University of Maine News
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, was interviewed by Time for the article, “11 lobster facts that will leave you shell-shocked.” According to Bayer, lobsters taste with their legs, chew with their stomachs, eat each other and were once a popular prison food. Bayer also spoke about biodegradable lobster shell golf balls developed by UMaine researchers.
Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a Morning Edition segment titled “Your vote: The debate over debates in the Maine governor’s race.” Fried talked with host Irwin Gratz about how political dynamics are playing out in Maine as Election Day gets closer.
WABI (Channel 5), WVII (Channel 7) and the Bangor Daily News covered Maine Hello, where University of Maine staff and student volunteers help first-year students move into their dorm rooms. The Class of 2018 contains more than 2,000 first-year students.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The Maine Center for Disease Control recently released a report stating a mosquito pool in York tested positive for EEE, a virus that’s transmitted to humans and animals through mosquitoes, WLBZ reported. Although a human case of EEE has never been reported in Maine, a New Hampshire resident is currently being treated for the virus at Maine Medical Center. “It’s a knocking on our doorstep — a human case — and with positive pools of mosquitoes that just means that EEE is in the mosquitoes in that area,” Dill said. He recommended taking steps such as avoiding outdoor activities during dawn and dusk to protect yourself against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
Ryan Low, executive director of governmental and external affairs for the University of Maine System, has been appointed interim vice president for administration and finance at the University of Maine, effective Sept. 2, 2014.
Low will serve a one-year term, ending Aug. 31, 2015. This spring, a search will be conducted to fill the position on a permanent basis.
Low replaces UMaine Vice President for Administration and Finance Judy Ryan, who announced this week that she will retire Sept. 12.
“In my capacity as provost of UMaine, vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMS, and now as president of UMaine, I have worked closely with Ryan for a number of years,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “Ryan is well-grounded in large enterprise and public finances, and has a solid understanding of the budget challenges at UMaine and the University of Maine System. He also has played an important role in Augusta, effectively working across the aisle to advocate for public higher education issues in Maine.”
University of Maine System James Page noted: “Ryan Low is among our most effective and dedicated public servants, with an unsurpassed understanding of public finance and its application to higher education. He will make a valuable addition to President Hunter’s team and I will continue to rely on his counsel as we continue the work of better positioning the University of Maine System to meet our responsibilities to our students and the people of Maine.”
Vice President Judy Ryan noted that her decision to leave UMaine has not been easy. “After more than 30 years in higher education, I feel it is the right time to make this planned retirement a reality and turn over the reins,” she said. “I believe Ryan has the right financial background and a record of collaboration with the University of Maine System to lead at this time. I look forward to working with him during the transition.”
Low said he looks forward to working on behalf of the University of Maine and UMS to provide the fiscal leadership needed in the coming year. “As the flagship university, UMaine has an important role in the system and the state, and I look forward to working with campus and other constituents as we address the budget challenges ahead.”
While serving as UMaine’s interim vice president for administration and finance, Low will continue to be involved in UMS legislative affairs. Low joined the University of Maine System office in 2012 to direct governmental and external affairs. Prior to joining the system office, he worked for two years at his alma mater, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), as vice president of administration and chief financial officer. Low served as commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services during the Baldacci administration. He also was Gov. John Baldacci’s deputy chief of staff, state budget officer and associate commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. From 1997–2002, Low worked in the legislature, serving as chief of staff for the House majority leader and chief of staff for the speaker of the House.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Bangor Daily News reported engineers at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center are evaluating a 180-foot wind turbine blade for strength testing. Habib Dagher, director of the center, said the blade is the largest structure ever to be tested at the facility, which is one of two sites in the nation capable of handling the blade. He told the BDN there is a growing interest across the nation in using fewer but larger turbines because they are more cost-effective in energy production.
The Weekly Packet reported Paul Mayewski, a University of Maine professor and director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, recently spoke about climate change at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. During his presentation, “Journey Into Climate — Adventure, the Golden Age of Climate Research and the Unmasking of Human Innocence,” Mayewski said with the “onset of the most dramatic [climate] consequences” occurring since the Industrial Revolution, climate change “is a sad story but important to know.”
A Portland Press Herald business reporter spoke with Jake Ward, vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maine, for a commentary titled “Fact checking LePage on R&D, MTI and innovation.” Ward was interviewed in response to a recent comment made by Gov. Paul LePage stating the University of Maine System has 37 patents that are not being commercialized. Ward said the system has 77 patents assigned to it and more than a third are jointly owned with a private business or have a commercial license agreement or license options. Others are associated with ongoing research projects funded by both public and private dollars, he said.
The Bangor Daily News published the latest article in a yearlong series by Sandra Butler, a professor of social work at the University of Maine, and Luisa Deprez, a professor and department chair of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. “‘Social Security is not the way to live’: Maine couple talks growing older, living with disability,” is the pair’s latest column to share stories of Mainers struggling in today’s economy.
Certified therapy dogs will return to Fogler Library this semester to offer stress relief and comfort for any student, staff or faculty member interested in visiting the animals, says Fogler’s Public Relations Manager Gretchen Gfeller.
