University of Maine News
92.9 FM The Ticket, WABI (Channel 5), WLBZ (Channel 2), Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald covered the formal introduction of Bob Walsh as the University of Maine men’s basketball head coach. UMaine athletic department officials held a press conference at the Cross Insurance Center to introduce Walsh. “I’m thrilled about it,” Walsh said. “Coaching at a place where I’m comfortable and can stay for a long time is really important to me.”
Gary Anderson, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension associate professor, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “Maine farmers providing ark for critically endangered breeds.” Experts say biodiversity in the world’s farmyards are shrinking, according to the article, and efforts are underway to monitor several farm animals that appear on a list of critically endangered domestic breeds. Anderson said today, big agriculture is all about making more food for less money. He gave an example of chickens; stating that in 1926, the average chicken produced 126 eggs per year, and today, a hybrid hen created by agribusiness Hy-Line International lays 240 eggs per year. He added the hens are also eating less; from more than 7 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs 60 years ago, to only 2.8 pounds of feed today.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about independent Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler’s campaign and his dominance in affluent suburban communities such as Yarmouth. Brewer said he’s not surprised Cutler has strong support in Yarmouth again because “He’s doing all the right things — campaigning hard, putting forth substantive policy proposals and calling for debates.” He added Cutler will need to convince voters in Yarmouth and beyond that he can win a three-way race and not just play the role of spoiler. “I know his people disagree, but this race will be decided by what the people who don’t like LePage do,” Brewer said.
The Associated Press reported Maine Sea Grant is seeking proposals for research projects related to the nearshore scallop fishery in Maine.
The program is making money available for projects that emphasize cooperation between fishermen and scientists, with the goal of improving the management of Maine’s scallop fishery. Maine Sea Grant said it expects proposals will include requests for $2,000 to $10,000 in grant money. Proposals are due by June 16. SeacoastOnline, Fisherynation.com, SFGate and WGME (Channel 13) carried the AP report.
The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) will hold its annual training conference May 17–18 at the University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center in Orono.
MASAR is a nonprofit organization that helps the Maine Warden Service search for people who are lost or missing.
Any search and rescue personnel, dogs and vehicles spotted in the greater Orono area during this time are likely involved in the conference.
Many of the seminars are hands-on activities and include topics such as weather awareness, evidence preservation and lost person behavior. There also will be outdoor training exercises in litter carry, shelter building, land navigation, clue awareness and radio communications.
The conference is open to anyone 18 or older who is interested in learning about or becoming involved in search and rescue. Registration is $100 per person and will be accepted the day of the event, however meals and lodging can’t be guaranteed for those who register after May 12.
More information, including the registration form and event schedule, can be found online or by calling 207.951.0526.
More than 10,200 family members and friends attended the University of Maine’s 212th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus today.
Most of the 1,660 students — undergraduates, master’s and doctoral — receiving degrees from UMaine this year were on hand for one of the two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. In addition, a Graduate Student Recognition Ceremony was held Friday afternoon.Commencement 2014 [see the SlideDeck]
This year’s honorary degree recipients were Maine singer-songwriter David Mallett of Sebec and international best-selling author Dr. Tess Gerritsen of Camden.
As the Commencement speaker for the morning ceremony, Mallett performed two of his legendary songs, “I Knew This Place” and “Garden Song.” He told the audience that he discovered songwriting as a University of Maine student studying theater. He also met his wife at UMaine.
“I wrote my first well-known song two miles from here in Old Town,” said Mallett, whose performance ended with a standing ovation.
Gerritsen’s address focused on creativity — “making connections between things that no one else has tried combining before,” and finding ways to blend unrelated elements into something new and remarkable.
She talked about her creative writing process and encouraged the students to become similar lifelong collectors of information by reading, exploring and cultivating new interests.
“A builder studies an anthill and sees a new design for an underground parking lot,” Gerritsen said. “A musician goes bird-watching, hears a robin sing, and it becomes the melody of his new song. A scientist walks on a beach, picks up a seashell and admires its beautiful internal curves. Years later, as he’s struggling to understand the structure of a protein, he remembers that seashell and suddenly the protein makes sense. When he first picked up the shell, he had no idea that studying it would ever be important until one day, it is.”
Others honored in the Commencement ceremonies were this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian — Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass., respectively. Ventura received a bachelor’s degree in music education. Chalmers, an honors student, received two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She also minored in education and Spanish.
Between the Commencement ceremonies, five faculty members were honored at the annual Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon — Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, as the 2014 Distinguished Maine Professor; J. Malcolm Shick, professor of zoology and oceanography, the recipient of the 2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; School of Computing and Information Science Professor M. Kate Beard-Tisdale, the 2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; the 2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award recipient it Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group; and Sandra Sigmon, professor of psychology, recipient of the 2014 ADVANCE Rising Tide Center Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
More than 100 middle school students from around the state will gather at the University of Maine on Saturday, May 17 to participate in the Maine Invention Convention state competition.
