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Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

2014 GradExpo Winners

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:26

More than 100 presentations were made made during the 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition (GradExpo) in separate categories of four areas of competition — poster presentations, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event — as well as a graduate student photo contest.

About $15,000 worth of prize money was awarded at this year’s expo, including the $2,000 President’s Research Impact Award given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.

Following are the winning presentations:

  • President’s Research Impact Award — Spencer Meyer and advisers Rob Lilieholm and Chris Cronan

  • Innovation Award — Spencer Meyer

  • Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award — Rebecca White, first; John Bell, second; and Matthew McEntee, third

  • Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award — Brittany Cline, first; Agnes Taylor, second; and Kara Lorion, third

  • Graduate Student Video Award — Hari Prasath Palani

  • UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award — Lauren Thornbrough

  • Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Life Category — Eva Manandhar, first; Brett Lerner, second; and Corey Cole, third

  • Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Research Category — Amy Pierce, first; Timothy Godaire, second; and Robin Arnold, third

  • PechaKucha — Theodore Wilhite, first; Amy Pierce, second; and John Bell, third

  • Intermedia — Julie Riley, first; Amy Pierce, second; and Jessica LeClair, third

  • Arts and Humanities Oral Competition — Rebecca White, first; Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed, second; and Ian Jesse, third

  • Arts and Humanities Poster Competition — Hari Prasath Palani, first; John Bell, second; and Bethany Engstrom, third

  • Natural Sciences Oral Competition — Brianna Hughes, first; Anna Breard, second; and Maureen Correll, third

  • Natural Sciences Poster Competition — Luke Groff, first; Donna Kalteyer, second; and Julia McGuire, third

  • Physical Sciences and Technology Oral Competition — Mojtaba Razfar, first; Panduka Piyaratne, second; and Silas Owusu-Nkwantabisah, third

  • Physical Sciences and Technology Poster Competition — David Pearson, first; Supamon Singkankachen, second; and Merida Batiste, third

  • Social Sciences Oral Competition — Hollie Smith, first; Kourtney Collum, second; and Addie Pelletier

  • Social Sciences Poster Competition — Theodora Ruhs, first; Tyler Quiring, second; and Steven Hutchinson, third

Categories: Combined News, News

Symphonic, Concert Bands to Perform at CCA

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:23

The University of Maine Symphonic and Concert bands will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at the Collins Center for the Arts.

The 45-member Symphonic Band, directed by Christopher White, recently wrapped up a four-day, nine-performance spring coastal tour. Nine times on the tour, music performance major Blake Peachey of Augusta, Maine, performed “Concerto for Bb Cornet or Trumpet” by Franz J. Haydn. Peachey, winner of the 2014 UMaine Student Concerto Competition, will again play the trumpet solo at this concert. The program will also include two Percy Grainger folk songs as well as “Fantasia in G Major” by J.S. Bach and “Parkour” by Samuel R. Hazo.

The 54-member Concert Band, directed by Dana Ross, will play five selections, including “An Irish Rhapsody” by Clare Grundman, “Amazing Grace for Concert Band” by Frank Ticheli and “Prairie Songs” by Pierre LaPlante.

Tickets are $12 or free with a student MaineCard. For tickets, call 207.581.4721. For disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755.

Categories: Combined News, News

WABI Advances Great Maine Bike Swap

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:53

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the upcoming 14th annual Great Maine Bike Swap that will be held at the University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center on Sunday, April 13. The swap is hosted by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) and gives people the opportunity to buy affordable and used bikes, as well as sell their own. Hundreds of bikes — from children’s bikes to mountain bikes — will be on sale.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine to Host IFTSA Regional Meeting, April 11-12

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:52

About 75 students from the University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, Penn State, Rutgers and Cornell are expected to gather at the UMaine campus April 11–12 for the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association’s (IFTSA) North Atlantic Area Meeting.

The event brings together students from food science departments in the North Atlantic area, and provides them with updates and information from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and its student association.

The meeting also serves as a food science trivia contest among the five universities. The winning institution of the North Atlantic Area College Bowl Competition will advance to the finals at the IFT Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. in June.

