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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 10 hours 22 min ago
The University of Maine’s top honors are being awarded to faculty in civil engineering, philosophy, history and communication.
The 2015 Distinguished Maine Professor is Bill Davids, the John C. Bridge Professor of Civil Engineering. The annual award is presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in UMaine’s statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community engagement.
Kirsten Jacobson, associate professor of philosophy, will receive the 2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; Richard Judd, Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History, will receive the 2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and associate professor of communication, will receive the 2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.
The award recipients will be honored at the Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon, noon–1:30 p.m., May 9 at Wells Conference Center.
“In our 150th anniversary year, there is no better way to look at the difference a land grant university makes than through the quality teaching, research and community engagement demonstrated by four faculty members of this caliber,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “The work of Bill, Kirsten, Dick and Laura in Maine is known nationally and internationally. The direct beneficiaries are UMaine students and the people of Maine.”
The following faculty citations are excerpted from the nomination packages submitted to the selection committees:
2015 Distinguished Maine Professor
John C. Bridge Professor of Civil Engineering
Bill Davids is a gifted, committed educator and outstanding researcher with a strong record of public service. His popular and rigorous upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses produce well-prepared structural engineers who truly understand how engineers design. Davids’ internationally recognized research applies numerical modeling to a wide range of multidisciplinary problems. He has made fundamental contributions to structural, geotechnical, environmental and pavement engineering, and engineering mechanics. Davids’ work has been central to many University of Maine-developed technologies, including blast-resistant structures. His work on inflatable structures resulted in a NASA-funded project focused on atmospheric reentry systems for spacecraft. The breadth of Davids’ expertise makes him a resource for the state. As a structural engineer with particular expertise in bridge engineering, he is frequently tapped by the Maine Department of Transportation for critical safety assessments. He also has helped many Maine-based engineering firms solve difficult structural modeling problems. Davids’ many national, state and UMaine awards include the 2012 L.J. Markwardt Wood Engineering Award from the Forest Products Society and the George Marra Award from the Society of Wood Science and Technology. In 2010, he was named the State of Maine Civil Engineer of the Year by the Maine chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Davids was the UMaine valedictorian in 1989. He also received a master’s degree in civil engineering from UMaine in 1991, and a Ph.D. in civil and structural engineering from the University of Washington in 1998. That year, Davids joined the UMaine College of Engineering faculty. He has chaired the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2012.
2015 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award
Kirsten E. Jacobson
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Kirsten E. Jacobson is recognized for her enthusiasm for teaching and how she encourages students to think for themselves. Since coming to the University of Maine in 2006, she has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy and the philosophy of art, and has created topics-based courses in response to the interests and demands of students, and reflecting her active research. By incorporating ideas, examples and texts from multiple disciplines — from biology and political science to art history and physics — she empowers students in active learning. She encourages students to find the relevance of significant philosophical debates in their lives and in the community, marrying theoretical engagement with practical concerns. That involvement goes beyond the classroom, as Jacobson advises students in Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy honor society, and the Philosophy Club. Another example of Jacobson’s commitment to the quality and value of teaching is in the volunteer-based service-learning program she established in 2009 called Philosophy Across the Ages. The initiative connects UMaine undergraduates with area high school students and retirement community members to discuss philosophical questions and examine their relevance in everyday life. Philosophy Across the Ages epitomizes Jacobson’s commitment as a teacher to “continue always to ask questions of myself and others about the nature of human experience in order that we might become increasingly adept at reflecting and responding to the reality of our situation.” Jacobson received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in 1996 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University in 2006.
2015 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award
Richard W. Judd
Col. James C. McBride Distinguished Professor of History
Richard W. Judd is an internationally recognized researcher and author of environmental history who exemplifies the importance of academic scholarship with a public purpose. By bringing a Maine and New England perspective to bear on how environmental history is conducted and conceptualized, Judd’s research has reshaped — and continues to inform — this area of scholarship. He has inspired the current generation of environmental historians and earned UMaine a reputation for pioneering environmental history research. The depth and breadth of Judd’s scholarship were most recently reflected in The Historical Atlas of Maine, published this year by the University of Maine Press. Judd co-edited and contributed to the Atlas, a geographical and historical interpretation of Maine, from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000. The volume culminates a 15-year humanities project led by Judd, Stephen Hornsby and other UMaine researchers. Judd also is the award-winning author of 11 books, including Second Nature: An Environmental History of New England, published last year; and the definitive history of the state, Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present, published in 1995. His 12th book, Finding Thoreau: The Meaning of Nature in the Making of an Environmental Icon, is expected in 2016. For three decades, he has been the lead editor of the state journal of historical record, Maine History, published by the UMaine History Department and the Maine Historical Society. Judd came to UMaine as a postdoctoral researcher in 1980 and joined the History Department faculty four years later. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University, Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Irvine.