The statewide contest promotes problem solving and innovation by Maine students in grades five through eight. Throughout the school year, students work with their peers and teachers to identify and solve everyday problems they are passionate about by using Innovation Engineering, a systematic approach to innovation with fundamental concepts including methods for creating, communicating and commercializing meaningfully unique ideas.
“This program fosters and enhances the learning of our Maine students by creating a culture of innovation and problem solving. It supports the youth of today and the workforce of tomorrow by providing unique skills and opportunities to help students learn and grow,” says Jordan Nickerson, assistant community outreach coordinator at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation.
After competing against their peers at the local level, top students from 15 schools, as well as students who are homeschooled, are invited to attend the state contest from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Balance Recreation Center on campus. Students will compete for top prizes in each grade level, as well as for 2014 State Champion, People’s Choice Award and 4-H Choice Award. The 4-H award will be judged and presented by students participating in 4-H@UMaine. Honorable mentions also will be chosen.
Every winner will receive a medallion made at the Advanced Manufacturing Center on campus. Savings bonds from Bangor Savings Bank will be given to the overall winner as well as the top winners in each grade.
The Maine Invention Convention competition is put on by the Foster Center with support from Bangor Savings Bank, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, University Credit Union, Cole Land Transportation Museum and Foster’s On the Run.
This is the second year the Foster Center is hosting the event, which has existed for more than 20 years and was previously run by middle school teachers.
Last year, Grace Perron from James F. Doughty School in Bangor, was selected the overall winner for her invention of Cremu, a homemade emu oil hand lotion. A total of 90 students representing 11 middle schools attended last year’s event.
More information on the Maine Invention Convention is online.
Two University of Maine sophomores have been named winners of the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship for the 2014–15 academic year and will study abroad in Ireland as part of the student exchange program.
George J. Mitchell Scholars Morgan Gustin and Hilary Warner-Evans will each spend a semester at the University College Cork in Ireland. The scholarship honors the 1998 Northern Ireland peace accord brokered by Sen. Mitchell between Ireland and the United Kingdom and is open to full-time undergraduate students in the University of Maine system.
The scholarship allows one student to study for a year in Ireland or two students to study for a semester each with all expenses paid, including airfare. This year — for the second time — both winners are from the Orono campus.
Gustin, an animal sciences major from Merrill, Maine, will study in Ireland during the fall 2014 semester. Warner-Evans, an anthropology major from West Bath, Maine, will make the trip in the spring of 2015. Both students are enrolled in the Honors College.
While in Ireland, Gustin plans to pursue animal science courses from a new perspective, specifically through integrating Ireland’s farming, livestock and agricultural techniques into her learning.
“Studying in Ireland will allow me to broaden my understanding of life in a different culture, expand my horizons within animal sciences, and gain experience that will help me decide whether my goal of living abroad long term is a desirable reality,” Gustin says, adding that she is looking forward to pushing herself out of her comfort zone personally and academically.
In the long term, Gustin aspires to explore a variety of areas within animal science, particularly field research on large animals and management practices within the context of a ranch.
She has worked as a student farm intern at the University of Maine Witter Farm Equine Cooperative and as a tour guide and carriage driver with Carriages of Acadia in Bar Harbor. At Carriages of Acadia she leads narrated historic tours of Acadia National Park and the carriage road system while driving and handling draft horse teams in a variety of situations.
Gustin also is a College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) Level 1 certified tutor for the UMaine Tutor Program and a member of the student leadership group for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). She has taken mission trips to Chile and Haiti as a member of CRU, volunteering her time to serve others and raise funds for the expeditions.
“I hope to return with an even deeper insight on how to step into the unknown and rise up to meet the challenges it presents,” Gustin says of her next adventure.
Warner-Evans, who is pursuing a degree in anthropology and aspires to become a folklorist, will study Irish folklore while abroad.
“Folklore is a discipline uniquely suited to celebrating both cultural variation and universality,” she says. “An understanding of it provides insight into both the specific identities of groups and the dynamics between them.”
Since 2012, Warner-Evans has volunteered at the Maine Folklife Center, where she has contributed to the center’s community outreach efforts by conducting research for its Maine Song and Story Sampler webpage. She also volunteers as a UMaine Conversation and Cultural Partner and is a member of Maine Peace Action Committee, the UMaine German Club and the Honors College Student Advisory Board.
“The Mitchell Scholarship will give me an unprecedented opportunity to broaden my understanding of the field of folklore, as it will expose me to a second interpretation of the discipline,” says Warner-Evans, who is currently working on a research project about reactions to the discovery of the North Pond Hermit and how those reactions relate to Maine identity.
Warner-Evans says she is driven by her dream of living in a world where tradition and tolerance are valued equally, and where groups with different views can take pride in their own identities while acknowledging that does not mean they are inherently superior to others.