Therapy dogs are scheduled to be in the Reserve Reading Room on the library’s first floor from 2–4 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 9 and 16 and from noon–2 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 10 and 17. No appointment is necessary.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Gfeller at 207.581.1696
The Forecaster reported the University of Maine’s Maine Sea Grant program is partnering with Hillary Krapf, a holistic healer in Portland, to host the first Maine Seaweed Festival to celebrate the many practical functions of Maine seaweed. The free festival will be held Aug. 30 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. The Bangor Daily News carried The Forecaster’s report.
Jason Bolton, a food safety specialist with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, spoke to the Associated Press for an article about Rockland-based Linda Bean’s lobster processing plant stating it has addressed violations cited by the Food and Drug Administration in February. The FDA says it has not yet cleared the firm of violations, according to the article. Bolton told the AP that Bean contacted him for help addressing some of the FDA’s concerns. “In every conversation I had with their plant manager and their chief financial officer, they were very willing to work with me,” Bolton said. Portland Press Herald, Boston Herald and The Boston Globe carried the AP report.
The London-based Times Higher Education published an opinion piece by University of Maine history professor Howard Segal titled “The systematisation of higher education in the US.”
The 35th Black Bear Triathlon will be held Oct. 5 at the University of Maine.
The race, sponsored by UMaine Campus Recreation and sanctioned by USA Triathlon, will be held from 6:30 a.m. to noon. It will feature a 525-yard swim in UMaine’s Wallace Pool, and a 12.5-mile bike race and 3.1-mile run along the UMaine trails and local roadways.
The Black Bear Triathlon is open to athletes ages 16 and older. In addition to individual competition, the event features a relay component for teams of two or three athletes. Eighty people between the ages of 18 and 67 participated in the event last year.
Registration fee is $50; $40 for UMaine students; $75 for teams. Additional registration and event information is online.
More than 2,000 first-year University of Maine students are expected to volunteer for community projects as part of the fifth annual UMaine Welcome Weekend Day of Service on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 30.
The Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and First Year Residential Experience offer the Welcome Weekend Day of Service on the first weekend students are at UMaine to give them an opportunity to participate in volunteer activities at community organizations in the Old Town, Orono and Bangor areas.
“Community service is an important part of the culture at the University of Maine,” says Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Bodwell Center. “These projects give the students time to bond with others from their residence hall, allows us to show them how community service will enhance their UMaine experience, and provides valuable assistance to community organizations.”
Led by 150 UMaine students, faculty and staff, first-year students will participate in at least 60 different local, regional and international service projects both on and off campus.
Projects include painting at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter; washing Down East Emergency Medical Institute (DEEMI) vehicles in Orono; grounds work at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton, Leonard’s Mills/Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Orono Bog Boardwalk and Maine Veterans’ Home in Bangor; Penobscot River cleanup; and packing meal, hygiene and school kits on campus.
Last year, approximately 1,800 first-year students volunteered for nearly 60 projects and logged 3,992 hours of service.
For more information, contact Morin at 581.1796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
University of Maine President Sue Hunter is the focus of a Diverse: Issues In Higher Education article titled, “University of Maine’s pioneering president essentially home grown.” The report about UMaine’s first woman president details Hunter’s background both in the state and at the university, where she began her career as an adjunct professor in 1987. “Because I have spent my entire career here, I know people throughout the state. I feel very comfortable on the other campuses, visiting and meeting with people,” President Hunter said.
The Maine Edge published a report about sexual harassment research conducted by Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maine and chairwoman of the Sociology Department. In a recent study, Blackstone examined how perceptions of sexual harassment at work are linked to an individual’s age, experience and historical backdrop. She found age is important because how perceptions shift over time links to several age-related processes such as maturity and historical context. Blackstone’s findings were documented in an article published in the Mid-South Sociological Association’s journal “Sociological Spectrum.”
The Maine Edge reported CHISPA-Centro Hispano’s seventh annual Hispanic Lecture Series for Latino Heritage Month will be held at the University of Maine in September and October. Lectures start at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and are free and open to the public. The series kicks off Sept. 18, when Luis Millones-Figueroa, an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Colby College, will speak about “The Story of the Bezoar Stone: A Wonder Medicine from the Andes.” Other speakers are clinical psychiatrist Minerva Villafane-Garcia on Sept. 25; Carlos Villacorta Gonzáles, an assistant professor of Spanish at UMaine, on Oct. 2; and Claudia Paz Aburto Guzmán, Spanish Department chair at Bates College, on Oct. 9.
University of Maine President Susan Hunter and Judy Ryan, UMaine vice president for administration and finance, announced today that Ryan will retire Sept. 12.
Ryan joined the University of Maine in 2012 as associate vice president for human resources and administration. In April 2014, she replaced Janet Waldron, senior vice president for administration and finance, who resigned to be vice chancellor for finance at the University of North Texas System.
Ryan was asked to step in as vice president to review the organization in preparation for a search for a new vice president for administration and finance, and to meet the University of Maine System budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year. Now, with that oversight largely complete, Ryan will pursue her retirement plans.
