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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 9 hours 22 min ago
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
University of Maine researchers Heather Hamlin and LeeAnne Thayer were featured in the Hatchery International article, “Saving salmon embryos.” Hamlin, and assistant professor of aquaculture, and Thayer, a Ph.D. candidate in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, have been exploring the causes of reduced survival rates of Atlantic salmon embryos, according to the article. “When I came to Maine it was the first problem I wanted to tackle due to its relevance and importance to Maine’s economy,” Hamlin said.
WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 2015 Student Summit hosted by the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, or RiSE Center, at the University of Maine. More than 200 students in grades 6–9 throughout the state took part in the collaborative engineering design challenge that encouraged them to successfully transport a “life-form” through explorations on an earthquake-ridden planet in another solar system.
Richard Kent, an associate professor of literacy education at the University of Maine, was the focus of the Bangor Daily News article, “UMaine professor helps athletes become students of the game through writing.” Kent has spent 10 years analyzing how writing about experiences can enhance athletes’ understanding of the sport and improve their performance and self-confidence, according to the article. “What it does is it makes the athlete stop, think, reflect, and really helps him move toward being a student of the game,” he said, adding using team notebooks, journals or training logs help athletes become more self-aware and mentally sharp.
WVII (Channel 7) reported the Partners for World Health University of Maine Chapter is holding a Blue Wrap Project Runway competition fashion show to raise funds for and spread awareness about medical outreach around the world. Fashion show participants will be tasked with creating an outfit using a 15-pound bag of nonbiodegradable medical material, or blue wrap. Partners for World Health provides medical materials to third-world countries, including supplies like blue wrap that would otherwise go to waste, according to the report. The fashion show will be held at 6 p.m. April 24 at Hauck Auditorium.
University of Maine student Catherine Fletcher was quoted in Associated Press and Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel articles about a climate change rally and march held at the State House in Augusta. Hundreds of college students participated in the event that was organized by Maine Students for Climate Justice, a coalition of student groups from around the state. The students urged state leaders to take action on climate control and called for a moratorium on fossil fuel development. Fletcher, who has worked to get the University of Maine System to drop investments in coal stocks, said students must get involved, according to the KJ/Morning Sentinel. “Our generation is inheriting the burden of the climate crisis. If our leaders won’t take action, we will,” she said. WABI (Channel 5), WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and SFGate carried the AP report.
WLBZ (Channel 2), WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the 15th annual Great Maine Bike Swap that was held at the University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center on April 12. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosted the swap to give people the opportunity to buy affordable and used bikes, as well as sell their own.
Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald profile on Gov. Paul LePage and his leadership style. Palmer spoke about similarities between LePage and Gov. James Longley, an independent who held office between 1975 and 1979. He said the political climate Longley operated resembles the one LePage faces today. “There’s a very important strain in Maine,” Palmer said. “It’s unusual in most states, but we have it. It’s not just a policy orientation. It’s the idea that government really belongs to the citizens, not to the professional politicians.”
The Met: Live in HD’s broadcast of “Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci” will be shown at the University of Maine Collins Center for the Arts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25.
“Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci” is opera’s most enduring tragic double bill and in Sir David McVicar’s evocative new production the action takes place across two time periods in the same Sicilian village.
Marcelo Álvarez plays the dual tenor roles of Turiddu in “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Canio in “Pagliacci.” The unlucky heroines are Eva-Maria Westbroek playing Santuzza and Patricia Racette as Nedda. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium and Rae Smith designed the moodily atmospheric 1900 village square setting of “Cavalleria,” which transforms to a 1948 truck stop for the doomed vaudeville troupe of “Pagliacci.”
This is one of 10 of the Met’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning live performance transmissions to movie theaters and art centers around the world. The Met: Live in HD was developed to reach existing audiences and to introduce new audiences to opera through technology.
Tickets, which are $28 for adults and $8 for students, are available online or by calling 581.1755, 800.622.TIXX.
Esther Rauch will lecture about the opera at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the Brewer Public Library and at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Orono Public Library.
The University of Maine’s Office of Student Employment is honoring student workers across campus during the 2015 Student Employment Recognition Week April 13–17.
Student employees are welcome to enjoy free food, play games and win prizes throughout the week in the Memorial Union.
The 2015 Student Employment Recognition Banquet will be held 6–8 p.m. April 13 at Wells Conference Center. All Student Employee of the Year, Graduate Student Employee of the Year, and Supervisor of the Year nominees and those who nominated them are invited to attend the banquet.
More information, including a full schedule and list of award nominees, is online.
Fuel cells are alternative energy-generation devices that provide continuous electricity with low to zero emissions at the source. NASA first used modern fuel cells in space vehicles. Today, fuels cells provide power in a variety of applications, including automobiles, backup generators, fork lifts and portable electronic devices.
One type of fuel cell, the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, converts hydrogen into electricity and water. PEM fuel cells are generally very rugged, but there is a fragile membrane within the electrode assembly that is a common failure point. University of Maine mechanical engineering researchers have developed a stronger, longer-lasting membrane that demonstrates potential to increase the reliability and overall life span of the fuel cell. A possible opportunity for Maine business is to manufacture and supply membrane electrode assembly units to PEM fuel cell providers.
More information is online.