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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 7 hours 15 min ago
WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine student Spencer Wood was named the winner of the latest Big Gig pitch-off finale at the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Finalists from the last three Big Gig pitch-off events competed for a $1,500 grand prize sponsored by University Credit Union. Wood presented the app Tip Whip that would allow college students to find a ride within a 3-mile ride radius of their location in order to avoid drunk driving, WVII reported. The Big Gig is a series of business pitch events for entrepreneurs in Greater Bangor designed to bring together Bangor-Orono area innovators and entrepreneurs and offer networking opportunities. It was started by a partnership between UMaine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.
The Sun Journal reported on Androscoggin and Oxford county winners of the statewide National History Day (NHD) competition held at the University of Maine in March. NHD is an academic program that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in this year’s state contest. Exhibits, papers, websites, documentaries and performances were judged, with the top winners becoming eligible to compete in the national contest at the University of Maryland, College Park in June. Students from Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland, Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, Hartford Sumner Elementary School in Sumner and T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield were among this year’s winners, the article states.
The research and creative achievement of more than 80 faculty members will be honored at the University of Maine in Celebrating Scholarship, April 21 at the Collins Center for the Arts.
The event, from 5–7 p.m., is part of UMane’s 150th anniversary celebration and will feature exhibits highlighting UMaine faculty scholarship since 2011, including research, books, and visual and performing arts. Celebrating Scholarship, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, is free and open to the public.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has presented its top student and faculty awards:
Outstanding Senior: Robert Fasano, a physics major; Outstanding Graduate Student: Hamdane Bordji, a student in the Global Policy program, School of Policy and International Affairs; Graduate Student Excellence in Research and Creative Activity: Kourtney Collum, anthropology; Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching: Rachel Snell, history.
Outstanding Faculty Awards: Daniel Sandweiss, professor of anthropology and climate studies, Research and Creative Achievement; Amy Fried, professor of political science, Service and Outreach; Kirsten Jacobson, professor of philosophy, Teaching and Advising.
Krista Capps, a research assistant professor in the University of Maine’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, was quoted in the Lab Manager article “Study finds new link between environment, urban diets.” An international team led by Arizona State University found that what people eat — and what they excrete as waste — can influence the nutrient cycle on a large scale, according to the article. A study published in the journal Oikos shows a team of five researchers, including Capps, found urban diets can significantly influence the nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, found in municipal waste streams, the article states. “We’re working to understand the fundamental ways humans shape the ecosystems in which they live,” Capps said.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “At $385 billion, tax fraud amounts to the theft of a nation,” by Steven Barkan, a sociology professor at the University of Maine. Barkan also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.
WVII (Channel 7) interviewed University of Maine student Sara Disselkamp about Something to Snuggle, a nonprofit she started to create and donate handmade blankets to foster children. “I’ve always known I wanted to give back to children in the foster care system or other adoptees,” said Disselkamp, a social work major who was adopted herself. Disselkamp said she chose blankets because often when children are removed from a home, they don’t have anything other than the clothes they’re wearing. “I feel so passionately that everyone deserves to have something to call their own,” she said.
The Maine Edge reported the University of Maine Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) held a situational training exercise for its cadets in March at the university’s Demeritt Forest. The training places cadets in real-life scenarios, causing them to think on their feet and put all training to use, according to the article. The ROTC is a four-year program of college courses that are taken in addition to being a full-time college student. The classes are designed to develop and strengthen a cadet’s skills in leadership, values and life, the article states.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-class workshop on building, planting, maintaining and harvesting square-foot gardens in raised beds and containers.
Classes meet monthly from April through September at the UMaine Extension office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. The first class is 9–11 a.m. April 28; the final class is Sept. 15. Somerset County Cooperative Extension staff will teach the classes, and local Master Gardener Volunteers will work with participants in demonstration gardens throughout the growing season. Harvested produce will be shared with area schools as well as senior and food kitchen programs.
Course fee is $20 per person. To register, for more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pete Bastien at 474.9622, 800.287.1495 (in Maine), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning about commerce in Brazil, France, Japan or Sweden, or doing business in Australia or the United Kingdom? Check out the International Trade Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the atrium of the D.P. Corbett Business Building at the University of Maine.
“It’s a chance for the community to learn about many different countries and the business opportunities that are available abroad,” says Clint Relyea, course instructor and a Maine Business School lecturer in management. “Basically it’s bringing the world to the Maine Business School and bringing the Maine Business School to the world. It should be fun and informative.”
Fourteen teams, each with 10 students, will showcase their respective international trade exhibitions that promote doing business in Brazil, China, Japan, Argentina, Sweden, Ireland, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, France, Singapore and Austria.
“I hope that students will be more informed about the many different facets of working in a country as an expatriate,” Relyea says. “As business professionals they will be ready to work with other cultures and be able to sell the positives of their own country through project management.”
Area professionals will judge the exhibitions on content — including relevance and quality of information — as well as overall appearance, creativity and appearance of effort. After the showcase, students will write a paper reflecting on what they learned during the semester-long project.
Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, is the 2015 valedictorian at the University of Maine and Katelyn Massey of Waterville, Maine, is the salutatorian.
They will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 213th Commencement in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 9.
Beacham, a biochemistry major and honors student, was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. Most recently, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
At UMaine, Beacham has been involved in the national Phage Genomics Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by taking the HON 150/155 Phage Genomics course. She interned at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, an affiliate of Cornell University, where her work focused on the commercial algae biofuel production, and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, studying cilia differentiation in sea urchin and sand dollar embryos.
On campus, Beacham’s research has focused on mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. In collaboration with Assistant Research Professor Sally Molloy, Beacham studied a particular phage named Ukulele that was isolated at UMaine in the Phage Genomics course Beacham took in her first year. Beacham’s project focused on identifying which genes encode the proteins that are involved in regulating Ukulele’s life cycles.
Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement included fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, and research fellowships from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).
Beyond the laboratory and classroom, Beacham has been involved in many student organizations, including the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which took her to Honduras in 2013 to finish installing a septic system in a rural community. She also was a member of Alternative Breaks, and campus-based All Maine Women and Sophomore Eagles honor societies. Beacham was a teaching assistant and, in 2013, took first place in the annual Rezendes Ethics Essay contest.
This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. She hopes to be a professor and contribute to science policy.
Massey is a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. Her academic honors include the Frederick W. and Marianne Hill Scholarship, the Marcus L. Urann Scholarship, Class of 1945 Scholarship, and the Jane Gerry Chase Hangar Scholarship. She also was named a Kornetsky Scholar as the graduating psychology student with the highest GPA.
For the past four years, Massey has been a forward on the UMaine women’s ice hockey team, serving as assistant captain this year and taking Hockey East Top Scholar Athlete honors from 2012–14. She and her teammates have been active in fundraising and volunteer activities in the community, and local youth hockey clinics.
This fall, Massey will pursue graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at UMaine. She also has been selected for a clinical assistantship in UMaine’s Audiology Clinic.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Michael Bailey, a third-year history major at the University of Maine, has been awarded the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship for the 2015–16 academic year and will study abroad in Ireland as part of the student exchange program.
As a George J. Mitchell Scholar, Bailey plans to learn more about history and peace to not only further his academic and career aspirations, but also to enhance his ability to improve the community.
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 all-expenses paid scholarship allows one student to study for a year, or two students to study for a semester each, at University College Cork in Ireland.
“Through studying history and active community involvement, I will make my community a better place while I am in Cork, when I return to Orono, and for the rest of my life,” Bailey says.
While overseas, Bailey, who aspires to earn a doctorate in history, plans to study Ireland within the context of the early modern period and as a place of imperialist and counter-imperialist hostility.
“Understanding the beginnings of imperialism in our era, I truly believe, is the first logical steps toward understanding how and why people come to dominate other people. It’s also the first step toward fighting the process,” Bailey says.
Bailey describes himself as a lifelong activist dedicated to improving his community and plans to give back when he returns by organizing residence hall events about study abroad and volunteerism; speaking about the trip to grade school children in the Black Bear Mentors program; and bringing home a more broadened awareness of the world.
Bailey, a first-generation college student originally from Lynn, Massachusetts who grew up and attended high school in Sen. Mitchell’s hometown of Waterville, says he is looking forward to the challenge of living abroad in a new culture and is confident he will adapt well to a new environment.
As a resident assistant on campus, Bailey has experience not only taking care of himself, but taking responsibility for others, he says. Growing up as a child of a struggling single parent, Bailey often was in charge of running the household, as well.
Bailey is a member of Divest UMaine and he is interested in looking into divestment at UCC with Tadhg Moore, a George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship recipient from UCC that Bailey befriended while Moore studied at UMaine.
As president of the Maine Peace Action Committee, Bailey has reached out to students to advocate becoming involved in the university and community. He has helped lead the group in organizing their film series and newsletter, participated in campus sustainability efforts and played an important leadership role in organizing a weekend trip to New York City for The People’s Climate March this past fall. He is vice president of the History Club and is involved with the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and Phi Alpha Theta Historical Society.
Bailey is a firm believer of supporting labor organizations and was awarded a competitive internship in the Maine State Department of Labor in summer 2014 where he conducted research on the history of Maine’s labor laws.
More about the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship is online.
The Sun Journal reported that Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington is the 2015 valedictorian at the University of Maine. Beacham, a biochemistry major and Honors student, also was named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. Most recently, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. The Daily Bulldog also carried a report about Beacham.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report about Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin kicking off his re-election campaign. Poliquin, who has been in office a little more than three months, will report raising $700,000 for his campaign to the Federal Elections Commission this week, according to his chief political strategist. Brewer said Poliquin’s fundraising is impressive, but he’s not surprised given Poliquin’s background and connections in the world of finance, the report states. “I think it gives our first indication that this is going to be an incredibly expensive race for the 2nd congressional seat here in Maine,” Brewer said. “It will break whatever records we have.”
