University of Maine News
A Bangor Daily News feature story about the University of Maine Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory in Boardman Hall included comments from Nicholas Giudice, a UMaine School of Computing Information Sciences assistant professor in spatial information science and engineering, and Richard Corey, VEMI laboratory manager, who discussed a head-mounted device that can simulate a variety of virtual realities. The device could be used for emergency training or, eventually, to augment navigation for people with diminished spatial recognition.
Artist Caroline Robe describes the past year in two words: tough love. Tough, because she began a self-study of one of the most archaic, difficult painting mediums — egg tempera. Love, because the arduous journey resulted in unequivocal success in an art form that she says suits her personality and her voice.
“I’m inclined to be less urban, off the beaten path,” says Robe, a University of Maine student from Waterville, Maine, who completed her studio art degree last December. “Egg tempera is an old painting style that’s not common and not designed for ease. But it’s a very conceptual medium.
“Using a medium that requires so much preparation indulges my interest in manual processes and allows for a great range of expression — from the earliest stages of building the birch panel to the final thin glazes.”
In fall 2011, Robe discovered her passion for what is considered one of the oldest painting mediums when she studied abroad at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Greece.
“The experience opened me up to following my own path and trusting my intuition,” she says. “I realized this is something I could do for the rest of my life.”
For a month, Robe also traveled through Italy, studying pre-Renaissance and Renaissance art, with particular interest in the egg tempera works that used pigments mixed with a binder — egg yolk — to make paints that were applied in multiple glazes to rigid support surfaces, such as boards. When she returned to UMaine, she established a studio in her Orono apartment and started her honors thesis — an exploration on modern-day egg tempera painting.
“Egg tempera is a technical process that results in unparalleled beauty. It has a romance to it,” says Robe. “In the 13th to 15th centuries, it was meant to be a literary art. And that’s what I wanted to do through my artwork — tell stories.”
In her self-study of the technically difficult egg tempera painting process, Robe consulted her thesis adviser Ed Nadeau and took an independent study with James Linehan, both UMaine artists and professors. She read countless books on the medium.
She also studied the works of the 20th-century master of egg tempera — Andrew Wyeth. And she trusted herself “to find my own way in this medium.”
“Egg tempera doesn’t imitate the lushness of reality like oil. It’s linear, flat and smooth, inviting the viewer to interact with the painting in a more intellectual, conceptual way,” Robe says.
Within a year, Robe found her own means of expression in egg tempera — from making her own paints to building her 8-foot by 5.5-foot narrative panels.
“In the large narrative works like my thesis painting (titled “For you I bring with reverent hands, beauty won from darkest hours”) there’s a lot of symbolism and personal mythology,” Robe says. “It is a narrative of transformation. It’s about falling in love with vernacular space.
“This also is feminist artwork — a narrative about women and my own empowerment. Creating this large egg tempera was a feminist act. There are few egg tempera female painters. Even when it was particularly challenging, I felt it necessary to go past self-censoring to show that young females can make big paintings, do big things, too.”
Robe admits that there were times early on in her year of self-guided study that the challenges seemed insurmountable and she contemplated switching mediums.
“When (Sandro) Botticelli was doing it (in the 15th century), he had a shop full of assistants helping him,” she says. “There’s a lot in the process that takes time, but I needed a challenge.
“Now it’s transformed my identity, from an average level of commitment by a college art student to an artist who is rabidly invested in doing this work,” says Robe, who hopes to return for more study in Europe and eventually to pursue a Master of Fine Arts. “For me, it is the intersection of daily life, peace and women’s activism.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The University of Maine School of Performing Arts production of the powerful Broadway smash-hit rock musical Spring Awakening opens Feb. 15 and runs through Feb. 24.
Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. February 15–16 and Feb. 21–23; 2 p.m. Feb. 17 and Feb. 24 in Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus. Admission is $15; free with a student MaineCard. Tickets are available online at umaine.edu/spa or at the door unless sold out.
