University of Maine News
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Emily Haddad, the new dean of the University of Maine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, about the importance of studying the humanities and making the most of a liberal arts degree. “Studying something because you think it’s a good idea, but you don’t like it, is probably counterproductive,” she said. “I think it’s essential that students choose to study a field to which they feel some genuine interest.” Haddad, who came to UMaine in July after working as associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Dakota, said she has encouraged past students to study what they’re passionate about, but pick a minor or second major that gives them another skill. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a the Portland Press Herald article, “Maine peaches may be tricky to grow, but they’re easy to eat.” Moran said Maine gardeners can have a peach tree in their backyard without using conventional farming practices, such as spraying pesticides or integrated pest management techniques, but added, it’s “nearly impossible to produce a commercial peach crop in Maine without them.”
Daniel Williams, interim executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts, was a recent guest on the George Hale, Ric Tyler Radio Show on WVOM, The Voice of Maine. Williams spoke about the center’s upcoming season.
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about two lobstermen who caught two white lobsters within a week for the same lobster pound. Albino lobsters — the rarest of all the crustacean’s color mutations — are believed to be about one in 100 million, according to statistics from the Lobster Institute. Bayer, who has only seen a couple of albino lobsters in his lifetime, said he’s not sure if the Owls Head lobsters are true albinos because it seems at least one of the lobsters has a blueish hue, which means it has some pigmentation. “It’s nothing I’ve seen before,” Bayer added. The Bangor Daily News also reported on the lobsters, citing Lobster Institute data.
Phys.org carried a University of Maine report about extreme weather research and the upcoming CLAS (Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability) Conference at UMaine. Researchers at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute have developed online tools to assist local community planners prepare for climate changes, the article states. The tools, which will be explained at the Oct. 23 conference, provide users access to station data, climate and weather models, and pollution and health indices, according to Sean Birkel, a research assistant professor with CCI.
The University of Maine International Programs’ Study Abroad Fair will be held Thursday, Sept. 11 to inform students about the variety of programs available for all majors to study, intern, research or teach abroad. The fair will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the first-floor ballroom of Estabrooke Hall. The fair is free and open to all UMaine students, faculty and staff. Information will be available on UMaine’s direct exchange and recommended programs, as well as scholarships and financial aid. Former UMaine study abroad and current exchange students will be available to answer questions. More than 50 students typically participate in study abroad opportunities, according to C K Kwai, director of the Office of International Programs. More information on UMaine’s study abroad program is available online.
A decorated, retired diplomat who was U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2011 until earlier this year, will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and the Middle East at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, in the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine.
Robert S. Ford, who served 30 years in the U.S. Department of State and Peace Corps, will address how domestic politics and U.S. strategy intersect in Syria in a free talk titled “Syria and Washington Politics — Hard to Agree.”
In 2011, after Syria’s civil war erupted, he traveled to Hama in a display of solidarity with Syrians protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad. Ford then worked with Syrian opposition forces and was instrumental in bringing them to the Geneva peace talks. He served three times in Iraq between 2003 and 2010, including as the ambassador’s senior political adviser during elections for the new Iraqi government. From 2008 to 2010, as deputy ambassador in Iraq, he led a team that developed logistical and security plans that the Obama administration utilized to establish diplomatic posts in Iraq. Ford also served in Cameroon during a civil war, as well as in Egypt and Turkey. Ford, who speaks Arabic and French, began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
His efforts have been recognized and lauded; he has received the Presidential Honor Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, he was presented a Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for “courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.”
The resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. also teaches at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Alison Barkley, who is a Foreign Service officer.
The School of Policy & International Affairs (SPIA) is sponsoring Ford’s talk at UMaine.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud welcomed top officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to Castine on Sept. 5 to celebrate a successful year of the VolturnUS floating wind turbine deployed off Castine.
“This anniversary is another great day for our state, the university and its many partners, and for the advancement of clean, renewable energy for our nation,” said Collins. “This is a remarkable achievement and confirms my belief that the most innovative and dedicated wind energy researchers in the world are working right here in Maine.”
Michaud said the VolturnUS wind turbine is an incredible project and a great example of the type of forward-thinking ideas that can strengthen our economy in the years to come and define Maine as a leader in innovative technologies.