2015 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award
Laura A. Lindenfeld
Director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center
Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism
As a researcher of communication, Laura A. Lindenfeld has demonstrated a deep commitment to applying her knowledge and skills to enhancing the public good and well being of citizens and organizations in Maine. Her research focuses on understanding stakeholders’ needs and helping build more effective partnerships, developing strategies to help align University of Maine resources with the state’s needs. By linking her research, teaching and mentorship of students to on-the-ground action, she has advanced collaboration across organizations and contexts. In 2013 in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development, she launched UMaine’s Faculty Fellows — a two-year professional development program to empower 20 faculty leaders to advance the impact of their work by engaging with communities and university stakeholders. The second cohort of Faculty Fellows is now being selected. Lindenfeld’s community engagement initiatives also include leadership on engaging students in a series of advertising campaigns that directly supported local businesses and nonprofit organizations; stewardship of teacher training grants to support English as a Second Language educators in Maine; membership on the Governor’s Task Force to Engage Maine’s Youth; and service on the Maine Humanities Council. Lindenfeld joined the UMaine faculty in 2004. She received a master’s degree in German and Scandinavian literature and language studies from the University of Bonn, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported Katelyn Massey of Waterville is the 2015 salutatorian at the University of Maine. Massey is a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. Her academic honors include the Frederick W. and Marianne Hill Scholarship, the Marcus L. Urann Scholarship, Class of 1945 Scholarship, and the Jane Gerry Chase Hangar Scholarship. She also was named a Kornetsky Scholar as the graduating psychology student with the highest GPA. For the past four years, Massey 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, Massey will pursue graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at UMaine. She also has been selected for a clinical assistantship in UMaine’s Audiology Clinic.
Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism at the University of Maine, was one of 10 people and three organizations to be honored at the 18th annual Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast in Brewer, WLBZ (Channel 2) reported. Morin has been the lead on UMaine’s blood drive program for five years, according to the report. Since beginning her work with the Red Cross, Morin has organized more than 30 blood drives, which have recruited more than 3,000 donors and collected 2,852 units of blood, the report states.
Orono High School students visited the University of Maine to prepare for an upcoming engineering and design competition, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported. Instructors from the Advanced Structures and Composites Center helped students transform raw materials into solid, functional wind blades in advance of the seventh annual Wind Blade Challenge that will be held at UMaine on May 1, according to WABI.
Patrick Nason, an undergraduate student in social work at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “How Upward Bound helps low-income, first-generation students succeed.” Nason participated in Upward Bound Math and Science at UMaine from 2012–2014. The article is one of several student pieces produced in an American government class taught by political science professor Amy Fried. Students in the class write and submit letters to the editor or elected officials, or op-eds.
The Village Soup reported University of Maine geographer Stephen Hornsby will discuss the newly published “Historical Atlas of Maine” April 28 as part of Camden Public Library’s Maritime Month. The atlas is a geographical and historical interpretation of the state, from the end of the last ice age to 2000. It culminates a 15-year scholarly project led by UMaine researchers. Hornsby and UMaine historian Richard Judd edited the book that contains cartography by Michael Hermann.
Dana Morse, a Maine Sea Grant researcher who works at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News article, “How Maine’s sea farms could be key to feeding the world.” The article argues that Atlantic salmon could be Maine’s farm-raised lobster. Morse said while production of Maine shellfish such as mussels and oysters has been growing, Atlantic salmon brings in the most money for fish farmers. In 2010, blue mussels and American oysters were valued at $1.3 million and $1.7 million, respectively. Meanwhile, Atlantic salmon was valued at $73.5 million in 2010, the article states.
WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine student Spencer Wood was named the winner of the latest Big Gig pitch-off finale at the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Finalists from the last three Big Gig pitch-off events competed for a $1,500 grand prize sponsored by University Credit Union. Wood presented the app Tip Whip that would allow college students to find a ride within a 3-mile ride radius of their location in order to avoid drunk driving, WVII reported. The Big Gig is a series of business pitch events for entrepreneurs in Greater Bangor designed to bring together Bangor-Orono area innovators and entrepreneurs and offer networking opportunities. It was started by a partnership between UMaine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.
