University of Maine News
The Portland Press Herald reported on the “Albers & Heirs” exhibit presented by the University of Maine Department of Art. The exhibit showcases the work of artist, educator and color theorist Josef Albers and two of his students, globally recognized artists Neil Welliver and Jane Davis Doggett. The show runs through July 18 in the Lord Hall Gallery on campus.
Research by Marie Hayes, a University of Maine psychology professor, was cited in an NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Notes article, titled “Gene variations reduce opioid risks.” The article sites findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2013 about a study conducted by Hayes and recent UMaine doctoral student Jonathan Paul, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Brown at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and colleagues at Tufts Medical Center. The study found that in substance-exposed newborns, identification of the gene variations associated with risk of opioid addiction could aid the treatment of their withdrawal symptoms in the critical hours after birth.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about the importance of warm soil for vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash and cucumbers. He said laying out a roll of black plastic can heat the ground and minimize weeds. Jemison also demonstrated how to plant beans.
The University of Maine’s Director of Athletics Karlton Creech and Ryan Taylor, UMaine’s head athletic trainer, were quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about who should pay the medical costs when a college athlete gets injured. According to the article, UMaine is the only school in the state that offers athletic scholarships and it has a staff of six certified athletic trainers and a student assistant to offer free preventive care, treatment for existing injuries or referrals to off-campus physicians to student-athletes.
About 70 high school students and teachers from Portland, Bangor, Auburn and local Native American communities will gather at the University of Maine for a five-day UMaine Stormwater Management Research Team (SMART) Institute.
UMaine scientists and students, city water planners, and representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and businesses including Woodard & Curran and IDEXX will also take part in the institute that runs from Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27.
The SMART Institute aims to engage a diverse group of students and teachers in training for the implementation of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) core values in their schools while addressing an important environmental issue.
The institute is supported by a more than $735,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to empower female and minority high school students, their teachers and communities to create innovative solutions to the environmental problems related to stormwater management.
Throughout the conference, students will talk part in hands-on projects led by STEM professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality. Participants will tour UMaine labs and stormwater areas on campus, hear from guest speakers, and learn how to use wireless sensors to test water, as well as collect, enter and analyze data.
The institute will cap off with a field trip to the Arctic Brook watershed area in Bangor where students will install the wireless sensors they built and collect data as citizen scientists. An awards ceremony will be held on campus before students depart.
The University of Maine BioMediaLab will be spotlighted in a promotional video filmed by one of the lab’s software providers.
The BioMediaLab, an advanced technology-centric science new media lab in Murray Hall, recently started using Wowza, a versatile media streaming server that efficiently allows students access to online course video, prompting Wowza Media Systems to film a promotional video that spotlights the lab’s work.
“Brian Ellis, Wowza’s customer success manager, contacted me about our purchase. He mentioned he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2003 from UMaine and was interested in what the lab was doing with their software,” says BioMediaLab Director Ron Kozlowski. “(The marketing film) is a mutual thing; we’re both promoting each other.”
A cutting-edge technology environment, the BioMediaLab’s main focus is Synapse, a content learning management system. UMaine science faculty in fields use the system to create a collaborative learning environment. Media such as videos, audio, slide shows, PDFs and other course material can be added to its courses. Wowza and Synapse allow easier streaming of video to numerous devices, no matter the file format.
Staffed by three full-time professionals, the lab services thousands of first- and second-year UMaine students across 24 courses.
“The purpose of the lab is to enhance research through technology,” says Kozlowski, a Synapse engineer and the BioMediaLab director for 10 years.
Alvin McNeilly of Owls Head, one of the outstanding leaders in the University of Maine Class of 1944, passed away June 19, 2014. He was 93. Visiting hours will be 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, June 23, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home in Rockland. More information about the service is online.
Mainebiz reported the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor was awarded an $18.4 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to strengthen biomedical research and hands-on workforce training in Maine. The five-year award ensures the continuation of the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), a collaborative network of 13 Maine research institutions, universities and colleges led by the MDI Biological Laboratory. The University of Maine and UMaine’s Honors College are part of the network. The MDI Biological Laboratory news release is online.
The Daily Mail cited statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine for an article about a 1-in-2-million royal blue lobster that was caught off the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales. According to the Lobster Institute, lobsters have been found in more rare colors than just blue. One out of 10 million lobsters are found to have a bright red color and one in 30 million are are yellow or calico — speckled with yellow and orange.