The musical contains explicit adult content and language.
Based on a controversial 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind, Spring Awakening, with music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, has been produced worldwide since its 2006 Broadway debut. The story follows teenagers as they grow up and struggle to understand their sexuality in repressive 19th-century Germany. The winner of eight Tony Awards, Spring Awakening includes high-energy rock music, combined with edgy, bold and elegant choreography.
Director Tom Mikotowicz, a UMaine professor of theatre, chose this demanding production because it includes dozens of challenging opportunities for students to act, sing and dance.
“I liked the energy of the rock music juxtaposed with the historical context of topics directly related to our current students,” Mikotowicz says. “This is a version of the Romeo and Juliet story, set simultaneously in the 19th and 21st centuries.”
UMaine graduate student Craig Ouellette is the musical director. Leading the high-energy, choreography — emotionally charged movements with a modern, urban twist — are UMaine dance faculty member Birdie Sawyer, who teaches hip-hop, and Hip-Hop Club president Sam Borer.
The entire production involves more than 20 students, including Austin Erickson, an anthropology major from Bangor as Melchior, and Hope Milne, a vocal music education major from Hamilton, Mass., as Wendla.
The artistic team is rounded out by costume designer Kathleen Brown, lighting designer Shon Causer and set designer Dan Bilodeau.
Contact: Monique Hashey, 207.581.4721
Modern crime prevention would benefit from a greater biosocial approach to delinquency and offending that is rooted in family, school and community intervention strategies, according to a research team led by University of Maine sociologist Michael Rocque.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, criminologists contended that deviant behavior was biologically or mentally predisposed — that some people were “born” to commit crimes. It wasn’t long before those theories, which went so far as to include calls for eugenics, were considered unethical and immoral, and lost favor as socially unacceptable.
Today, there is again a growing body of literature on the importance of biological risk factors in crime prevention — cognitive deficits; impulsivity and negative temperament; conduct disorder and aggression; and mental and physical health. But unlike criminological theories in the 1900s, crime prevention research now focuses on the importance of social context and the need to address biological/psychological risk factors early in life.
In a paper published in the Journal of Criminal Justice, Rocque, a UMaine alumnus and a sociology instructor, and two colleagues — Brandon Welsh of Northeastern University and Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania — examine the relevance of biology in modern crime prevention.
In particular, the research team looked at the newest form of crime prevention — developmental prevention — that focuses largely on early biological risk factors for delinquency and criminal offending that result from the interaction between the person and the environment.
Developmental crime prevention recommendations are in keeping with traditional sociological approaches — from improving the family environment to address risks of antisocial behavior, to stepping up prenatal care to ensure healthy child development. This biosocial approach looks at crime prevention strategies rooted in programs focused on families and parenting, preschool, mental and physical health, and nutrition.
“Today’s bio-crime prevention approaches recognize the importance of the environment and of early intervention,” according to the research team. “These strategies seek to improve lives rather than remove people from society. In that sense bio-crime prevention is a positive development — one that deserves more attention from the criminological community.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Juvenile wood frogs emigrating from their birthplaces in vernal pools into the terrestrial ecosystem may transfer mercury they accumulated during larval development into the food web, according to a team of University of Maine researchers.
The team, led by U.S. Geological Survey and UMaine wildlife ecologist Cynthia Loftin, conducted its study at four short-hydroperiod (likely to dry by mid-June) seasonal woodland pools in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine.
The researchers found mercury levels in the 1- to 2-week-old embryos were near or below detectable amounts, indicating that transfer of mercury from mother to eggs was absent or minimal. However, mercury accumulated rapidly in the 6- to 8-week-old tadpoles.
Mercury, a heavy, toxic metal, occurs naturally and is introduced into the environment by metal processing, coal burning and mining. People are exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish and wildlife. Over time, low-grade mercury exposure in people can impact cognitive thinking and fine motor skills.
