University of Maine News
The University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has published its most recent newsletter. The spring 2014 CLAS newsletter is available online.
Mick Peterson, professor of mechanical engineering, was quoted in a New York Times story on the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes and the intense maintenance process involved in ensuring the safety of the mile-and-a-half-track — the longest in North America. Peterson is executive director of the Orono-based nonprofit Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory. In the article, Peterson noted: “The biggest difference on racetracks, which is much more important than the sand or the surface composition, is the moisture. And one of the things that makes Belmont quite a bit different is the time of year when they’re racing and how they maintain that.”
The Portland Press Herald interviewed Sean Birkel, a research assistant professor at the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, for a story about Maine and Vermont having the fastest rise in annual average temperature in the United States during the past 30 years.
The average annual temperature in both states increased 2.5 degrees from 1984 to 2013 — about twice the average warming nationwide — according to an AP analysis of the National Climatic Data Center report.
Birkel told the Portland Press Herald that part of Maine’s winter warming trend is attributable to melting Arctic sea ice. As the sea ice melts, Birkel says the darker ocean absorbs sunlight, which further heats the air. “As the Arctic warms, Maine and the North will warm because that is where the airflow is coming from” in winter, Birkel said.
FOX 22/WFV Bangor featured Rob Wheeler, University of Maine assistant professor of microbiology, who received a $500,000 five-year grant to study how common pathogens can become killers.
Wheeler and students will study how Candida albicans, the most common human fungal germ, transforms from to a potentially fatal fungus in vital organs of a person whose immune system has been compromised. “One of the issues with Candida infection is people with dentures or a prosthesis can get Candida in those areas of attachment that then interact with the skin and can pass through the skin in ways that doesn’t in healthy people,” Wheeler said.
The Sun Journal interviewed Auburn Mayor and University of Maine graduate Jonathan LaBonte after Gov. Paul LePage appointed him director of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management.
LaBonte, who earned a bachelor’s in engineering at UMaine and took graduate courses in public administration and governance, told the Sun Journal he is interested in streamlining and making government more efficient and responsive.
The Pen Bay Pilot ran an article about a study conducted by a former University of Maine researcher that indicates lakes in New England and the Adirondack Mountains are recovering more quickly now from the effects of acid rain than they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kristin Strock, a former doctoral student at UMaine, says sulfate concentration in rain and snow has dropped 40 percent and nitrate concentration has declined by more than 50 percent in the 2000s. The Clean Air Act enacted in the U.S. in 1970, as well as subsequent amendments, have helped reduce emissions of sulfur and nitrogen by 51 and 43 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2010, Strock said.
According to reports, approximately 1,500 athletes will take part in the games that begin Friday morning. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for Friday night and events will be held through Sunday.
The Bangor Daily News ran a story about former University of Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski winning the Colonial Athletic Association’s Chuck Boone Leadership Award.
The award is presented to the league player embodying the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship in academic and athletic achievements. Wasilewski graduated cum laude in December with a degree in kinesiology and physical education. The Dean’s List student and four-time Academic All-Conference selection received the “M” Club Dean Smith Award presented to UMaine’s top male and female student-athlete. Wasilewski also was named the CAA Student-Athlete of the Year; he earned a 3.4 grade point average. In 2013, he was made the all-CAA first team and set numerous UMaine records while leading the Black Bears to a league-best 10–2 regular-season mark.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Robert Wheeler, an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Maine, who was awarded a five-year, $500,000 fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to study a pathogen. Wheeler will study how and why Candida albicans — the most common human fungal pathogen — transforms from an innocuous yeast in the digestive tract of a person with a healthy immune system to a potentially fatal fungus in vital organs of a person whose immune system has been compromised. Wheeler said Candida albicans is the fourth most common bloodstream disease in hospitalized patients and one in three patients with impaired immune systems who contract the fungal infection while in the hospital will die from it. “A combination of better diagnosis and better drug treatment regimes could make a really big impact in the lethality associated with fungal infection,” Wheeler said. He called the fellowship a new high point in his career and a major boost for microbiology at UMaine. The Associated Press and WABI (Channel 5) also reported the research award.
