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News from the University of Maine
Updated: 1 hour 2 min ago
In 2013 at the end of his junior year at the Maine Business School, Ethan Hawes was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer that typically hits older people.
After battling through months of treatments, including hip surgery in 2013 and a stem cell transplant in 2014, he will graduate in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a concentration in international business. And cancer free.
During his nearly two-year ordeal, the Maine Business School became one of his strongest support systems, said Hawes, who grew up in Eliot, Maine.
“My professors took time to understand the seriousness of my condition and accommodate my needs when I’d have to miss class or couldn’t get a paper in on time,” he said. “Because of my chemotherapy, I often had trouble concentrating and retaining information. But my professors were happy to work with me. They not only wanted me to succeed academically, but were concerned about how I was doing physically and emotionally. And my classmates were incredible — everyone was thoughtful and caring, asking what I needed and helping me feel like a normal college student even though I had a cancer diagnosis that made me feel so different.”
How did your cancer diagnosis change you?
It completely changed my outlook on education — and life in general. I began to take more interest in my studies and became an active participant in class. When cancer hit me, I realized I wanted to make the most of my education — and all that life had to offer. It didn’t matter if I answered a question incorrectly. I was just grateful to be in the classroom and to be able to learn about business and the world.
Since the diagnosis, everything has moved so fast. It’s like I was hit by a tornado and I’m now picking up the debris. I have become a more compassionate person because I know what pain and suffering is. One of my biggest goals was just to continue with classes and make it through to graduation. Now that I have done that, I feel stronger and more confident: if I can do this, I can do anything! I am still trying to make sense of everything and understand this new person I have become. I finally feel like the old Ethan but with a new perspective and outlook on life.
What led to your diagnosis?
I was running a marathon in Madrid, Spain, in April, 2013, during my semester abroad, when I felt a shooting pain in my hip. It became progressively worse and by the time I got back home I could barely put any weight on it. After a tumor was discovered, I was sent to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for tests. I was initially diagnosed in July with a plasma cytoma, but a week later they found another tumor; so the diagnosis became multiple myeloma. Doctors told me that at age 22, I was one of the youngest people they had ever seen with the disease. According to statistics, the median age at diagnosis for multiple myeloma is 70 years of age. The percentages of people diagnosed with multiple myeloma based on age were 0.0 percent under age 20 and 0.6 percent between ages 20 and 34. It was like winning the lottery in the worst possible way.
In August 2013 I had radiation treatments that eradicated the tumor in my leg. From October 2013–May 2014 I underwent chemotherapy at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
How did you pursue your education and what kept you going?
After my diagnosis, my family and friends thought I should take time off from school. But doctors agreed with me that I should return to MBS in September 2013. Because my overall physical fitness was pretty good thanks to years of baseball, basketball and soccer, they thought I’d be able to tolerate the treatments. Although I was often tired, I was able to handle everything. I took a modified course load and was happy to be back at school to experience some normalcy. But inside I was grappling with a sense of disconnect and isolation.
I was determined to see this as a challenge and refused to let my diagnosis define me or defeat me. Of course there were days when I would question why this happened to me. During the bad times I would reach out to my friends and family who gave me unconditional love and support. I would look back on the cards, messages and words of encouragement they sent me. Knowing how much they cared always made me feel better. I couldn’t have done this without my family. My parents, who are University of Maine alumni, are grateful that their alma mater has cared for me in such a special way.
When did you become cancer-free?
I underwent stem cell surgery on June 23, 2014, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. I used my own stem cells so if the cancer returns I have the option of using a donor’s cells which is a much more aggressive procedure. My actual birthday is June 5, but June 23 is the day I became cancer free and it is a day I will always celebrate. After surgery I was in isolation for three weeks before returning home. One of the scariest moments was when I developed pneumonia a week later and had to return to the hospital. Finally, in mid-July I started the recovery process. I had no choice but to take off the fall 2014 semester. I was exhausted and could barely keep a conversation going. I needed a nap after walking up the stairs. Because of my weakened immune system, I had to wear a mask and gloves when I went outside the house. It was difficult to look at myself because I not only didn’t recognize me physically, I didn’t even feel like the same person. I honestly believed that I would be okay but I was worried about my mental and emotional side and wondered if I would ever really be able to come back.
Returning to school in January 2015 was the best feeling in the world. I started exercising again and felt stronger every day. Although I’m in complete remission, I will undergo chemotherapy every couple of weeks for two years as a precaution. I am being checked frequently for my blood counts.