“The UMaine team has done incredible work to get not just VolturnUS up and running, but many other promising initiatives as well. I look forward to continuing to partner with them on advancing these projects that will strengthen Maine’s economy,” he said.
The federal officials were joined by representatives from the University of Maine, Maine Maritime Academy and Cianbro, who discussed highlights of the yearlong deployment off the coast of Castine. VolturnUS, a one-eighth scale model of a 6 MW floating wind turbine with more than 50 sensors on board, has been successfully operating and collecting data related to design capabilities for more than a year, including throughout the Maine winter.
Among the data highlights:
- The VolturnUS 1:8 successfully withstood 18 severe storms equivalent to 50-year storms, and one 500-year storm.
- The maximum acceleration measured was less than 0.17 g for all 50- and 500-year storms, which matched numerical predictions.
- The maximum tower inclination angle measured was less than 7 degrees in all 50- and 500-year storms, and these numbers matched predictions.
In addition, as part of the event, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson signed a $3.8 million cooperative research agreement with UMaine to continue the design and engineering work of the full-scale VolturnUS floating hull.
The other members of the Congressional Delegation also sent congratulations on the VolturnUS project.
“I am pleased to offer my congratulations to the University of Maine as it welcomes this important award and celebrates more than a year of continued success by VolturnUS. This pioneering project represents the next generation of wind technology, and it has the potential to revolutionize how we think about and how we utilize our energy resources. Today’s investment by the Department of Energy is another milestone in its progress and is a renewed recognition of the excellent work done by so many across Maine who will continue to strive to secure a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future through VolturnUS,” said Sen. Angus King.
“This project is an example of two of Maine’s most valuable resources at work: offshore wind that can become a new source of clean energy and the ingenuity and technical skill that can harness that wind. Maine is uniquely positioned to be a leader in offshore wind technology and this successful demonstration project is proof of that,” said Rep. Chellie Pingree.
“We appreciate the continued support of the Department of Energy in the University of Maine’s ongoing efforts in deepwater offshore wind technology research and development,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “It’s through partnerships like this in the federal, state, education and industry sectors that the University of Maine most efficiently and effectively addresses the needs of the state.”
The VolturnUS floating turbine is a patent-pending technology developed at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Laboratory by UMaine and Cianbro personnel. In June 2013, it became the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine deployed in the Americas, and the first floating turbine in the world designed using a concrete hull and a composites material tower to reduce costs and create local jobs. The turbine is a 1:8 geometric scale test program to prepare for the construction of a larger 6 MW floating turbine. The project brought together more than 30 organizations as part of the DeepCwind Consortium, led by UMaine and funded through a competitive DOE grant and industry contributions.
“The success of the VolturnUS 1:8 test project deployed off Castine is a critical milestone on our path to allow us to economically harness the enormous wind power far offshore the U.S.” said Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “The VolturnUS concrete floating hull technology has the potential to harness over 50 percent of the U.S. 4,000 GW offshore wind resource. With 156 GW of offshore wind capacity off the Maine coast, and 4,000 GW off the U.S. coast, we have an opportunity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, stabilize energy prices over the long run, help protect the environment, stimulate local economic activity and create a new industry.”
Contact: Joshua Plourde, 207.581.2117
The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Michael Socolow, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine, titled “Five myths about the Sunday television talk shows.” The article is part of The Washington Post’s “Five Myths” series; a weekly feature “challenging everything you think you know.”
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report about advocates for raising the federal minimum wage urging lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, to take action when Congress resumes next week. Collins is seen as having a key role in bringing a filibustered bill back on the floor, according to the article. Collins said she will attempt a compromise, but Brewer says that may be difficult during this congressional session. “Given where the leadership has staked itself on this, and the fact that it’s an election year, and that the control of the United States Senate is so hotly contested, I would guess no,” Brewer said of the likelihood of Congress taking action this session.
The Korea Times spoke with Carol Mandzik, manager of Business Graduate Programs and Executive Education and Internship Programs at the University of Maine, for an article about a new partnership between UMaine and Wooshin High School, a private high school in Seoul, South Korea. Mandzik said UMaine has worked with five Korean universities, but this is the first agreement with a Korean high school. “We’re very proud of this,” she said. “I have the utmost respect for Wooshin High School based on their value system, learning environment, and their strong administration.” Mandzik said the partnership will allow the university to attract students who want to study abroad.