Mary Ellen Camire, president-elect of IFT and professor of food science and human nutrition at UMaine, will speak at the regional meeting’s welcome dinner on April 11.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine student Kaitlyn Feeney on FirstClass.

Categories: Combined News, News

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:48

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 10-session Master Food Preserver training program starting June 19 and ending Sept. 25. Lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab education will be conducted 10 Thursdays, 5:30–8:30 p.m., at Gorham Middle School, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

A Master Food Preserver is a UMaine Extension volunteer who has successfully completed the practical, research-based program on food safety and preservation. Volunteers agree to give back 20 hours of time for community-based projects within a year. Projects could include hands-on food preservation workshops, staffing educational displays and demonstrations and providing information at farmers markets, county fairs and other food-related events.

May 2 is the deadline to apply. Fees are on a sliding scale, from $125 to $330, based on household income. To request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). For more information, contact Kathleen Savoie, Extension Educator, 207.781.6099, ksavoie@maine.edu.

Applications are available online.

Categories: Combined News, News

Industry Collaboration

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 08:08

The University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board announced the creation of two new potato varieties — the Easton and the Sebec — that were developed over the past several growing seasons. The varieties are targeted at the french fry and potato chip industries.

“The University of Maine has the research and development capability and commitment for developing new potato varieties, from the lab to the field, which takes years. They understand what the growers and the industry are looking for and need. We, in turn, as a board, have the capacity to promote the varieties and maintain the quality of seed certification required for the integrity of the variety and the market. We are already fielding questions from growers around the country, as well as in Maine. Both of these new potato varieties are very promising. This type of result is what makes this partnership truly advantageous for the future of our industry.”
— Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board

Categories: Combined News, News

Reaching Across the State to Support Maine’s Agriculture Sector

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 08:07

With facilities in Orono, experiment stations throughout the state and University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff in every county, the University of Maine is uniquely positioned to support and expand Maine’s agricultural opportunities. Perhaps one of the strongest examples is the development and expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry sector. Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro is the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation. Research and development at the farm, together with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits, have been a driving factor in the recent expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. The majority of this effort is performed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Similar activity supports the Maine potato sector, as well as other crops produced in the state.

“Thanks to comprehensive crop production research and development based at the University of Maine, Maine’s Wild Blueberry growers are leaders in the development and adaptation of knowledge-based cropping systems. Maine is the largest producer of Wild Blueberries in the world. Our five-year average is now over 85 million pounds.”
— Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine

Categories: Combined News, News

Devising Devices

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 13:30

Three University of Maine student research teams in bioengineering are collaborating with The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor and IDEXX Laboratories Inc., in Westbrook on senior capstone projects.

Working under the supervision of Professor David Neivandt, director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, and coordinator of the undergraduate bioengineering program, the bioengineering seniors are involved in semester-long capstone projects in which they develop device concepts and methods to improve biological systems that benefit society.

“In the early stages of our classes, we have a lot of canned problems,” says Jeff Servetas, Hancock, Maine, of his bioengineering coursework. Now as seniors, the students are developing solutions to open-ended questions that have not been addressed before.

Two teams are working with IDEXX — one team will work to develop a device veterinarians could use to test for ear mites in dogs, while the other team’s focus is to design a method to provide precise, accurate and rapid quantification of spot density in the IDEXX SNAP® test for screening for diseases.

“I really feel like I’m making a difference,” says Servetas of the project. “If the work I do relieves pet owner of the burden, we’re making a difference.”

Tony DiMarco, vice president for research and development at IDEXX, says working with UMaine students in co-ops and on capstone projects is enjoyable. “The students are fantastic — they jump headlong into projects and thrive on working through complex design problems, using a systematic approach that reveals their intense training. It allows us to get a head start on new projects, or explore some new areas that we might not otherwise work on,” he says.

A third bioengineering team was asked by Jackson Laboratory to develop a device to keep mice warm during embryo transplant surgery, thereby improving the success rates.

The next project in the course will send the students to Dirigo Pines in Orono, where they will be working with the residents and staff to identify problems that can be addressed with engineering solutions.

Majoring in bioengineering at UMaine means majoring in problem-solving, says Coady Richardson of Madison, Maine. “I’ve always liked puzzles and solving problems. (Bioengineering) is the most challenging program on campus,” says Richardson, adding that working with Jackson Lab mentors has taught him how to effectively communicate about research.