Steve Bull, a pioneer for gay rights who co-founded the University of Maine’s Wilde Stein Club in 1974, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald column by Bill Nemitz, titled “Gay-rights pioneers earned pride long before parade.” Bull said he never will forget organizing the first gay symposium at UMaine in 1974.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 2014 New England Blind Athletic Association Summer Sports Education camp that is hosted by the University of Maine and the Orono/Old Town YMCA. The camp features sports such as track and field, wrestling, fencing, rock climbing and swimming. Volunteers from various blind assistance programs supervise to ensure the athletes, who range in age from 10 to 18, can safely participate in the activities.
History compiled by the University of Maine was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about the auction of Great Northern Paper Co.’s No. 11 paper machine from its defunct Millinocket mill. The article states the No. 11 is the last papermaking machine on the Katahdin Avenue site, which at one time employed more than 4,000 workers as part of a company that opened in 1900. The machine began producing specialty papers for magazines, newspaper supplements, paperbacks and catalogs in the 1950s, according to UMaine records.
Associate Professor of Theatre Sandra Hardy unexpectedly passed away June 19 in Connecticut. She was 76. Professor Hardy joined the University of Maine community in 1987. In her 26-year career at UMaine, Hardy taught acting and literature of the theatre, as well as drama in education. She directed many theatrical main stage productions at UMaine, including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hedda Gabler,” “Avenue Q,” “The Boys Next Door,” and her final musical, “Grease,” this past February. She took three shows to the regional finals of the American College Theatre Festival, directed children’s puppet shows and toured shows to middle schools. Her career as a theater director spanned almost 50 years. Hardy was an Ibsen scholar and was particularly proud of an NAACP award for outstanding contribution to the integration of all races in the public schools of Bridgeport, Conn. Her daughter, Jade, is a student at UMaine.
The Bangor Daily News reported the Down East Research and Education Network has commissioned a study to determine the economic impact of conservation effort in Washington and Hancock counties. Two University of Maine economics researchers and several UMaine students will work with Phillips Consulting in Clinton to conduct the study. The study will analyze the economic value of conservation, research and education of the regional land trust and conservation organizations as employers and of the region’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for their natural resources, said Barbara Arter, director of the network.
A University of Maine economics study was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about Lucas St. Clair, the son of environmentalist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, speaking at a Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce meeting. While St. Clair spoke about his efforts to create a North Woods national park and multi-use recreation area, he cited a UMaine study that found if he turned the 150,000-acre area over to the logging industry it would produce 53 jobs. St. Clair said he wants to do more for the region and said a national park has the potential to create up to 400 to 600 jobs.
The Associated Press, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2), WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) were among news organizations to report on University of Maine System Chancellor James Page’s announcement that he has selected Susan Hunter as the next president of the University of Maine. Hunter most recently served as vice chancellor for academic affairs for all seven universities in the system, and was UMaine’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost from 2008 to 2013. She will be UMaine’s first female president and will serve a two-year appointment beginning July 7. “There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. Howard Segal, a UMaine history professor who sits on the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, told the Press Herald he thinks Hunter is a “good choice.” Boston Herald, SFGate, NECN, Seacoast Online and The Republic carried the AP report.
The Sun Journal and The Maine Edge published an advance of Maine 4-H Days, an annual event sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Foundation. The event kicks off Friday, June 20 at Windsor Fairgrounds where volunteers will pack 16,000 meals to be donated to Good Shepherd Food Bank. The event runs through Sunday, June 22 and will offer enrichment workshops on archery, chess, country line dancing, yoga, Lego robotics and animal-related topics. An ice cream social and law enforcement K-9 demonstration also will be held.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will hold its annual Sustainable Agriculture Field Day 4–7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Rogers Farm, 914 Bennoch Road in Old Town.
Rogers Farm is part of UMaine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The free event is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others interested in agricultural production. UMaine agricultural researchers and Extension faculty will present field research highlighting current applied agricultural research projects, including alternative weed management strategies in vegetable production, opportunities and challenges with winter grains and evaluating plants to support native pollinators.
Presenters include Ellen Mallory, Extension sustainable agriculture specialist; Lois Berg Stack, Extension ornamental horticulture specialist; Eric Gallandt, associate professor of weed ecology and management; John Jemison, Extension water quality specialist; Bryan Brown and Erin Roche, UMaine graduate students in Sustainable Agriculture; and Tom Molloy, sustainable agriculture research associate. Ilse Rasmussen, visiting scholar from the International Center for Research on Organic Food Systems, will discuss sustainable agriculture in Denmark.