Tad Wieman, a University of Maine assistant football coach and athletic director in the 1940s, was mentioned in John McPhee’s piece titled Phi Beta Football in the Sept. 8 issue of The New Yorker. McPhee lived next to Wieman’s family in New Jersey when Wieman guided the gridiron team at Princeton University. As a youth, McPhee watched Tigers’ games on the sideline; his father was the team physician.
Phys.org carried a University of Maine report about a two-year study of semipalmated sandpipers being conducted by biologists Rebecca Holberton and Lindsay Tudor. This year, like last, Holberton, a professor at UMaine, and Tudor, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, are conducting health assessments and placing “nano tags” on sandpipers to monitor their movements. The scientists hope to learn more about the birds’ stay on the Maine coast during their migration from the Arctic to South America.
Two University of Maine students have been selected by Fulbright Canada as Killam Fellows for the 2014-15 academic year.
Claire Fouchereaux of Yarmouth, a history and French major, will study at the University of Montreal this spring. Nicole Turmel of Hermon, an international affairs major, is studying at the University of Ottawa this fall.
Fulbright Canada is a joint, binational, treaty-based organization supported by the Canadian and U.S. governments. The Killam Fellowships program, sponsored by Fulbright Canada, allows undergraduate students from Canada and the U.S. to participate in a program of residential exchange to foster mutual understanding between the two countries.
The Fulbright Program, created under the Fulbright Act of 1946, with aid from Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright, operates in more than 150 countries. The Fulbright Scholarship program is highly competitive and has produced more than 300,000 scholars.
More information about the Killam Fellows is online.
The University of Maine will conduct its annual emergency communications system test Thursday, Sept. 18, beginning at noon. Three outdoor sirens will sound for several minutes shortly after noon. They are audible throughout campus and, under certain conditions, in surrounding communities.
The sirens are part of UMaine’s multifaceted emergency communications system established in 2007 that allows university safety and communications professionals to use several mechanisms to quickly communicate vital information to the community during emergency situations.
When UMaine’s emergency communication system is activated, several notifications occur: A text message is sent to subscribers of UMaine’s umaine.txt system; information is posted on the university’s homepage, the UMaine portal and the university’s intranet, FirstClass; and a recorded telephone message may be heard by dialing 581.INFO. After those messages are delivered, police sound the sirens.
With the start of the academic year, members of the University of Maine community are reminded to register to receive UMaine’s emergency notifications. The emergency notification service alerts the UMaine community to public safety issues, including inclement weather conditions causing class cancellations.
Registration for texts and/or email alerts may be done online.
If you have already registered, watch for the test message of the emergency notification system on the 15th of every month. If you do not receive a text or email test alert, please reregister the email address or cellphone number you’re using.
University of Maine senior Michele Girard is a political science major with a minor in international affairs. The North Yarmouth, Maine, native is an Honors College and Dean’s List student, and an accomplished athlete, with three top-10 triathlon finishes in her age category. In September 2014, Girard is volunteering to work with youngsters in Haiti as part of the Be Like Brit organization.
Describe the organization you are volunteering through.
The organization I am working for is called Be Like Brit. The orphanage was started from tragedy. Britney Gengel was 19 and volunteering in Haiti when she was killed in the 2010 earthquake. Before the quake hit, she had sent a text to her mom saying that she wanted to start an orphanage. A year later, her family started Be Like Brit, one of the most unique orphanages in the country. The goal is to house 66 children; they have just accepted their 47th.
I chose Be Like Brit because its story was so personal. They founded an orphanage in her name, I knew it was a group I’d want to work for because of the compassion of this family.
What will you be doing in Haiti?
When you apply to be a Britsionary, a long-term one, you can stay one to three months. To be accepted, you have to submit a proposal for what you would like to teach the children, as well as a detailed outline of the goals you plan to achieve. My proposal was to teach field hockey, a sport they don’t know, because it provided a lot of structure in my life when I played at Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, Maine. I thought it would help these children, too. For one month, I’ll be living at the orphanage teaching the sport, as well as working on various renovation projects and teaching English.
Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupy your time?
I am the current president of the Delta Mu Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. I also teach in the children’s program at Sugarloaf Mountain, and have participated in triathlons in the New England area. I love to travel. This past May, I went to Russia with the Maine Business School and have been to England, France, Ireland and Canada, and, in a few weeks, Haiti as well.
What are your plans after graduation?