The Weekly reported on Greater Bangor area winners of the statewide National History Day (NHD) competition held at the University of Maine in March. NHD is an academic program that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in this year’s state contest. Exhibits, papers, websites, documentaries and performances were judged, with the top winners becoming eligible to compete in the national contest at the University of Maryland, College Park in June. Students from Bangor High School, Hermon High School, Holbrook Middle School in Holden, James F. Doughty School in Bangor and Orono High School were among this year’s winners, the article states.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor Marjorie Peronto wrote an article for the Sun Journal titled “Pruning forsythias in Maine.” In addition to offering tips on how to prune the “hallmark of spring,” Peronto also wrote about general care and varieties of the plant.
A University of Maine Cooperative Extension publication was cited in the Bangor Daily News article, “Here are some delicious ways to eat flowers and weeds.” The article republished three recipes from “Facts on Edible Wild Greens in Maine” by Mahmoud El-Begearmi. The recipes were dandelion cheese squares; shrimp and fiddlehead medley; and warm lentil and lamb’s-quarters salad with feta cheese.
The St. John Valley Times reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has planned a volunteer training session in Fort Kent for its Eat Well Volunteer Program. After completing 30 hours of training, volunteers can conduct 30 hours of Eat Well lessons about nutrition, food preparation and food safety using fresh garden produce at local food pantries and community meal sites, according to the article. The course fee is $60, and scholarships are available.
The University of Maine will participate in and host this year’s New England Regional Concrete Canoe Competition April 24–25 in Orono and Skowhegan.
More than 200 students from 11 New England universities, including UMaine, will subject their concrete canoe creations to judging on a variety of characteristics at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center on Friday, April 24 and at Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan on Saturday, April 25.
The regional competition provides undergraduate students a chance to design and build using skills they learned through their civil engineering curriculum. The contest is a precursor for teams aiming to compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ National Concrete Canoe Competition to be held in June at Clemson University in South Carolina.
The first national concrete canoe competition took place in 1988. In Maine, the regional contest began in the early 1970s when a UMaine civil engineering professor challenged his students to create a concrete canoe that could compete in the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, according to Lindsey Kandiko, event and conference coordinator for the UMaine chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The students succeeded and the idea traveled to other universities in the region, Kandiko says.
This year, about 20 students are actively involved in building UMaine’s canoe. Four students are in charge of planning the regional competition which brings together engineering students from several universities and offers an opportunity to make connections and network.
Students spend the academic year designing and building a concrete canoe that is judged in four categories: design report, oral presentation, aesthetics and practicality, or how well the boat can float and race. Oral presentations and table displays will be completed at UMaine, while the aesthetics and practicality will be tested in Skowhegan.
The public is welcome to watch the races from 10 to 4:30 p.m. at the park in Skowhegan. Lunch will be available to purchase. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Kandiko at email@example.com.
UMaine has hosted the regional competition two other times in the last 20 years and has advanced to nationals twice in the last 10 years.
Concrete canoe is sponsored by the ASCE student chapters at each school. UMaine’s ASCE student chapter formed in 1921 and currently has 55 participating members, including seven officers. Civil engineering professor Eric Landis is the faculty adviser for the student chapter; and Xenia Rofes, laboratory manager in the Civil and Environmental Department, is the concrete canoe team’s adviser.
More about UMaine ASCE is online.
Two University of Maine seniors have been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The UMaine honors students, Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, a biochemistry major, and Julia Sell of Cushing, Maine, a physics major, were among 2,000 students nationwide selected from among 16,500 applicants in the 2015 competition.
This fall, Beacham will enter the Ph.D. track at Cornell University in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology. Sell will pursue a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics at the University of Maryland.
Beacham is UMaine’s 2015 valedictorian and the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a national award given to rising undergraduate juniors and seniors in the STEM fields, and the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship to study abroad in spring 2014 at University College Cork in Ireland. At UMaine, Beacham has been involved in the national Phage Genomics Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by taking the UMaine honors course in phage genomics, and she interned at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, an affiliate of Cornell University, and the MDI Biological Laboratory.
Beacham’s research focuses on mycobacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium. She is studying a particular phage named Ukulele that was isolated at UMaine in the Phage Genomics course Beacham took in her first year. Her project focuses on identifying which genes encode the proteins that are involved in regulating Ukulele’s life cycles. Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement include fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, and research fellowships from the Maine IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).
Sell is an undergraduate researcher at UMaine’s Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, where she has studied the structural and electrical stability of Pt-ZrB2 nanolaminate thin films at temperatures above 1800 degrees F. The films have potential use as electrical contacts in a new generation of microelectronics that enhance the reliability and safety of high-temperature machinery, such as jet engines and industrial power plants.
Sell participated in NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at UMaine. Her numerous awards for research and academic achievement include fellowships from UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bath Iron Works scholarships, and the 2015 Edith Patch Award.
NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering, according to the NSF announcement of the awards.
Since 1952, NSF has provided fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program is part of NSF’s overall strategy to develop the globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745