Science Codex reported findings published by University of Maine researchers Bridie McGreavy and Laura Lindenfeld of the Department of Communication and Journalism suggest films that feature climate change can affect public understanding. The researchers analyzed three films that feature global warming prominently and wrote about their findings in the International Journal of Sustainable Development. They found the films often include problematic and limiting identity politics, which commonly reiterate racial, gender and sexual stereotypes. “It is not just about rational, fact-based reasoning but about making and using films to challenge dominant stereotypes, change social institutions, and empower citizens more broadly,” McGreavy said. Press-News.org also carried the report.
Twenty-nine college students are participating in the 2014 Maine Government Summer Internship Program administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.
The full-time, 12-week paid work experience program offers a unique opportunity for talented college students to work within Maine state government. The program provides valuable assistance to state agencies and affords students the chance to gain practical skills in their fields of study. This year, the program expanded to include internships in Maine municipal government.
In 1967, the 103rd Maine Legislature established the Maine Government Summer Internship Program to attract and select college students with ambition and talent for temporary internships within Maine state government. A total of 1,685 students have participated since its inception. This year, 107 students applied for 29 agency positions. Undergraduate and graduate students who reside in Maine or attend a Maine school are eligible.
The 2014 interns are:
Robert Figora of West Gardiner, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is assistant to city manager at the City Manager’s Office in Ellsworth;
Sean McCarthy of Winslow, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is an engineering plans archiving assistant with the Property Management Division of the Bureau of General Services at the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services;
Amanda Findlay of Manchester, Maine, a student at Colby College, is a juvenile justice advisory group assistant with the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group at the Maine Department of Corrections;
Casey Weed of Gorham, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a public relations assistant with the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, at the Maine Emergency Management Agency;
Tyler Oversmith of Hampden, Maine, a student at Maine Maritime Academy, is an energy and real property data management intern with the Military Bureau at the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management;
Chelsea Dean of Seabrook, New Hampshire, a student at the University of Maine, is a civil engineering intern with the Dam Safety Program in the Maine Emergency Management Agency Operations and Response Division at the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management;
Mary Taylor of Readfield, Maine, a student a Saint Michael’s College, is a digital learning content intern with Learning through Technology at the Maine Department of Education;
Chris Jones of Litchfield, Maine, a student at Wentworth Institute of Technology, is a digital learning content intern with Learning through Technology at the Maine Department of Education;
Grace Kiffney of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a migrant education field and office assistant with the Migrant Education Office at the Maine Department of Education;
Courtney Burne of Topsham, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a migrant education field and office assistant with the Migrant Education Office at the Maine Department of Education;
Hannah Caswell, of Manchester, Maine, a student at Villanova University, is a stream watershed assessment technician with the Land and Water Environmental Assessment/Watershed Management Unit at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection;
Benjamin McCall of Falmouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine School of Law, is a legal intern with the Office of the Public Advocate at the Maine Executive Department;
Caroline Bowne of Falmouth, Maine, a student at Skidmore College, is a technical writer with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Employer Services at the Maine Department of Labor;
Michael Bailey of Waterville, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a labor historian with the Bureau of Labor Standards at the Maine Department of Labor;
Nancy Bergerson of Plymouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is an intern with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services-Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Central Office at the Maine Department of Labor;
MacKenzie Riley of Waterville, Maine, a student at St. Thomas University, is a communication assistant with the Office of the Commissioner at the Maine Department of Labor;
Jonathan Whittemore of Limestone, Maine, a student at Husson University, is a technical field writer with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Employer Services at the Maine Department of Labor;
Abigail Pratico of Falmouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is an assistant to the principal examiner with the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;
Christopher Goodwin of Farmington, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, is an actuarial assistant with the Bureau of Insurance at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;
Sara Poirier of Winslow, Maine, a student at St. Joseph’s College of Maine, is a special projects coordinator with the Board of Licensure in Medicine at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;
Brady Frautten of Winthrop, Maine, a student at the University of Tampa, is a Maine Information and Analysis Center intern with the Maine State Police at the Maine Department of Public Safety;
John Horton of Falmouth, Maine, a student at Bowdoin College, is a Maine Information and Analysis Center intern with the Maine State Police at the Maine Department of Public Safety;
Andrea Cashon, of Milford, Maine, a student at Cornell University, is an environment-natural resource field and data assistant with the Environmental Office-Field Services at the Maine Department of Transportation;
Nicholas Abbott of Gardiner, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is a bridge assistant with the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations/Bridges and Structures at the Maine Department of Transportation;
Hannah Ober of Brunswick, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is a hydrology-water resources intern with the Environmental Office at the Maine Department of Transportation;
Adam Cotton of Biddeford, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a field assistant with the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations at the Maine Department of Transportation;
Emily Maynard of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is a transportation planning intern with the Maine Department of Transportation;
Natalie Edmiston of Gray, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is an assistant with the Office of Employee Development at the Maine Department of Transportation; and
Cynthia Hunter of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Maine School of Law, is a legal assistant with the Advocate Division of the Portland Regional Office of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board.