Having a well-rounded “toolbox” of problem-solving and communication skills with which to address bioengineering challenges is a true boon, according to the students.

“We learn to be professionals,” says Haylea Ledoux of Bedford, N.H. While communicating in different “engineering languages” is important, being able to learn in different styles has made the most difference, she says.

“It’s a big test for us to prove to ourselves that we have the knowledge and are capable of doing this,” says Ledoux.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Categories: Combined News, News

WLBZ, WVII Cover Big Gig Finale at Foster Center

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:27

WLBZ (Channel 2) and WVII (Channel 7) attend the Big Gig 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 $1,000 grand prize sponsored by University Credit Union. Jessica Jewell of Northern Maine Distilling Co. was named the winner. The other finalists were John and Christine Carney of Thick & Thin Designs, and Bruce and Kathy Chamberlain of Stone Fox Farm Creamery. UMaine student Christine Carney told WLBZ the experience and getting to connect with people in the community has been invaluable. 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.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Cooperative Extension Publication Cited in Examiner.com Parenting Article

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:26

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension publication “Children and Respect” was cited in an examiner.com parenting report titled “Respect: You get what you give.” The article states the publication helps breakdown what respect is and how better to teach it. Marilyn Ellis, a UMaine Extension 4-H youth specialist, prepared the publication.

Categories: Combined News, News

Waldron Named Vice Chancellor of Finance in UNT System, Media Report

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:22

The Bangor Daily News, Denton Record Chronicle and Lewisville Leader reported University of Maine Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron will resign to join the University of North Texas (UNT) System as vice chancellor of finance, effective April 28. In a prepared statement, Waldron said the decision “has come with deeply mixed emotions as I care for and respect President Ferguson, his vision and our successful partnership at UMaine.” UMaine professors Robert Rice, a professor of wood science, and Howard Segal, a history professor, spoke to the BDN about Waldron. “She has risen to be, at least in my experience here, the most competent of CFOs we’ve ever had. She has worked tirelessly to help the university through some of the most challenging times we’ve had, including the current one,” Rice said. Segal said Waldron is “extremely well respected on campus not only for her exceptional expertise in finances overall, but also for her ability to find sources of funds for various campus needs that might have been missed by less capable persons.” Waldron has led UMaine’s Office of Administration and Finance for 11 years.

Categories: Combined News, News

Grow Food in Raised Beds, Containers with UMaine Extension

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:21

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 May through October at the UMaine Extension office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. The first class is 9–11 a.m. May 1; the final class is Oct. 9. UMaine Extension Somerset County 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 and senior and food kitchen programs.

Course fee is $10 per person. Scholarships are available. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call Pete Bastien at 207.474.9622 or 800.287.1495 (in Maine).

Categories: Combined News, News

Discovery Theme of Award-Winning Author’s Rezendes Lecture

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 08:17

Award-winning author Mary Doria Russell will present the 2014 John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics Lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in Hauck Auditorium at the University of Maine.

Russell has authored five books, including the 2005 historical fiction “A Thread of Grace,” which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her talk, titled “The Age of Discovery: From Spain to Space,” is free and open to the public.

The biological anthropologist also penned the science fiction novel “The Sparrow,” which was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and was the 2013 Honors Read for UMaine’s Honors College.

“Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. ‘The Sparrow’ is one of them,” reads Entertainment Weekly’s review of the book that describes a Jesuit missionary’s voyage to the planet Rakhat and his interaction with extraterrestrial life there.

Before becoming an author, Russell taught human anatomy at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. She lives near Cleveland with her husband, Don.

The John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics Lecture was established in 1999 to critically engage students, faculty and the community in ethical issues of national importance.

The lecture is part of the John M. Rezendes Ethics Initiative, a program established through a gift from Dennis and Beau Rezendes, which also includes the John M. Rezendes Ethics Essay Contest open to undergraduate students at the University of Maine.

The Rezendes Scholars in 2013 and 2012, respectively, were Arthur Serota ’66, co-founder of the United Movement to End Child Soldiering; and Robert Kenner, creator of the award-winning documentary “Food, Inc. The Ethics of How We Eat.”

