diverse business association for more than 20 years, Dana Connors oversees the Maine State Chamber’s broad range of activities: advocacy efforts, economic development initiatives, workforce development opportunities, and a wide variety of member services on behalf of the state’s business community.
Connors began his career as the city manager of Presque Isle for 16 years, and then spent 11 years as commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. He has been president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce since 1994.
A Maine native, Connors received a bachelor’s degree in public management from UMaine in 1965. He has been appointed by the Governor to serve on the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and the State of Maine Governor’s Business Roundtable for Early Childhood Development. Other boards on which he currently serves include Maine Economic Research Institute; Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and Maine & Company.
Dennis Rezendes provided national leadership to improve end-of-life care for millions of people by helping establish the hospice program in this country, offering quality and compassionate care for those with terminal illnesses. As a volunteer and philanthropist, he devoted himself to educational and social justice causes at home and abroad. He is a strong believer in the power of education to open minds and change lives. With his wife, he has contributed generously to scholarships and the arts, and has created UMaine endowments to support a visiting scholar in ethics, an ethics essay competition and the Honors College.
Under the auspicious of the Global Volunteers organization, he also endowed a program enabling a student to volunteer for two weeks in a Third World country.
Rezendes is a member of the Charles F. Allen Society, President’s Club and Stillwater Society. In 2012 he received the Stillwater Presidential Award. In 2014, he was the recipient of Bernard Lown ’42 Alumni Humanitarian Award. He received the Founder’s Award from the National Hospice Organization (NHO), which provided national leadership to define hospice and develop the standards of hospice care. Rezendes provided direct leadership in the passage of federal legislation enabling hospice care to be a Medicare benefit. In New Haven, Connecticut in 1974, he became the nation’s first hospice executive director, guiding the development of the first hospice program of care.
Of Portuguese heritage, Rezendes is a second-generation immigrant and the first of his family to graduate from college. After graduating from UMaine in 1957 as an honors student with a degree in public management, he continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School. From 1960–70 he served as director of administration for the City of New Haven, Connecticut. He has had a successful career both in government and the private sector.
Since 2006, M. Peter 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 co-founded to address agricultural production and rural income issues. He is chair of the advisory committee for HarvestPlus, an organization funded at approximately $40 million annually 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.
McPherson received an MBA from Western Michigan University and a J.D. from American University Law School.
Dollars & Sense: Real World Economics published, “Maine farmers and climate change: Reactive or proactive?” by three University of Maine professors. The article was written by Stephanie Welcomer, an associate professor of management and associate dean of the Maine Business School; Mark Haggerty, an associate professor of Honors and Rezendes Preceptorship of Civil Engagement; and John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
The Kansas City Star article “Kansas and Missouri move to tighten welfare rules” cites a 2013 study by Sandra Butler, a University of Maine social work professor. Butler’s study, “TANF Time Limits and Maine Families: Consequences of Withdrawing the Safety Net,” found that families kicked off Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because exceeding lifetime benefits in Maine experienced an increased reliance on food banks, inability to pay utility and other bills, and overcrowded housing conditions or reliance on homeless shelters, according to the article.
The Village Soup reported Julia Sell of Cushing is one of two University of Maine seniors who have been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Sell is a physics major, honors student and undergraduate researcher at UMaine’s Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology. Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, a biochemistry major and honors student at UMaine, also was among 2,000 students nationwide selected from among 16,500 applicants in the 2015 competition.