Maine 4-H Days begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Windsor Fairgrounds, 82 Ridge Road, Windsor, with volunteers packing 16,000 meals to be donated to Good Shepherd Food Bank.
At least 100 volunteers registered for Maine 4-H Days are needed to pack the meals, which will be distributed to youth from Kittery to Fort Kent. Outreach Northeast is coordinating the volunteer opportunity.
Maine 4-H Days, an annual event sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Foundation, runs through Sunday, June 22. Enrichment workshops include archery, chess, country line dancing, yoga, Lego robotics and numerous animal topics. An ice cream social and a law enforcement K-9 demonstration also will be held.
Weekend registration is $7 per person, $20 per family. For information about the food-packaging event, contact Sarah Sparks, 207.353.5550 or email@example.com. For information about Maine 4-H Days, to register or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessy Brainerd at 207.581.3877, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration materials and more information are available online.
Ed Grew, a research professor of geological sciences at the University of Maine, was acknowledged by Geoscience Australia for his role in getting Antarctica’s Stornes Peninsula designated as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area by the Antarctic Treaty signatories.
The action taken during the May 2014 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting strengthens international environmental protection for the area in Antarctica where Grew discovered minerals during fieldwork in 2003–04 on the Australian Antarctic Expedition.
The designation formally recognizes the peninsula’s outstanding geological significance and gives it the highest level of environmental protection under the Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection.
More information is online.
The Bangor Daily News and WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine senior track and field student-athlete Kelton Cullenberg was named the inaugural America East Man of the Year at the conference’s annual meeting. The distance runner from Chesterville, Maine, was honored for his athletic and academic achievements with the recognition, which coincides with the America East Woman of the Year award that has been given out since 2006. “It shows that my school and my conference recognize how hard I have worked, not just in athletics, but academics, the community, and through leadership positions,” Cullenberg said of winning the award.
Susan Brawley, a professor of plant biology at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News, titled “Look at the science. Maine harvesting of rockweed is sustainable.” Brawley wrote, “a certain amount of harvesting can be performed without jeopardizing the overall health of the ecosystem.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a free weed identification walk Thursday, June 12, at Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville. Donna Coffin, an Extension educator, will lead the walk that will focus on common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit and other cultivated crops. Participants are encouraged to bring a photo of problematic weeds found in their gardens.
Slate published an opinion piece by Michael Socolow, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine, titled “The day we didn’t invade Normandy.” The article focuses on the erroneous media reports that were made on June 3, 1944 announcing that D-Day had begun. Millions of people likely heard the report on as many as 500 stations nationwide. The false report sprang from a preplanned news flash that was accidentally released by a young typist in the AP’s London bureau who pressed the wrong button on her teletype transmitter, the article states. “Though far more Americans heard the false D-Day report than tuned in to Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast, the erroneous news flash, and the public’s reaction to it, is now largely forgotten. Actual coverage of D-Day, starting three days later, wiped it from historical memory,” Socolow wrote.