I have formed close relationships with faculty and students at MBS and been able to have a small-school experience while getting the benefits of a large university. Thanks to my study abroad experience and a marketing internship at the UMaine Department of Athletics, I feel confident that MBS has given me a great business foundation and the skills to embark upon a career.
I am looking forward to life after graduation and feel ready to venture out into the real world with confidence. I hope to pursue a career in hospitality management or in hospital administration and am considering some job offers.
What were some of your most inspiring moments during your battle with cancer?
On Oct. 13, 2013, I received a call from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a longstanding supporter of Dana-Farber. He had heard my story and wanted to extend his good wishes. He invited me to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro two days later where I got to shake his hand on the field just before the Patriots played the Miami Dolphins.
Also that October, a family friend from Eliot started a team in my name called Ethan’s E-Team, part of the annual Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon that raises money for Dana-Farber. Before the race she presented me with a huge photo of my Pi Kappa Alpha brothers from UMaine wearing Ethan E-Team hats. It was great to walk around campus that year and see my fraternity brothers wearing my hat.
Another memorable moment occurred during a finance exam just before my stem cell transplant in June 2014. I looked around at my classmates and became emotional because I knew I was going into a potentially life threatening procedure. The uncertainty of the future was frightening. But being in a classroom made me feel safe and grateful to be a student at MBS. After the exam, Professor Pank Agrrawal gave me a hug and said, “You already passed the exam of life.” His words were so powerful. I’ll never forget them.
What can people learn from your experience?
Take one day at a time, appreciate every moment and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s good to have goals, but ultimately, there is so much in life that we can’t control. Accept that challenges and obstacles are inevitable but also that the hardships and difficult times really do make you stronger and a better person overall.
National Geographic Society is funding an archaeological project this summer along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, led by Gregory Zaro, University of Maine associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. Zaro will be joined by colleagues from the University of Zadar, Croatia, and students from both the University of Zadar and UMaine. The excavation is the next phase in building a long-term program of study concerning human society, environment and climate in the eastern Adriatic region. The initiative to study urban transformation and landscape change at the Nadin archaeological site in Croatia grew out of Zaro’s Fulbright experience at the University of Zadar in 2013.
Cities are a dominant factor in global environmental change today, but as a long-term process, urbanization has played a significant role in shaping our planet’s landscapes and environments for millennia, effectively creating anthropogenic landscapes. Recognition of this point opens the door for archaeological research to make significant contributions to contemporary urban/ecological issues, while also generating cross-cultural knowledge about urbanism in the ancient, historic and modern worlds.
Zaro’s project is a field program of archaeological excavation and analysis at the Nadin archaeological site, a moderately sized center in Croatia’s Ravni Kotari region along the Adriatic Sea. The site is situated near the 3,000-year-old city of Zadar, an important social and economic center in the region today, but one that faces significant urban/ecological challenges over the coming century.
With a nearly 2,500-year record of (possibly intermittent) occupational history, Nadin affords the opportunity to investigate the relationship between phases of urban growth and decline, and broader changes in landscape and environment — processes that persist around Zadar today.
The project work will generate archaeological data related to urban form, spatial organization, economy, subsistence and environment from the site’s inception in the Iron Age. The project will also work to more precisely delineate the site’s chronology, an essential prerequisite to articulating changes in urban form with broader changes in landscape and environment. The results will help build a range of knowledge on human-environmental interactions in the Zadar region, offering deep-time perspectives on contemporary issues.
The University of Maine System Board of Trustees has approved promotion and/or tenure for 19 University of Maine faculty members. The faculty were nominated by UMaine President Susan J. Hunter based on a peer and administrative review of their successful work in teaching, research and public service.
“The annual tenure and promotion process is truly a celebration of the excellence of our faculty,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “They are key to helping UMaine fulfill its statewide mission of teaching, research, scholarship, economic development and outreach. And they are essential to the UMaine distinction — from the student experience and community engagement to the national- and international-caliber research.”