While concentrations of total mercury differed among the pools and were greatest in the unburned softwood-dominated setting, the levels increased in all pools throughout the season. The pools dried in June and refilled with September and October rain.
Wood frogs can travel some distance from their natal pools. During summer, fall and winter, they live in wetlands and on land. In the winter, they hibernate underneath leaf litter, woody debris and soil. They return to pools in the spring to mate.
For a better understanding of the transport of this contaminant from seasonal pools into the surrounding environment and potential for uptake into the terrestrial food web, future studies should focus on the ratio of total mercury to methylmercury (produced by burning of fossil fuels) in embryos, tadpoles and juvenile frogs leaving natal ponds, according to the research team, writing in the journal Northeastern Naturalist.
Loftin teamed with Aram Calhoun, professor of wetland ecology; Sarah Nelson, assistant research professor at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center; Adria Elskus, associate professor of biological sciences; and Kevin Simon, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, to conduct the study.
Due to uncertain weather conditions, the UMaine School of Performing Arts Cadenzato concert scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 in Minsky Recital Hall has been changed. The concert will now be split into two parts. At 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10, faculty musicians will perform works by J.S. Bach, Hillary Tann and Walter Rabl. The performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”, in recognition of the work’s 100-year history, has been rescheduled for 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12. Both performances will be held in Minsky Recital Hall. Admission is free. For information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.4703.
Due to uncertain weather conditions, the UMaine School of Performing Arts Cadenzato concert scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 in Minsky Recital Hall has been changed. The concert will now be split into two parts. At 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10, faculty musicians will perform works by J.S. Bach, Hillary Tann and Walter Rabl. The performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” in recognition of the work’s 100-year history, will be rescheduled for a later date. Both performances will be held in Minsky Recital Hall. Admission is free. For information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.4703.
Several news organizations, including Channel 7 (WVII) and Channel 5 (WABI) reported on a visit to the University of Maine Advanced Manufacturing Center and UMaine’s Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab Feb. 6 by members of the Maine Legislature’s new Workforce and Economic Future Committee. Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried an Associated Press report on the visit.
In her Bangor Daily News blog “Pollways,” University of Maine Professor of Political Science Amy Fried discusses the Affordable Care Act and Gov. Paul LePage’s objections to it, and the potential consequences of legislative inaction for Maine residents.
In his Bangor Daily news blog “Education: Future Imperfect,” University of Maine Professor of History Howard Segal discusses the apparent proliferation of educational consultants hired by institutions of higher education.
Yong Chen, professor for fisheries population dynamics in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences, was interviewed for an article published by Voice of America about declining fish stock in the Gulf of Maine and researchers’ attempts to accurately monitor population changes.
The University of Maine will hold the second annual 12-hour BearFest Dance Marathon starting at 5 p.m., Feb. 23 at the UMaine New Balance Field House to benefit the Bangor-area Children’s Miracle Network and the pediatric wing at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Last year, the event — coordinated by the UMaine Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, and Campus Activities & Student Engagement — raised $32,000. As of Feb. 7, more than 500 preregistered participants planning to dance until 5 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 have pledged more than $19,000 toward the 2013 goal of $35,000. For information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.973.5051. Pledges and registration information is on the Children’s Miracle Network website.
The University of Maine Department of Art is inviting the public to a free artists’ reception from 5:30–7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8 at the Lord Hall Gallery to mark the opening of two new exhibits that include works by Maine artists. “Surface Tension: Prints by Scott Minzy” features work by Minzy of Pittston, Maine. “Print Portfolios: Selected Images” includes paintings and drawings from artists across the country and from Maine, including UMaine art faculty members Susan Groce and Susan Camp, and former adjunct art instructor Kristisu Sader. The exhibits will be up through March 15. Lord Hall Gallery is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. For information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.3245.