Participants will receive one pesticide certification credit and two Certified Crop Adviser credits. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.; events are 5–7:30 p.m. Participants are invited to arrive at 4 p.m. to participate in a walking weed tour conducted by Gallandt.
For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Mallory at 207.581.2942 or Jemison at 207.581.3241.
University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that he has selected Susan J. Hunter as the next President of the University of Maine (UMaine) in Orono. The Executive Committee of the University System’s Board of Trustees unanimously supported the selection and will officially vote at a committee meeting on June 25. Hunter will be UMaine’s first woman president and will serve a two-year appointment commencing July 7.
“Dr. Hunter’s depth and breadth of experience at our flagship campus is unsurpassed,” Chancellor Page stated. “She is, moreover, already extremely well-known throughout the state as a tireless advocate for public higher education. She is the clear choice to advance the University of Maine.”
Established in 1865, the University of Maine will mark its sesquicentennial celebration in 2015. The University of Maine was originally established as the Maine College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts under the provisions of the Morrill Act, which was approved by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. In 1897 the original name changed to the University of Maine.
“The Board of Visitors is extremely pleased that Susan has agreed to assume the presidency during this transition period,” said Anne Lucey, Chair of the University of Maine Board of Visitors. “She has excellent relationships with alumni, donors, faculty and University supporters. Given her many years of service, she is able to assume a leadership role and provide the continuity the campus needs at this juncture.”
Since September 1, 2013, Hunter has served on the Chancellor’s cabinet as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for all seven of Maine’s public universities. Other than her time at the System, Hunter spent all of her career at UMaine, most recently as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost from 2008 to 2013.
“Susan is an outstanding leader and will bring continuity to the University of Maine’s Blue Sky Plan,” said Samuel Collins, Chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. “She has established extensive and good relationships and developed a wealth of knowledge during her many years of service in a number of leadership roles at the University of Maine.”
Hunter began her career at UMaine as an adjunct professor in 1987, became a full-time faculty member in 1991, and has since served in various academic and administrative capacities including Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education; Assistant Director in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture; and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences where she was a faculty member and cell biologist whose research focused on structural and functional aspects of bone cell biology.
“There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. “I am delighted to be returning to campus to work with very talented and dedicated faculty, staff and students. My efforts will focus on further development and implementation of the Blue Sky Plan, fund raising activities in preparation for a comprehensive campaign, and external engagement to further the goals of the University of Maine System and higher education.”
For six years Hunter served as a co-principal investigator of an award winning $3.0 million NSF GK-12 grant that placed graduate teaching fellows in K–12 schools as science demonstrators. She was also the principal investigator on a five-year $3.3 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant helping to fund UMaine’s Rising Tide Center, an initiative that aims to transform the university through enhanced opportunities for women faculty members in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social-behavioral sciences.
She received a B.S. degree in biology from James Madison University, a Ph.D. in physiology from Pennsylvania State University and did post-doctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the Pennsylvania State University.
Hunter served on the Board of Directors of the Maine School for Science and Mathematics and currently serves on the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Board of Directors, as well as the University of Maine System representative to the Governor’s STEM Council, the Board of Directors of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, member of the Stillwater Society, a member of the Pi class of Leadership Maine, and most recently, participated in a planning initiative for the Maine Arts Commission Steering Committee in preparation for a Cultural Strategic Plan for the State of Maine.
Hunter lives in Orono with her husband, David Lambert, a plant pathologist who also spent his career at UMaine as a faculty member in the School of Food and Agriculture. They have two adult children.
More information is available online.
University of Maine professor of oceanography Emmanuel Boss advises students to pursue their passion.
And he leads by example.
This summer, Boss and UMaine master’s graduate Thomas Leeuw will board Tara — a sailboat for the planet — to collect data and conduct research in the Mediterranean Sea.
They’ll study the ocean color, composition and pigments of surface particles.
And in addition to collaborating with international scientists, they’ll talk with schoolchildren about the ocean, swim in warm aqua water and eat delicious meals with backdrops of beautiful Mediterranean vistas.
“It’s a wonderful career,” Boss says. “You should do something you’re passionate about,” he says. “You can be serious about science and have fun in the process.”
Boss finds the work and play aboard Tara so valuable and fun, he’s gearing up for his third voyage. In August, he’ll be one of the scientists aboard during the 10-day leg from Israel to Malta. Boss, who participated in water sports growing up in Israel, says he’s most comfortable in the water and knew from an early age he wanted to pursue a career in oceanography.