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Categories: Combined News, News

Ian Jones: Diving into Research

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 15:22

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Third-year marine sciences major Ian Jones of Canton, Conn., is studying how ocean acidification impacts lobster larvae, an important resource for the Maine economy.

Jones works with American lobsters raised at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Center (ARC). The lobster larvae were raised last summer at various pH levels, replicating natural environments and the impact of ocean acidification. Jones weighed and photographed approximately 700 lobster larvae to monitor their growth in these different environments. The hypothesis: slower growth and more irregular development occur at lower pH. This creates adaptation problems for lobsters dealing with increased environmental CO2 levels.

“We will certainly see greater ocean acidification in the future as an effect of climate change. As atmospheric levels of CO2 continue to increase from human input, so do the CO­2 levels of the upper ocean,” says Jones.

Along with lobster larvae, Jones also monitored seahorses in Tim Bowden’s lab. The seahorses, which were dealing with a mycobacterial infection, were in the care of Jones while an antibiotic treatment was created. He also raised juvenile seahorses last year. Through this experience, Jones learned about seahorse aquaculture, proper feeding protocols, tank chemistry and more.

“Not much is known about seahorse aquaculture relative to raising other fish, so although information on raising newborns was limited, it was a fun challenge figuring out our own system that worked.”

This fall, Jones will travel to the Darling Marine Center on the Damariscotta River, where he and other UMaine students will further the hands-on work they do in the classroom through the Semester By the Sea program.

Jones plans to attend graduate school to study sensory biology and/or the effect of climate change on marine animals.

Why is your lobster research important?
Research on American lobster growth at lowered pH is incredibly important first, because there has been little climate change study on this particular species and second, any slowing or other adverse effects on lobster growth could have serious impacts on the health of the lobster fishery, which Maine, of course, greatly depends on. Delayed lobster larvae development means it will take longer for lobsters to get to market size, and predation risk may increase as well, causing fewer individuals to grow into adults and lowering the overall abundance of adult lobsters. Changes in lobster abundance can in turn upset ecosystem balance by changing the abundance of organisms that depend on lobster as prey and organisms lobsters prey on. These trophic cascades have the power to reduce the presence of many species in addition to just the lobster, consequently reducing biodiversity.

Are you excited about heading to the Darling Marine Center in the fall?
I am really excited to be able to SCUBA dive in the area on the weekends; there is a dive locker on campus. I’m also excited for many of the courses offered this fall, such as the scientific diving course and the marine invertebrate biology course. I look forward to the seminar class, which teaches students how to tackle job interviews and graduate school applications for pursuing a career post graduation. Generally, I look forward to interacting with the marine environment on a near daily basis as I learn more about it and gain skills for marine research.

Why did you choose UMaine?
My primary reason for choosing UMaine was their excellent marine science program, which was more attractive than those at other colleges due to its emphasis on hands-on experience, such as through their Semester by the Sea program, expert faculty and it covers fundamentals of marine biology, chemistry and physics, not just the area you choose to concentrate in. Also driving me to UMaine were the strong nondiscriminatory policies and minority services on campus, making me confident that I can be myself at UMaine and face minimal to no prejudice, especially from faculty and administrators.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
Working with Tim Bowden has greatly improved my experience here, and the opportunities he’s granted me to assist with seahorse aquaculture and lobster larvae research have not only been very enjoyable but have helped define my research interests and add to my qualifications for future research experience. Additionally, his constructive feedback on my performance in his lab has allowed me to improve as a researcher.

What difference has UMaine made in your life, helping you reach your goals?
My professors at UMaine have made a major impact on what it means to have a career in science and beyond. They share advice on the mentality, skills and process necessary toward being successful in particular research fields. Also, the abundance of research facilities here, such as the Aquaculture Research Center, has allowed me to build a lot of hands-on experience that I can apply to future positions in marine biological research.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
I advise students to get involved with at least a couple student organizations that suit their interests. There’s a club for almost anything you could think of, from fencing to SCUBA diving to various political, academic and religious and social groups. Also I recommend science students look for work in a faculty member’s lab as soon as possible, even if it’s just volunteer work. You don’t need to know what your interests are yet, but any research and lab experience gained early can really help you in the long run. Just ask around.