The Sun Journal reported on Androscoggin and Oxford county winners of the statewide National History Day (NHD) competition held at the University of Maine in March. NHD is an academic program that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in this year’s state contest. Exhibits, papers, websites, documentaries and performances were judged, with the top winners becoming eligible to compete in the national contest at the University of Maryland, College Park in June. Students from Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland, Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, Hartford Sumner Elementary School in Sumner and T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield were among this year’s winners, the article states.
The research and creative achievement of more than 80 faculty members will be honored at the University of Maine in Celebrating Scholarship, April 21 at the Collins Center for the Arts.
The event, from 5–7 p.m., is part of UMane’s 150th anniversary celebration and will feature exhibits highlighting UMaine faculty scholarship since 2011, including research, books, and visual and performing arts. Celebrating Scholarship, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, is free and open to the public.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has presented its top student and faculty awards:
Outstanding Senior: Robert Fasano, a physics major; Outstanding Graduate Student: Hamdane Bordji, a student in the Global Policy program, School of Policy and International Affairs; Graduate Student Excellence in Research and Creative Activity: Kourtney Collum, anthropology; Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching: Rachel Snell, history.
Outstanding Faculty Awards: Daniel Sandweiss, professor of anthropology and climate studies, Research and Creative Achievement; Amy Fried, professor of political science, Service and Outreach; Kirsten Jacobson, professor of philosophy, Teaching and Advising.
Krista Capps, a research assistant professor in the University of Maine’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, was quoted in the Lab Manager article “Study finds new link between environment, urban diets.” An international team led by Arizona State University found that what people eat — and what they excrete as waste — can influence the nutrient cycle on a large scale, according to the article. A study published in the journal Oikos shows a team of five researchers, including Capps, found urban diets can significantly influence the nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, found in municipal waste streams, the article states. “We’re working to understand the fundamental ways humans shape the ecosystems in which they live,” Capps said.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “At $385 billion, tax fraud amounts to the theft of a nation,” by Steven Barkan, a sociology professor at the University of Maine. Barkan also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.
WVII (Channel 7) interviewed University of Maine student Sara Disselkamp about Something to Snuggle, a nonprofit she started to create and donate handmade blankets to foster children. “I’ve always known I wanted to give back to children in the foster care system or other adoptees,” said Disselkamp, a social work major who was adopted herself. Disselkamp said she chose blankets because often when children are removed from a home, they don’t have anything other than the clothes they’re wearing. “I feel so passionately that everyone deserves to have something to call their own,” she said.
The Maine Edge reported the University of Maine Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) held a situational training exercise for its cadets in March at the university’s Demeritt Forest. The training places cadets in real-life scenarios, causing them to think on their feet and put all training to use, according to the article. The ROTC is a four-year program of college courses that are taken in addition to being a full-time college student. The classes are designed to develop and strengthen a cadet’s skills in leadership, values and life, the article states.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-class workshop on building, planting, maintaining and harvesting square-foot gardens in raised beds and containers.
Classes meet monthly from April through September at the UMaine Extension office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. The first class is 9–11 a.m. April 28; the final class is Sept. 15. Somerset County Cooperative Extension staff will teach the classes, and local Master Gardener Volunteers will work with participants in demonstration gardens throughout the growing season. Harvested produce will be shared with area schools as well as senior and food kitchen programs.
Course fee is $20 per person. To register, for more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pete Bastien at 474.9622, 800.287.1495 (in Maine), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning about commerce in Brazil, France, Japan or Sweden, or doing business in Australia or the United Kingdom? Check out the International Trade Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the atrium of the D.P. Corbett Business Building at the University of Maine.
“It’s a chance for the community to learn about many different countries and the business opportunities that are available abroad,” says Clint Relyea, course instructor and a Maine Business School lecturer in management. “Basically it’s bringing the world to the Maine Business School and bringing the Maine Business School to the world. It should be fun and informative.”
Fourteen teams, each with 10 students, will showcase their respective international trade exhibitions that promote doing business in Brazil, China, Japan, Argentina, Sweden, Ireland, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, France, Singapore and Austria.
“I hope that students will be more informed about the many different facets of working in a country as an expatriate,” Relyea says. “As business professionals they will be ready to work with other cultures and be able to sell the positives of their own country through project management.”
Area professionals will judge the exhibitions on content — including relevance and quality of information — as well as overall appearance, creativity and appearance of effort. After the showcase, students will write a paper reflecting on what they learned during the semester-long project.
Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, is the 2015 valedictorian at the University of Maine and Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, is the salutatorian.
They will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 213th Commencement in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 9.
Beacham, a biochemistry major and honors student, was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. Most recently, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
At UMaine, Beacham has been involved in the national Phage Genomics Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by taking the HON 150/155 Phage Genomics course. She interned at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, an affiliate of Cornell University, where her work focused on the commercial algae biofuel production, and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, studying cilia differentiation in sea urchin and sand dollar embryos.
On campus, Beacham’s research has focused on mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. In collaboration with Assistant Research Professor Sally Molloy, Beacham studied a particular phage named Ukulele that was isolated at UMaine in the Phage Genomics course Beacham took in her first year. Beacham’s project focused on identifying which genes encode the proteins that are involved in regulating Ukulele’s life cycles.
Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement included fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, and research fellowships from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).
Beyond the laboratory and classroom, Beacham has been involved in many student organizations, including the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which took her to Honduras in 2013 to finish installing a septic system in a rural community. She also was a member of Alternative Breaks, and campus-based All Maine Women and Sophomore Eagles honor societies. Beacham was a teaching assistant and, in 2013, took first place in the annual Rezendes Ethics Essay contest.
This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. She hopes to be a professor and contribute to science policy.
Massey is a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. Her academic honors include the Frederick W. and Marianne Hill Scholarship, the Marcus L. Urann Scholarship, Class of 1945 Scholarship, and the Jane Gerry Chase Hangar Scholarship. She also was named a Kornetsky Scholar as the graduating psychology student with the highest GPA.
For the past four years, Massey 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. She and her teammates have been active in fundraising and volunteer activities in the community, and local youth hockey clinics.
This fall, Massey will pursue graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at UMaine. She also has been selected for a clinical assistantship in UMaine’s Audiology Clinic.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Michael Bailey, a third-year history major at the University of Maine, has been awarded the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship for the 2015–16 academic year and will study abroad in Ireland as part of the student exchange program.
As a George J. Mitchell Scholar, Bailey plans to learn more about history and peace to not only further his academic and career aspirations, but also to enhance his ability to improve the community.
The scholarship honors the 1998 Northern Ireland peace accord brokered by Sen. Mitchell between Ireland and the United Kingdom and is open to full-time undergraduate students in the University of Maine system. The all-expenses paid scholarship allows one student to study for a year, or two students to study for a semester each, at University College Cork in Ireland.
“Through studying history and active community involvement, I will make my community a better place while I am in Cork, when I return to Orono, and for the rest of my life,” Bailey says.
While overseas, Bailey, who aspires to earn a doctorate in history, plans to study Ireland within the context of the early modern period and as a place of imperialist and counter-imperialist hostility.
“Understanding the beginnings of imperialism in our era, I truly believe, is the first logical steps toward understanding how and why people come to dominate other people. It’s also the first step toward fighting the process,” Bailey says.
Bailey describes himself as a lifelong activist dedicated to improving his community and plans to give back when he returns by organizing residence hall events about study abroad and volunteerism; speaking about the trip to grade school children in the Black Bear Mentors program; and bringing home a more broadened awareness of the world.
Bailey, a first-generation college student originally from Lynn, Massachusetts who grew up and attended high school in Sen. Mitchell’s hometown of Waterville, says he is looking forward to the challenge of living abroad in a new culture and is confident he will adapt well to a new environment.
As a resident assistant on campus, Bailey has experience not only taking care of himself, but taking responsibility for others, he says. Growing up as a child of a struggling single parent, Bailey often was in charge of running the household, as well.
Bailey is a member of Divest UMaine and he is interested in looking into divestment at UCC with Tadhg Moore, a George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship recipient from UCC that Bailey befriended while Moore studied at UMaine.
As president of the Maine Peace Action Committee, Bailey has reached out to students to advocate becoming involved in the university and community. He has helped lead the group in organizing their film series and newsletter, participated in campus sustainability efforts and played an important leadership role in organizing a weekend trip to New York City for The People’s Climate March this past fall. He is vice president of the History Club and is involved with the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and Phi Alpha Theta Historical Society.
Bailey is a firm believer of supporting labor organizations and was awarded a competitive internship in the Maine State Department of Labor in summer 2014 where he conducted research on the history of Maine’s labor laws.
More about the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship is online.
The Sun Journal reported that Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington is the 2015 valedictorian at the University of Maine. Beacham, a biochemistry major and Honors student, also was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. Most recently, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. The Daily Bulldog also carried a report about Beacham.