Three University of Maine students are among 10 who will receive a $1,000 Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences for the 2014–15 academic year.
The scholarship to Tyler Carrier, a fourth-year student of Barre, Vermont, will complement his multiple experiences in scientific research. Carrier has researched oyster disease in the laboratory of Paul Rawson, and his senior Honors thesis focuses on transport of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense, the organism responsible for harmful algal blooms known as “red tide.”
Mackenzie Mazur of Douglas, Massachusetts, is a fourth-year marine biology major. Mazur plans to attend graduate school and work in the field of marine conservation.
Benjamin Reed of Milford, Maine, is a third-year student with a double major in marine biology and aquaculture. He has an associate degree in marine technology from Washington County Community College and has worked in Maine’s boat-building industry.
In 2014, Sea Grant expanded the scholarship program beyond UMaine. Additional recipients this year include: Jordan Desousa from University of New England; Kristina Kelley and Jillian Perron at Maine Maritime Academy; Roshni Sharon Mangar, Madeline Motley and Eliza Oldach at College of the Atlantic; and Zachary Vetack from University of Maine at Machias.
The awards are made possible through a matching program in which each $500 award from Maine Sea Grant is matched with a $500 award from the student’s home institution. Students may use the funds for academic and/or research-related expenses. Scholarship recipients become part of Maine Sea Grant’s statewide network of researchers, Extension professionals, and undergraduate and graduate student scholars doing exemplary work in marine science. Awardees have the opportunity to participate in Sea Grant-sponsored workshops, conferences and other events related to marine and coastal policy, resource management, community outreach, and education.
The application deadline for the 2015–16 academic year is Friday, April 17, 2015.
The Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Maine.
A University of Maine 2014 graduate has been named the first America East Man of the Year.
Kelton Cullenberg, a kinesiology/exercise science major from Chesterville, Maine, edged out finalists Jeff Turner of the University of New Hampshire and Luke Apfeld of the University of Vermont to claim the prestigious award that recognizes the male senior student-athlete at his respective school who best exemplifies a commitment to service, leadership, athletics and academics during his collegiate career.
“It is an incredible honor,” says Cullenberg, who graduated from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Maine. “The other competitors represent the best their school has to offer. I never would have dreamed of getting this award.”
To qualify for the award, student-athletes had to maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average, receive their undergraduate degree prior to the summer 2014 term and complete intercollegiate eligibility in their primary sport by the end of the 2014 spring season.
A cross country/track and field athlete, Cullenberg achieved a 3.92 GPA. The senior distance runner captained three teams, earned all-conference honors six times and won the 2014 M Club Dean Smith Award.
He earned distinction by earning spots on the America East All-Academic Team, the Commissioner’s Honors Roll and Dean’s List. He also was a Presidential Scholar and garnered a 4.0 GPA four times during his undergraduate career.
In 2013, Cullenberg received the College of Education Dean’s Award and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. At the 2014 Scholar-Athlete Award recognition, he was presented a gold medallion as a three-time scholar-athlete.
Cullenberg was named University of Maine Athlete of the Week and America East Athlete of the Week multiple times during his career. He was also selected to All-Conference teams in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
He placed second at the 2013 America East Cross Country Championships. At the 2013 Northeast Region meet, he was selected to the All-Region team and qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Cullenberg was the first UMaine male runner since 1979 to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championship. His personal best in the 3,000-meters is 8:24 and he is second on the university’s all-time list, running the 5,000-meters in 14:25. He finished second at the 2014 America East Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 5,000-meter run.
Originally an engineering major, Cullenberg decided to attend UMaine because it offered a Division I sports program and it was close to home.
“A lot of my friends were leaning me toward engineering, but after the first few weeks I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he says. “The kinesiology classes were much more geared toward my interests.”
A runner since youth, Cullenberg cites his parents as major motivators in his academic and extracurricular pursuits.