What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place is the Littlefield Garden on the north end of campus. The garden is especially nice to study in, or to just hang out and have a picnic at — given warm weather of course.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Unrelated to marine science, I took the Intro to LGBT studies course offered by the Women’s, Sexuality and Gender Studies department, which vastly increased my understanding of the complexity of the LGBT community. I knew a fair amount about LGBT culture and identities going into the course but I did not realize how much I didn’t know until taking the class. For example, I didn’t know that there is opposition to same-sex marriage within members of the LGBT community and that historically there has been plenty of conflict of interest between feminist and lesbian organizations, as well as lesbian and gay people who have spearheaded “LGBT” movements that often leave the B (bisexual) and T (transgender) out of the equation. I now view the LGBT community differently than before, recognizing that people won’t always get along or share common goals just because they all belong to a minority. I also better understand the importance of full inclusiveness in LGBT organizations, due the diversity and intersectionalities with race, class, etc., of LGBT people.

Categories: Combined News, News

WABI Interviews Jones, Markowsky About Windows XP Losing Support

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:14

WABI (Channel 5) spoke with University of Maine professors Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems, and George Markowsky, a professor of computer science, for a report about what people should expect when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP. The discontinuation means Microsoft will no longer provide updates — including security updates — for the program. “There’s a very active cyber criminal world out there that is just looking for all sorts of opportunities. And you don’t want to be the one to give them an opportunity,” said Markowsky. Jones spoke about how the discontinuation forces businesses to upgrade and become more effective, efficient and compatible with emerging technologies.

Categories: Combined News, News

Doctoral Student Featured in Soy Biobased Products Article

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:13

Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was featured in a Soy Biobased Products article titled “Ford interns drive sustainability.” Soy Biobased Products is a website run by the United Soybean Board (USB) — a farmer-led, famer-funded organization that invests in research, development and promotion of soy. The article focused on Kiziltas’ work as an intern at Ford Motor Co. where he worked on expanding the use of soy in vehicles by incorporating various types of nanofillers into soy-based foams. “By using soy-based materials, Ford is able to lessen its environmental impact, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cut CO2 emissions,” Kiziltas said.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Officials, Faculty Interviewed for BDN Article on Professor Pay

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:13

The Bangor Daily News spoke with several University of Maine officials and faculty members for the the article “UMaine relying more on lower-paid professors as budget shrinks.” Jason Canniff, a part-time faculty member who teaches English and Honors College courses, spoke about his typical work week. Pat Burnes, coordinator of UMaine’s First Year Writing Program, and Ludlow Hallman, chairman of the Music Department, spoke about hiring more adjuncts to replace retiring professors. Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, said the university’s plan to pass a balanced budget for FY 2015 was an attempt to “meet our needs and commitments, while we develop a more thoughtful, longer-range plan.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Avery Talks to WLBZ About Maple Season

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:11

Francis Avery, a scientific research specialist with the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about tapping the university’s maple trees. He said the trees were tapped three weeks ago, but he hasn’t seen much sap flowing yet.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Senior Vice President to Become Vice Chancellor in the University of North Texas System

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:10

University of Maine Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron will resign to join the University of North Texas (UNT) System as vice chancellor of finance, effective April 28.

Waldron has led UMaine’s Office of Administration and Finance for 11 years.

“I look forward to this new opportunity and challenge working in a larger, more diverse system with Chancellor Lee Jackson and the University of North Texas System leadership. The senior leadership team in North Texas is highly experienced and committed to increasing educational opportunities for the citizens of Texas,” Waldron said.

“This decision has come with deeply mixed emotions as I care for and respect President Ferguson, his vision and our successful partnership at UMaine. I will deeply miss the wonderful faculty, staff, alums, my cabinet colleagues, directors, students and the campus community. One of the proudest days for me was becoming an honorary member of the UMaine Class of ’44.

“I leave with a sincere hope that the remarkable legacy and detailed strategic planning that we have done at the University of Maine will be fully supported in the future by the state and University of Maine System,” Waldron said.