University of Maine Faculty Promoted and/or Tenured, 2014-15
Promoted to professor
College of Education and Human Development
- Susan K. Gardner, Higher Education
College of Engineering
- Ali Abedi, Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Philip A. Dunn, Jr., Construction Management Technology
- Michael D. Mason, Chemical and Biological Engineering
- Judith R. Pearse, Electrical Engineering Technology
- Yifeng Zhu, Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Amy M. Blackstone, Sociology
- Laura A. Lindenfeld, Mass Communication/Media Studies and Public Policy
- Nathan E. Stormer, Communication and Journalism
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
- Kathleen P. Bell, Resource Economics and Policy
- John J. Daigle, Forest Recreation Management
- Eric R. Gallandt, Weed Ecology and Management
- Brian J. McGill, Ecological Modeling
Promoted to professor with tenure
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
- Gordon S. Hamilton, Earth Sciences and Climate Change Institute
Promoted to associate professor with tenure
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
- Brian J. Olsen, Biology and Ecology
Granted tenure at current rank of associate professor
- Mark E. Haggerty, Rezendes Preceptor of Civil Engagement
Promoted to Extension professor
- Jennifer F. Lobley, Cooperative Extension
Promoted to associate Extension professor with continuing contract
- Mitchell D. Mason, Cooperative Extension
- Kathryn G. Yerxa, Cooperative Extension
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Gary Anderson, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension professor, was quoted in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report, “Raw milk battle divides Maine’s dairy industry.” Lawmakers are considering two bills on raw milk sales, according to the report. One bill would exempt dairy farms from state licensing and inspection requirements if they produce less than 20 gallons of milk a day for sale at their farms or farmers markets, while the other bill would exempt dairy farms only if the raw milk is sold directly to consumers at the farm, the report states. “Although we can appreciate aspects of this bill to support small dairy businesses, if raw milk licensing and inspection are exempt, these small farmers will not receive education and suggestions to maintain a sanitary environment, which may increase the risk of food-borne illnesses associated with unpasteurized dairy products,” said Anderson, who testified on the bills without taking a position.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News analysis, “Why LePage’s Portland offensive is a stroke of political genius.” According to the article, LePage has been traveling the state to promote his proposed budget that centers on tax reform. “If you’re a lawmaker, and you’re on the fence, and all of a sudden you start hearing from constituents who have seen this audit, and who think it’s perfectly clear the spending is wasteful, that can only help [LePage],” Brewer said.
Boothbay Register reported Timothy Miller, laboratory manager at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Professional Employee Award. The annual award, presented by UMaine’s Professional Employees Advisory Council, recognizes dedication to serving others, the highest level of professional services and standards within disciplines or areas of responsibility, a commitment to creating a better campus environment and significant public service contributions. For more than two decades, Miller has been the laboratory manager at the center in Walpole. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 170-acre, 22-building campus that has an extensive teaching, research and community outreach mission in marine sciences.
Leadership Unplugged, sponsored by the Maine Development Foundation, opens its spring series at the University of Maine on March 25. UMaine President Susan J. Hunter will discuss “Preparing the Next Generation of Women in Leadership” at the 7:30–9 a.m. breakfast at Wells Conference Center. Online registration is required; the registration fee, which includes breakfast, is waived for members of the UMaine community. More information about the Maine Development Foundation series is online.
For UMaine community members: When completing the online registration form, indicate that your organization is the University of Maine. Select member or nonmember rate to allow the form to go through. When you get to the credit card payment page, simply close out of it. You will receive registration confirmation.
Women in Leadership Week at the University of Maine, March 24–26, will feature a series of public events leading to the Installation of UMaine President Susan J. Hunter on March 26.
Women’s Leadership Week is part of UMaine’s yearlong 150th anniversary celebration.
“Women in Leadership Week is a celebration of the installation of UMaine’s first woman president, but it is also a time to reflect on the many ways that women have shaped our university, to recognize the challenges that women continue to face, and to recommit ourselves to nurturing the next generation of women leaders,” says Jeffrey E. Hecker, UMaine executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, and chair of the Women in Leadership Week committee.
Highlighting the Installation Ceremony of UMaine’s 20th president will be a keynote address, “Leading with a Cause,” by Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York System. The Installation Ceremony begins at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a reception, all in the Collins Center for the Arts.
In 2009, Zimpher became the 12th chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education. Prior to joining SUNY, Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at Ohio State University. She has written or co-written numerous books, monographs and academic journal articles on teacher education, urban education, academic leadership and school/university partnerships.
Women in Leadership Week begins with a panel discussion on March 24. A list of all public events follows:
Women in Leadership Panel Discussion
4–5:30 p.m. March 24
Minsky Recital Hall
A discussion based on “Centered Leadership” by Joanna Barsh with panelists Emily Cain, Elizabeth Sutherland and Meredith Jones.
Moderated by Carol Kim, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school.
Maryann Hartman Awards Ceremony
5:30–7 p.m. March 24
Buchanan Alumni House
Award winners: Maria Girouard, Deborah Thompson, Florence Reed and Nicole Maines.
RSVP to email@example.com.