A Portland Press Herald blog on large animal veterinarians in Maine included a question-and-answer interview with University of Maine Cooperative Extension Veterinarian Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the UMaine Animal Health Laboratory and assistant professor of animal and veterinary sciences, about the dwindling numbers of large animal veterinarians in the state.
For the Feb. 5 edition of Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s Maine Calling program, Jessica Leahy, assistant professor of human dimensions of natural resources in the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, joined Scott Williams, executive director of the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, and Susan Gallo, a Maine Audubon wildlife biologist, for a discussion about how citizen scientists in Maine help environmental researchers document aberrations in seasonal changes in nature.
A photograph of a snow-capped Mount Katahdin taken by Nancy Michaud, a library specialist in the University of Maine Science and Engineering Center at Fogler Library, has been selected to represent the month of February in a 2013 calendar produced by Bridgeport National Bindery, Inc. The company binds science journals for UMaine and other colleges and universities in the Northeast, and asks employees at institutions it serves to submit photos each year to be considered for its annual calendar.
Mary Cathcart, senior policy associate at the University of Maine Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, is one of two women selected for induction into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame Saturday, March 16 at a ceremony at the University of Maine at Augusta. Cathcart, a former three-term member of the Maine House of Representatives and a four-term member of the Maine Senate representing Penobscot County, has been a long-time advocate for the rights of women and girls, according to an article in the Bangor Daily News. At the Margaret Chase Smith Center, she established the Maine NEW Leadership program, a nonpartisan training program for undergraduate college women in public and private institutions. The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs created the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990 to honor women who have made notable contributions to improving opportunities for Maine women. The second Hall of Fame inductee is Colby College Professor Lyn Mikel Brown, an activist, author and co-founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women in Waterville.
Head football coach Jack Cosgrove has agreed to a new three-year contract that will keep him at the helm of the Black Bears through June 2016, according to University of Maine Director of Athletics Steve Abbott.
“I am pleased to announce that we have signed Jack Cosgrove to lead our football program for another three seasons,” says Abbott. “Jack has done a terrific job as the leader of the Black Bear football team. He thrives on the intense competition and rivalries in the Colonial Athletic Association, and is committed to continuing to build upon the team’s success.”
Cosgrove, who just completed his 20th season leading the Black Bears, is a 1978 Maine graduate and All-Conference quarterback. He holds the program record with 111 wins. His 76 CAA wins put him fifth in conference history.
“I am especially pleased that we have finalized the contract for Coach Cos,” says UMaine President Paul W. Ferguson. “We have been enjoying a productive conversation with Jack over the last several months following the season’s end, both reflecting on his successful decades of service, but also on a vision for the future of Black Bear Football. I look forward to continuing our close friendship and partnership with him.”
Cosgrove has led the team to four NCAA playoffs (2001, 2002, 2008, 2011), including advancing to the NCAA Final Eight on three occasions (2001, 2002, 2011) and two conference championships (2001, 2002).
Cosgrove’s teams have produced 21 All-America selections and 129 All-Conference honors in the toughest conference in the Football Championship Subdivision. In the classroom, the Black Bears have garnered 26 Academic All-CAA honors from 2009-11, including 13 in 2011.
“In addition to being a first-rate football coach, Jack has been a great mentor and teacher for a whole generation of Maine football players,” Abbott says. “Coach Cosgrove firmly believes in the importance of the academic and personal development of his athletes, and he has made that a priority for more than 20 years. I am delighted that he will continue to guide this program in the future.”
Cosgrove has earned several coaching accolades, including being named the 1996 and 2001 Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year, the 2001 American Football Monthly I-AA National Coach of the Year and the 2011 New England Football Writers FCS Division I Coach of the Year.
“The Cosgrove family is grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve the state of Maine and the University of Maine and its Black Bear Football Program,” Cosgrove says. “We look forward to facing — and embracing — the challenge of providing a quality academic and athletic experience for the young men in our program. We are already hard at work preparing, through our recruiting and training of our current football team, for the challenge of CAA football and our 2013 schedule.”