Tara is three months into its seven-month, nearly 10,000-mile 2014 international expedition that includes stops in 11 countries, including France, Greece, Israel, Italy and Spain. Tara departed in May from Lorient, a seaport in northwestern France, and is scheduled to return in December.
During the trek, a host of other scientists are exploring the impact of plastic on the Mediterranean ecosystem and the degree to which microplastics in the ocean are part of the food chain. Researchers also seek to raise awareness about the Mediterranean’s environmental issues and encourage policymakers in the region — where approximately 450 million people live — to develop better waste management plans.
At each stopover, the team that generally includes five sailors, two scientists, a reporter and an artist — invite the public to tour the 118-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, 120-ton research vessel. And they take part in outreach projects. May 31 on No Tobacco Day, for instance, crewmembers of Tara removed 53 gallons of trash, including cigarette butts, from a beach.
French designer Agnes B. founded the nonprofit Tara Expeditions in 2003 to “understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world’s oceans,” according to its website.
Boss says the mission, outreach, interdisciplinary science, sharing of chores, stunning scenery and immersion in various cultures make for a valuable and inspiring venture.
And he’s eager to have students experience it as well. Last summer, then-graduate students Leeuw and Alison Chase participated in the 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition, as did the husband-and-wife Boss pair — Emmanuel and Lee Karp-Boss, associate professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences.
They utilized a $149,714 grant from NASA to gather biogeochemical information from the Arctic Ocean — information that NASA uses to verify data that its satellites glean daily from the same water.
This summer, Boss and Leeuw, who this spring earned his master’s degree in oceanography, will utilize an additional NASA award of $27,000 to continue collecting data in the Mediterranean.
Boss says he was persistent in his efforts to get NASA to provide the follow-up funding. “If you want to make something happen, put all of your weight and belief behind it to make it happen,” he says. “You only live once; go for it. Don’t give up on your dream.”
He gives similar advice to students.
Leeuw says his interest in oceanography emerged when he took an undergraduate course with Boss. Leeuw, a marine science major, subsequently became a research assistant in the University of Maine In-situ Sound and Color Lab.
Multiple opportunities subsequently became available, he says.
Leeuw and Boss analyzed data collected from 2009 to 2012 during the Tara Oceans expedition. This past year, the two developed an iPhone app that measures water quality.
And after this summer’s monthlong Mediterranean trek, the Lincoln, Vermont, native will drive cross country to Washington state, where he has accepted a job developing environmental sensors at Sequoia Scientific, Inc.
The lesson: “Don’t be afraid to make friends with faculty; some of the best learning and research opportunities can happen outside the classroom,” Leeuw says.
Leeuw says last summer’s Arctic trip was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“It was empowering to work as a scientist,” he says. “It prepared me for this upcoming situation. I’m more confident.”
He monitored a suite of optical instruments and as water was pumped into the vessel’s flow-through system, he recorded its temperature, salinity profile and fluorescence.
Leeuw calls the data that UMaine collected last summer — which is free and accessible to the public — unparalleled.
“We drifted up to an ice pack and took a bunch of samples,” he says. “The water was below freezing but there were massive plankton blooms. Just amazing.”
A UMaine student is currently working to identify the types of species, he says.
During that trek, Tara was blocked by ice in the Vilkitsky Strait for about a week. When Tara was able to forge ahead, she arrived late at the next destination — Pevek, Russia. The scientists departing the vessel after that leg of the trek, including Leeuw, had missed that week’s one flight out of the northern port.
This summer’s adventure begins for Leeuw on June 26, a couple of weeks after World Oceans Day. He’ll board Tara in Nice, France, work for just over a month and debark in Cyclades — a dazzling Greek island group in the Aegean Sea.
Results of the voyage are expected to provide scientific insight into “what is in the ocean — where species are and why they are there,” Leeuw says, all of which advance researchers’ understanding of the ocean and the mission of Tara Expeditions.
Etienne Bourgois, president of Tara Foundation, says Tara’s quest is to understand what is happening with the climate and to explain it simply.
“This exceptional ship must pursue her mission as ambassador of the world’s citizens, must remain a catalyser of energy and desire to tackle without glitter the main question that arises for each one of us: What future are we preparing for our children?” he says on the website.
To learn more, visit oceans.taraexpeditions.org.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777