I hope to attend graduate school for foreign service. I’d be assigned as an ambassador to countries where the Unites States want to maintain a presence; most current ambassadors are going to places the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. It is a two to four year program for graduate schools such as John Hopkins, Harvard and Georgetown.
What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
The support I have had here on campus has been overwhelming. My professors have gone above and beyond to ensure that I can reach my academic goals. But more than that, they have cared and continue to care about my development and achievements outside of the classroom.
UMaine was special to me because it allowed me to explore what I wanted. There are such a variety of departments and classes, I can be extremely well rounded. In addition, the relationships students have with each other add perspectives that I knew I wanted to have in my collegiate experience.
How would you describe UMaine’s academic atmosphere?
Rigorous. The classes I have taken both in the Honors College and in the Political Science Department require me to constantly re-evaluate what I know about the world. Every day I get excited about a new idea, whether it is an unfamiliar phrase in one of my language classes or upcoming U.S. foreign policy. I am never bored.
Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
I am so fortunate to have many mentors on campus. For example, with my trip to Haiti, the Political Science Department, as well as the Honors College, bent over backward to shift my classes so I could go. I think that says volumes for how much the staff cares about the success of students and the role of the UMaine community in the world.
What is your favorite place on campus?
The highest riser at the football stadium. I have woken up at 3 or 4 a.m., walked to the football field, and climbed to the highest place I can to watch the sun come up over campus. Sometimes friends are with me and sometimes I’m alone, but it always seems to help me think.
While in Orono, I’ve spent too much time…
Chatting with Professor Singleton about foreign policy.
Class that nearly did you in?
It was my freshman year and I had Professor Brewer for a freshman seminar in the Honors College. He is now my adviser and one of the professors I respect most on campus, but he was tough. I was introduced to the rigors college very quickly.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have …
Taken the time to really listen to people. It’s one thing to not talk, but I’ve learned it’s another to really understand who they are.
Amy Blackstone has been appointed director of the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center at the University of Maine, effective Sept. 1.
Blackstone, an associate professor and chair of UMaine’s Department of Sociology, replaces Susan Gardner, who has served as the center’s director since April 2013.
Gardner, an associate professor of higher education, has accepted the position of associate dean of accreditation and graduate affairs in the College of Education and Human Development. She will continue her role as co-principal investigator for the five-year, $3.3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that funds the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center.
Blackstone joined the UMaine faculty in 2003. Her research on childlessness and the childfree choice, workplace harassment, and civic engagement has been published in peer-reviewed journals and collections. Her work also has been featured by various media outlets including Katie Couric’s talk show, MPBN Radio, NBC, Fox, Today.com, MSNBC, Marie Claire, Dame and Huffington Post.
Blackstone is a founding advisory board member of Feminist Reflections, a blog hosted by The Society Pages. She also has served as a consulting editor for Contexts magazine and is author of the textbook “Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods (Flat World Knowledge).”
The ADVANCE program seeks to develop systemic approaches that can be institutionalized at higher education institutions to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and social-behavioral science careers.
Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show, titled “Canning (and other ways to save your garden’s bounty),” included information about preserving food by canning, freezing, drying, root-cellaring and fermenting.
The Portland Press Herald and Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Ian Bricknell, a University of Maine aquaculture biology professor, about the 10th annual Sea Lice Conference he helped organize. More than 200 researchers from the around the world are attending the Portland conference. This is the first year the conference is being held in the United States. Sea lice — a parasite that grazes on the skin of fish — are estimated to cost the global aquaculture industry about $300 million a year, Bricknell said. The Press Herald also mentioned the establishment of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network, or SEANET, at UMaine, thanks to a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant’s goal is to turn Maine’s 3,500-mile coast into a “living laboratory” to study social and environmental interactions among sustainable ecological aquaculture and coastal communities and ecosystems.
The National Post of Canada spoke with University of Maine history professor Liam Riordan for the article, “New Ireland: How Maine almost became part of Canada at the end of the War of 1812.” The article states a history museum in Castine is hosting an exhibition on the lost Canadian province, New Ireland. British forces in pre-Confederation Canada seized Northern Maine during the final months of the War of 1812, according to the article, and if the land-grab succeeded, it would have yielded an area two-thirds the size of present-day New Brunswick. “If British diplomats and strategic thinkers had been more strongly committed to this idea, a very alternative outcome is easy to imagine,” Riordan said.