7:30–9 a.m. March 25
Wells Conference Center
Guest speaker UMaine President Susan J. Hunter on “Preparing the Next Generation of Women in Leadership.”
Sponsored by the Maine Development Foundation.
Registration required (https://mdf.wufoo.com/forms/mar3qok1qdhftx/); no fee of members of UMaine community.
Tea and Conversation with Women Student Leaders
2:30–3:30 p.m. March 25
Wells Conference Center
Panel discussion, “Perspectives from UMaine Student Leaders,” moderated by Emily Haddad, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the Division of Student Life.
Why Networking Matters to You
4–6 p.m. March 25
Buchanan Alumni House
Hosted by the University of Maine Alumni Association with guest speaker alumna Emily Cain.
RSVP at umainealumni.com.
Installation of the University of Maine’s 20th President Susan J. Hunter
3 p.m. March 26
Collins Center for the Arts
Keynote address, “Leading with a Cause,” by Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York System.
Immediately following the Installation, a reception for President Hunter will be held at the Collins Center for the Arts.
Mainebiz reported the University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board have unveiled a new potato variety, Caribou Russet. The potato is a cross between a Silverton Russet and Reeves Kingpin and is described as having “high yields, mid-season maturity and moderate common scab resistance,” as well as “good baked and mashed quality for fresh market consumption,” the article states. The potato also is expected to be useful for processing markets. The new variety was developed at UMaine in the breeding program overseen by Gregory Porter, chairman of the Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences. The Bangor Daily News, Potato News Today and PotatoPro.com also reported on the Caribou Russet. The full Maine Potato Board release is online.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 28th Expanding Your Horizons conference at the University of Maine. Nearly 500 middle school girls from around the state attended the event that aims to provide a safe and encouraging environment to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Expanding Your Horizons, which is coordinated by the UMaine Women’s Resource Center with support from the Maine Girls Collaborative Project, featured workshops for students and teachers. Workshops were offered on a variety of STEM-related topics, as well as on gender equity and confidence building. “It’s really introducing the girls to the different STEM fields and careers that are out there. Giving the females role models in those fields so they can see that it’s attainable,” said Jennifer Dunham, special projects assistant at the Women’s Resource Center.
The Free Press reported Kisei Tanaka, a doctoral student at the University of Maine, was one of several presenters at the 40th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum held in Rockport. Tanaka, who spoke during a session on climate change, explained a new computer model developed to show prime lobster habitat in the Gulf of Maine, according to the article. Tanaka used environmental data from 1978 to 2012 to illustrate the changes in ideal lobster habitat along the coast, the article states. He found that by the 2000s, nearly all of the eastern counties had an increase in good lobster habitat, particularly during the spring months. “Temperature and salinity have changed due to climate change; depth and bottom type haven’t,” Tanaka said, adding that juvenile lobsters pick a place to settle and grow based on water temperature, bottom type, salinity and depth.
The 2015 AgrAbility National Training Conference will cover issues of disability in the agricultural industry April 13–16 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester in Rochester, New York. The conference also will include tours of area farms and other attractions.
Lani Carlson, University of Maine Cooperative Extension AgrAbility project coordinator, says there are many reasons to participate in the training workshop.
“It provides a chance for rural professionals to get together with AgrAbility staff, as well as clients and their families from across the nation. The breakout sessions and tours will offer a variety of learning opportunities from some great speakers on timely topics geared specifically toward farmers and ranchers, and other topics concerning military veteran farmers,” Carlson says.
The keynote address will be given by motivational speaker Chris Koch who, born with no arms or legs, works on his family’s farm in Alberta, Canada.
Event registration and more information is online. More information about Maine AgrAbility is available online or by contacting Carlson at 944.1533, 800.287.1471 (in Maine) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The USDA-funded national AgrAbility program assists farmers, loggers and fishermen with disabilities and chronic illnesses so they may remain active in production agriculture. In Maine, AgrAbility is a nonprofit partnership between UMaine Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.
Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology at the University of Maine, was quoted in an article published in the journal Nature that focuses on sexual harassment and assault during field research and on campuses. The topic has gained less attention in scientific fields with greater gender equality, such as ecology, according to the article. Gill and Joshua Drew, a conservation ecologist at Columbia University in New York, will speak about the topic as part of a panel discussion at the August meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore, Maryland, the article states. “We want to start important conversations — for example, sharing university reporting procedures with students in their own labs, departments and institutions,” Gill said, adding she feels responsible for her graduate students. “We need to create a culture where incidents are rare and reporting is easy.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the University of Maine’s fourth annual Summer Camp Fair for Kids that was held in the New Balance Student Recreation Center on campus. Representatives from more than 50 summer camps provided information and answered questions about the available programming for children and teenagers. “It gives all the families in the area a chance to actually look and see pictures of previous camps and to interact with camp directors and counselors and get to kind of have more of a tangible experience of what they might be doing this summer,” said event organizer Lisa Carter, who is assistant director of the Maine Bound Adventure Center.