“My parents influenced me because they were runners, too. They were also teachers at my high school, so academics were always a big deal,” he says. “They didn’t push [running] on me, it was just something I grew to love.”
Cullenberg was not present at the awards ceremony at Bretton Woods in Carroll, New Hampshire. Instead, he was traveling to the Hypo2 High Performance Sport Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, to start an eight-week internship working and training with a variety of athletes.
“It [the award] is a nice icing on the cake,” Cullenberg says. “It is all a very humbling experience.”
A business administration minor, Cullenberg hopes to operate his own performance center that offers physical therapy and exercise training. He says this long-time dream was cultivated during his time at UMaine.
“UMaine was a good fit for me,” he says. “I was taking a couple business classes, then figured I might as well turn it into a minor. [Academically], the school was at a level where I knew I could do well, not only in sports, but in the classroom.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.374
Every year the Society of Automotive Engineers sponsors the Clean Snowmobile Challenge — an intercollegiate design competition that encourages students to reduce emissions and noise by modifying snowmobiles to run on ethanol. Inspired by the competition, University of Maine mechanical engineering student Frances Foehrenbach of Saco, Maine, and her 11 teammates converted a snowmobile to run on compressed natural gas.
In April, the team displayed the snowmobile at the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, where many of the automotive industry’s top companies gathered. There, in competition with 11 other engineering universities, the UMaine team took third place for its snowmobile design.
The team’s snowmobile was also shown at the New Hampshire SnoDeo, one of the Northeast’s premier snowmobile events held to bring snowmobilers together near the season’s end to test new sleds.
Foehrenbach and another teammate were in charge of the team’s technical report writing. She also was the team’s sole Web designer — a task she had never done before the project.
In May 2011, Foehrenbach began working at the Bangor-based engineering consulting firm Woodard & Curran. Since graduating in May 2014, she has begun a full-time job with the company in the food and beverage service line, where she works on process piping to integrate new systems as well as adding equipment to existing systems.
Foehrenbach is a Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honors society member. She was named one of two outstanding seniors in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
More information about Foehrenbach and her team’s project is online.
Why is engineering important to you?
Engineering is important for me because I have always had a desire to learn about the world around me, and I feel that my education in engineering will allow me to make a positive impact on the world.
What have you learned about yourself while doing this project? What has the project taught you about engineering?
Since I am the secretary for the team as well as the Web designer, I have discovered my strength of organization. Additionally, I have developed some Web designing tools and have found that I enjoy the aspect of creating and maintaining Web pages.
How does the project relate to your job with Woodard & Curran?
My job has certainly helped with this project. Having worked at Woodard & Curran since my freshman year of college, my experience in the consulting industry has helped me better understand how to go about the designing aspects of this project.
Why did you choose to work at Woodard & Curran after graduation?
I enjoy how the consulting industry has a variety of projects, which allows for continued learning in many aspects of engineering. Additionally, Woodard & Curran has a great atmosphere and truly values the well-being of its employees.
What excites you most about entering the workforce?
Entering the engineering workforce as a full-time engineer instead of an intern is exciting because it allows me to have more ownership over the projects I work on, and I will also have the opportunity to see a project through from design to completion.
Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
I have worked closely with a few professors, but my senior project adviser, Mick Peterson, has been a great asset for our team. He clearly cares about the senior capstone projects and wants his students to get the most of their experience at UMaine. He has also hired me to do extra work for him, which has allowed me to make some extra living money.
What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine? Why?
I took controls with professor Senthil Vel, which was an engaging class as it taught us how control systems work and incorporated feedback loops. The most valuable part of this course was the Arduino Micro boards that we were able to use along with fans and LEDs in order to learn how to program our own feedback loops.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Make your time here worthwhile. Get involved in as many different clubs and activities as you can. It is incredibly important to get an internship as early as possible, so start applying freshman year.
Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Attending UMaine has showed me that everything I love can be found in my own backyard: the outdoors, mountains, lakes, friendly people, great adventures, etc. As someone who grew up in Maine, I had lost sight of all Maine has to offer, and attending UMaine has brought back my love for this great state.