University of Maine News
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.
On May 8, the Maine Development Foundation and the University of Maine’s School of Economics released the third quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine.
The latest report, “The Fiscal Return on Higher Education in Maine,” looks at the state benefits of greater educational attainment, such as increased tax revenue and reduced social costs. Philip Trostel, a UMaine professor of economics and public policy, wrote the report that determined each bachelor’s degree in Maine generates a benefit to Maine taxpayers of approximately $74,600 in present value over the course of a lifetime.
Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy, is overseeing the series of reports that further explore the economic indicators in “Measures of Growth in Focus,” an annual report issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council.
The Maine Development Foundation news release and the full report are online.
The Associated Press, The Sports Network, CBS Sports, Bangor Daily News, WVII (Channel 7), WABI (Channel 5), Providence Journal and Portland Press Herald were among news organizations to report University of Maine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech has named Robert Walsh the new UMaine men’s basketball head coach, effective May 7. Walsh has nearly 20 years of Division I and Division III coaching experience. Most recently, for nine seasons he was head coach at Division III Rhode Island College. “I am excited to welcome Coach Bob Walsh to the Black Bear family,” said Creech. “Coach Walsh is highly respected in the college basketball community and ready for the challenge of leading and rebuilding UMaine’s Division I program.” USA Today and Miami Herald carried the AP report. Chicago Tribune and Fox News carried the Sports Network article.
The Associated Press, Portland Press Herald, Mainebiz, Bangor Daily News, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and WLBZ (Channel 2) were among news organizations to report on the U.S. Department of Energy’s selection of finalists for the next phase of its Advanced Technology Demonstration Program. The University of Maine’s offshore wind project known as New England Aqua Ventus was selected fourth and is an alternate. The project will receive $3 million for further research and development, and will be considered for more funding should additional funds become available. “We’re certainly going to have the opportunity to continue to try to demonstrate this technology at full scale and whether it’s directly with DOE as a partner or through some other vehicle that’s something we’ll have to be working on over the next years,” said UMaine’s Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward. The Washington Post, SFGate, Houston Chronicle, The Washington Times, Boston Herald, WABI (Channel 5) and Sun Journal carried the AP report.
A Bangor Daily News article advancing this year’s Waterfront Concerts’ season cited a 2013 study conducted by University of Maine economics professor Todd Gabe. Gabe found more than 200,000 people had attended the series in its first three years, bringing more than $30 million into the local economy. Attendance figures had grown steadily each year. Waterfront Concerts promoter Alex Gray said an updated version of the report is in the process of being finalized and has been sent out for peer review.
The Portland Press Herald cited University of Maine research in an article about state officials saying Maine lobstermen’s efforts to mark egg-bearing female lobsters with a V-notch on their tail have been on the decline since 2008, which could put pressure on the future health of the industry. The article states that according to an annual UMaine survey of young lobsters in 11 locations in the Gulf of Maine, juvenile population settlements have fallen by more than half since 2007.
A University of Maine faculty member, two students and a campus organization were recognized for outstanding public service and civic engagement at the Maine Campus Compact’s (MCC) 13th annual Awards Ceremony on April 30 at the State House Hall of Flags in Augusta.
Robert Glover, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences-Honors preceptor and assistant professor of political science, received the Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence. Students Kimberly Dao and Bryer Sousa received the Heart and Soul Student Award, recognizing exemplary civic engagement. UMaine’s Alternative Breaks program was recognized with a President’s Campus Leadership Award. Co-presidents Kelly Covey and Morgan Kinney accepted the award.
Glover was recognized for his work in the classroom, in particular with his “Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies” class, in which students commit to a yearlong, service-learning policy research project. He was also recognized for his advocacy for service learning, as demonstrated by his efforts to develop a Citizen Scholar certificate program through the Honors program and to institutionalize an interdisciplinary minor in civic and community engagement. He also has made a regional and national impact through his writing. In partnership with UMaine faculty member Linda Silka, Glover coauthored an article in the journal Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.
Dao and Sousa were recognized for their embodiment of heart and soul for their efforts to engage and empower peers and the community.
Last year, Dao, who has been admitted into the Maine Track Early Assurance program of Tufts University School of Medicine, established a scholarship program to offer undergraduate students financial support to help subsidize professional and personal development opportunities. This year, the senior biology major worked with the Student Women’s Association and Women’s Resource Center to bring the national Elect Her program to campus. UMaine is one of 50 campuses nationwide hosting this program. As student body president, a member of All Maine Women, and an inductee of Phi Beta Kappa, Dao is a leader. With her involvement in Black Bear Mentors, Alternative Breaks, Operation HEARTS and the UMaine chapter of Partners for World Health, Dao has demonstrated her capacity to empower others.
Sousa, a sophomore chemistry, physics and mathematics triple major, was recognized for his work to explore alternative methods of water filtration. During his first year, Bryer established a student chapter of Water for ME, an organization committed to improving public health and water systems in developing countries. He established a partner chapter with Bangor High School to increase opportunities available to aspiring high school scientists. In summer 2013, the recipient of the Davis Foundation Project for Peace grant partnered with Pure Water for the World and Water for ME to fund and install water filters for 50 households in the Trojes region of Honduras. He is a research assistant in a project to design a clean water program for people in Haiti.
UMaine’s Alternative Breaks program was honored for demonstrating the use of service as an integral part of the college experience for students, creating innovative approaches to campus-based efforts to address community issues, integrating strategies into their institutional structure and impacting the campus and surrounding community. Students at UMaine who participate in Alternative Breaks provide a range of community services, from working with underprivileged youth in Florida to environmental preservation in the Grand Canyon.
MCC, established in 1994 and hosted at Bates College, is an affiliate state office of Campus Compact, which encompasses more than 1,100 college and university presidents — representing 6 million students — dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement and service-learning in higher education. More than 15,000 student volunteers at MCC member campuses provide 1.6 million hours of service annually, with an economic impact of more than $25 million a year.