Cheryl J. Spencer, a scientific research specialist in the School of Forest Resources, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Classified Employee Award.
The annual award, presented by UMaine’s Classified Employee Advisory Council (CEAC), recognizes exceptional service by UMaine classified employees who inspire others through dedication, commitment and work ethic; maintain the highest level of professional service; and help create a better UMaine community.
The Outstanding Classified Employee Award will be presented at the Employee Recognition and Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., March 18 at Wells Conference Center.
For 30 years, Spencer has been dedicated to running the operation of soil science professor Ivan Fernandez’s research and teaching labs in the Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Department. She continuously works to meet the forest soils program’s training goals and mentors students of all ages, as well as completes extramurally funded research grants the program is awarded.
Spencer is referred to as the “point of coordination and organization” for the biogeochemistry of forests research program which includes multiple field sites and research laboratories, as well as undergraduate student employees, graduate students, technical staff, postdoctoral associates and collaborators from UMaine and around the world.
Spencer, who instructs sections of the soil science laboratory, is described as loyal to the program and community and compassionate to students and colleagues. Graduate students rely on and respect Spencer for her practical knowledge and guidance. The same respect also is regularly recognized and expressed by collaborating faculty and scientists from across U.S. and Europe.
In the community, Spencer reaches out through her service to the Soil and Water Conservation Society; the Maine Association of Professional Soil Scientists; and Maine Envirothon, a high school environmental competition.
Timothy Miller, laboratory manager at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Professional Employee Award.
The annual award, presented by UMaine’s Professional Employees Advisory Council, recognizes dedication to serving others, the highest level of professional services and standards within disciplines or areas of responsibility, a commitment to creating a better campus environment and significant public service contributions.
The Outstanding Professional Employee Award will be presented at the Employee Recognition and Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., March 18 at Wells Conference Center.
For more than two decades, Miller has been the laboratory manager at UMaine’s marine sciences center in Walpole. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 170-acre, 22-building campus that has an extensive teaching, research and community outreach mission in marine sciences. His duties can range from overseeing Darling Center safety protocol and facility maintenance to ensuring the best residential experience for Semester by the Sea students, and supports visiting scientists and college groups in their work at the center.
Miller is described as the “glue” that keeps the Darling Center functioning efficiently and effectively. He is well known for his “make things work” attitude, and initiatives to improve the overall Darling Center environment and infrastructure. Members of the UMaine community and visitors to the Darling Marine Center recognize and appreciate his deep level of concern and caring.
Beyond the Darling Center campus, Miller also is active in his community, serving as Bristol’s assistant fire chief and volunteering with area youth groups, including 4-H and the Boy Scouts.
The Sun Journal reported the University of Maine’s University Singers will perform a free concert at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on March 13. The concert is one of several shows around central and northern Maine as part of the choir’s annual spring tour. Under the direction of Francis Vogt, a School of Performing Arts faculty member, the group of about 60 singers will perform evening shows at middle and high schools and a church before ending the tour with two performances on campus.
A 2014 Honors thesis by University of Maine psychology student Sophie Veilleux was cited in the Pacific Standard article, “Why do circus elephants get all the sympathy?” According to the article, Veilleux’s paper, “Coping with Dissonance: Psychological Mechanisms that Enable Ambivalent Attitudes Toward Animals,” focuses on four possibilities for why the majority of Americans, who generally care about the treatment of animals, show ambivalence toward livestock.
A University of Maine maple syrup expert and economics study were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “LePage opens Maine’s maple season by tapping Blaine House tree.” Maine is the third-largest maple industry in the U.S., generating $17.3 million in annual income for the nearly 600 people it employs, according to economist Todd Gabe’s 2014 study that was funded by the state and the Maine Maple Producers Association, the article states. Kathy Hopkins, a maple syrup expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in the article. “We have the trees. If we decide to get organized, get more young people and develop the market — Maine could do anything it wants,” she said of the state’s maple industry.
Information from the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine was mentioned in a Philipstown.info article about cooking crab cakes. The article states that according to Maine Sea Grant, crab meat is low in fat, high in zinc and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.