In a letter to the UMaine community April 8, UMaine President Paul Ferguson noted that Waldron played a vital role in UMaine’s leadership and sustainability for more than a decade. “Through her deep experience, wisdom and insightful pragmatism, she has been instrumental in the growth and development of Maine’s flagship university,” President Ferguson said.

As vice chancellor for finance, Waldron will oversee system-wide financial planning and analysis, according to a UNT System news release. She will be responsible for the system offices of Budget, Business Services, Controller, Treasurer and Information Technology, which provide centralized, shared services to all UNT System institutions.

Waldron has spent more than three decades leading strategic business administration and operations in complex organizations. She has had key involvement in financial management and budgeting, information technology, human resource management and employee relations, and capital facilities management. She came to UMaine in 2003 after more than 15 years in Maine government offices, the last eight of which were as the state’s chief financial officer.

An interim UMaine vice president for administration and finance is expected to be named this month.

Categories: Combined News, News

New College Scholarships for Maine Adults Offered by University of Maine System

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:09

Maine adults who want to return to college may qualify for as much as $4,000 per year in scholarships for up to four years, in a new Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Fund announced by the University of Maine System.

The system’s fund aims to help Maine people complete their academic studies — many adults started their university education years ago, but did not complete a degree program for some reason, likely due to family or work obligations.

The new scholarships are for adult students returning to a system university after an absence of three years or more, and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree. Courses may be taken at any of the seven universities in Maine.

“Maine has over 200,000 adults with some college, but no degree,” explained UMS Chancellor James Page. “That is a significant stranded cost — both in terms of monies invested and opportunities lost. Our goal is to work with these folks to help them achieve their educational goals and move Maine forward.”

The funding for the program comes from a portion of gaming revenue made possible by citizen initiatives that authorized gambling in Bangor and Oxford and a one-time appropriation from the Maine Legislature last year.

Those adults returning to a university will be in good company. At the University of Maine System, adult students age 25 or older currently represent more than 36 percent of all students enrolled in degree programs and more than 60 percent of those attending part-time.

Currently there are few scholarships or other forms of financial aid available in Maine for adults, especially those who work full-time.

“One of the many challenges adults face as they return to college is financing their education,” noted Rosa Redonnett, UMS chief student affairs officer. “Since our goal is degree completion, we’ve set up a tiered scholarship program so Mainers who have previously earned a significant number of credits are incentivized to quickly complete their degrees. And we are also providing smaller scholarships for those who have completed a handful of courses toward a degree, but want to finish that work.”

In addition, a new concierge service has been established to guide students to assist adult students, in the same way that the hospitality industry has concierges to help guide guests to explore a new area. The university concierges, based in 15 Maine communities, will help adult students achieve their educational goals through activities such as applying to a university, choosing a major, finding financial assistance and registering for courses.

“Unlike traditional age students, most adults are also balancing work, family and other commitments,” said Bonnie Newsom of Eddington, a member of the UMS Board of Trustees who also serves on the Adult Baccalaureate Completion Distance Education (ABCDE) committee. “As a result, financial help and the assistance of a concierge may mean the difference between finishing that degree — or not.” Newsom added that the scholarship fund and concierge service are part of a larger, statewide adult degree completion effort under way at the system.

The ABCDE committee was created as a result of a Board of Trustees directive in 2012 to develop and implement a system-wide plan to enhance baccalaureate degree attainment and completion by Maine’s adult and noncampus based citizens. Efforts under way will incorporate consideration of the multiple pathways that students may follow such as certificates, associate degrees and prior learning assessment.

There are three opportunities for students to apply for the scholarships: May 8, Aug. 1 and Dec. 1. Applications can be found here. Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for the scholarship:

  • Must be a matriculated student at a UMS institution seeking a first baccalaureate degree.

  • Must be a resident of the state of Maine.

  • Must be an undergraduate reentry student who has experienced a gap (three years or more) in the pursuit of postsecondary education. Students who returned to higher education beginning in fall 2013 or more recently will be considered.

  • Must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed FAFSA and/or statement outlining ability to pay/financial resources available for education.

  • Must be registered at least part time: 6‐8 credits per semester (fall and spring) or 9–12 credits total for the two semesters.

Categories: Combined News, News