“The ability to study folklore at University College Cork is an invaluable tool for me to further the implantation of my vision of a more tolerant and empathetic world,” she says.
More about the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
The Bangor Daily News spoke with the University of Maine’s Class of 2014 valedictorian Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and salutatorian Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass., for the article “UMaine valedictorian, salutatorian both hope to be teachers despite changes in education system.” Ventura, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music education, said she plans to pursue a master’s in music education and eventually become a music teacher. “What really gets me is seeing the look on the kids’ faces when they get it. When we’re working on something, and it finally clicks. It’s so cool to get that spark,” Ventura said. Chalmers, a history and English double major, said she has joined Teach for America, a teacher training program that puts recent college graduates in schools with socio-economically disadvantaged student populations, and will teach in New Jersey in August. “I just love learning, and other than trying to learn forever, the only way I can think to do anything with that is to help others like it,” Chalmers said.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with mechanical engineering professor Michael “Mick” Peterson and several students at the Mechanical Engineering Design Open House. More than 60 mechanical engineering students displayed their capstone projects that ranged from a surgical device that can be used for adult circumcision to the reduce HIV transmission rates in Africa, to a snowmobile powered by compressed natural gas. Most projects focused on the development of heat pumps and other energy-related devices. “They couldn’t have built any of these projects if they didn’t have the three previous years of engineering training,” Peterson said.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert who helps beginning gardeners achieve successful harvests, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on spring gardening advice, and touched on topics such as annuals, perennials, container gardening, vegetables, sun, soil and pests.
The groundbreaking research of Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology and alumnus (Ph.D. 2012), is highlighted in the News & Analysis section of the May 9 journal Science. The story, “New Sites Bring the Earliest Americans Out of the Shadows,” focuses on the archaeologist’s new evidence that Paleoindians “spread throughout North and South America earlier than long believed — and even camped high in the Andes Mountains.” Rademaker, who recently received the Tubingen Ice Age Research Prize, presented his findings on the earliest high-altitude human occupation in the New World at the Society for American Archaeology. “What we have is these ancient people emerging everywhere,” Rademaker said in Science.
Rademaker’s research also was the focus of a poem written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The poem and Science article were featured in a post on Allen’s blog, which is hosted on the website “State of the Planet: Blogs from the Earth Institute.”
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about Maine Gov. Paul LePage unveiling two new policy initiatives during a Portland Chamber of Conference breakfast. LePage said if he’s re-elected, he will propose a student loan forgiveness program. He also said municipal revenue sharing hasn’t lowered property taxes like it was supposed to. “Frankly, I will tell you what I am going to do with revenue sharing next year: Instead of giving it to the towns so the towns can spend it, I am going to do it to reduce local property taxes directly to the homeowner,” LePage said. Brewer said the initiatives “both have the potential to be very attractive to voters,” and it will be interesting to see how the proposals develop.
Diane Atwood, a Catching Health blogger, referred to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Tick ID Lab in an interview with WLBZ (Channel 2) about preparing for tick season. Atwood mentioned the lab is available if people want an expert to identify a tick. She also mentioned the lab in a recent blog post titled, “How to recognize a deer tick and protect yourself from Lyme disease.”
University of Maine athletic department officials will introduce recently hired men’s basketball head coach Robert Walsh at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 9, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. AmericaEast.TV will stream the event live beginning at 1:25 p.m. The last nine seasons Walsh was head coach at Division III power Rhode Island College. Under his leadership, the Anchormen posted a record of 204–63 (.764 winning percentage) and made eight straight trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Prior to guiding RIC, for seven years, Walsh was an assistant coach at Division I Providence College.
University of Maine graduates and distinguished engineers will be inducted into the Francis Crowe Society during two ceremonies on Saturday, May 10.
The College of Engineering will host a ceremony from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts, and the School of Engineering Technology will host a ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon at the D.P. Corbett Business Building.
The College of Engineering’s distinguished engineers to be inducted are:
Allan A. LaBonty, P.E. ’80; nominated by Chemical and Biological Engineering
David B. Bernhardt, P.E. ’84; nominated by Civil and Environmental Engineering
Hilary Henry ’94, ’13G; nominated by Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michael W. Brakey ’75; nominated by Engineering Physics
The School of Engineering Technology’s distinguished engineers to be inducted are:
Todd D. Pineo ’89; nominated by Electrical Engineering Technology
David W. Humphrey, P.L.S. ’82; nominated by Surveying Engineering Technology
Robert Falciani, P.E.; nominated by Construction Management Technology
The Francis Crowe Society recognizes UMaine engineering graduates and others who have made considerable contributions to the engineering profession. The society is named in honor of Francis Trenholm Crowe, who earned a degree in civil engineering from UMaine in 1905 and was chief engineer of the Hoover Dam. Crowe also was involved in the construction of 18 other major dams in the United States, facilitating farming in a number of areas.
More information about the Francis Crowe Society is online.