“We will miss the breadth and depth of Judy’s experience in administration, finance and human resources,” says Hunter. “She has been an outstanding leader with vision and caring in support of the University of Maine and members of the UMaine community. She made UMaine a better place to live and work, and leaves the university in a solid financial position. We wish her the best.”
Ryan noted that the decision to leave UMaine has not been easy. “I have loved my time at UMaine and treasure this community,” she says. “After more than 30 years in higher education, I feel it is the right time to make this planned retirement a reality and turn over the reins.”
An interim vice president is expected to be announced by President Hunter in the coming weeks.
Evelyn Fairman of Bangor graduated from the University of Maine in May with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and minors in renewable energy engineering and mathematics. This fall, she has begun graduate work in energy science, technology and policy, with a disciplinary concentration in chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Upon graduation in May 2015, she plans to work with alternative liquid fuels in an industrial setting.
For two years while at UMaine, Fairman was involved in nanocellulose research. Her work, which applied cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) in order to dry and rehydrate nanocellulose for easier transport, was recognized with a 2013 UMaine Center for Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This spring, her work was featured in the Maine Journal, and Fairman was recognized by UMaine with the Edith M. Patch Award. Most recently, the poster from her Honors thesis, “Avoiding Aggregation During the Drying and Rehydration Phases of Nanocellulose Production,” was a finalist in the Society of Women Engineers Collegiate Technical Poster Competition.
Earlier this year, Fairman presented her research findings at the 2014 National Collegiate Research Conference at Harvard University. This summer, she also spoke at the 2014 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials in Vancouver, B.C.
In her research, Fairman was mentored by engineering faculty members David Neivandt, James Beaupre and Karen Horton; Honors College Dean Francois Amar; and forest operations professor Douglas Gardner.
Why did you decide to major in chemical engineering?
I chose to major in chemical engineering because I wanted to change the way energy is manufactured and distributed. I felt obligated as an educated citizen to reverse the effects of climate change by reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. As a junior in high school, I hoped to one day design an alternative liquid fuel for the transportation sector. I was especially interested in the potential of fuel cells. I knew I wanted to major in engineering, but it was the University of Maine’s Consider Engineering summer program that convinced me to choose chemical.
How did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I contacted David Neivandt after I graduated high school. I had met him at the Consider Engineering program the previous summer, so I felt comfortable reaching out to him via email. He knew I was an incoming first-year chemical engineering major, and he was more than happy to assign me a student research assistantship under the guidance of one of his Ph.D, students, James Beaupre. The three of us continued to work on various research projects throughout my undergraduate career at the University of Maine.
What difference did the research make in your overall academic experience?
My classroom experience was richer because I was able to reinforce academic topics with hands-on experimental testing. I always loved math and science in high school, but I chose engineering because it was an applied field. It’s not often that an undergraduate has the opportunity to collect and analyze data for an independent research project, while getting paid. I was extremely lucky to have Dave and James as mentors. The research experience gave me the confidence to speak up in class, to ask questions if I didn’t understand the material, to present my results in weekly meetings, and to never hesitate to use upperclassmen and graduate students as resources. Indeed, my research experience convinced me by the end of the summer before my freshman year at UMaine that chemical engineering was the right field for me.
How do you describe your research to lay people?
That is a very good question. It is very important for scientists to be able to translate their research to layman’s terms, not just to fuel curiosity in those who work outside the field, but also for funding purposes. Here is what I usually say: The state of Maine has a strong pulp and paper industry. I am sure you know that we use trees to make paper. Well, trees — and all plant matter — are composed of cellulose. Cellulose is a useful material, but if you break it down into smaller pieces until it reaches nano-scale dimensions, we call that nanocellulose. Nanocellulose has very unique properties that allow it to be applied in a wide variety of fields. There is, however, a problem with the way nanocellulose is being produced industrially. Currently, nanocellulose is produced in an aqueous slurry. The water in this slurry eventually needs to be removed. However, when we remove the water, the nanocellulose clumps together and loses its nanoscale dimensions. Thus, its desirable properties are lost and it is no longer nanocellulose. My research project has a patented solution to this problem: We use the chemical additive CTAB to effectively dry and rehydrate nanocellulose.
Which faculty mentor did you work with most and what did you learn most from him or her?
I worked most closely with James Beaupre. James encouraged me to think outside the box and to consider all possibilities before drawing a conclusion. His guidance taught me to pay close attention to detail both during experiments and during data analysis. Outside the laboratory, his positive attitude reminded me not to forget the big picture.
Why did you choose UMaine?
I chose UMaine for the strong engineering program. Employers all over the U.S. recognize UMaine graduates as hardworking, genuine people. Having worked as an R&D intern for a chemical distribution company based in Delaware, I can say with confidence that UMaine engineers have a very good reputation outside of the state.
What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you took at UMaine?
I really enjoyed being in the Honors College. I know that’s not a specific class, but it allowed me to think about problems from alternative perspectives and to interact with students with different majors than my own. Also, my research project ultimately served as my undergraduate thesis for the Honors College. I cannot reflect on my academic experience at UMaine without thinking of the Honors College.
What was your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus was the studio in 1944 Hall because I was actually really involved in the dance department at UMaine.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Learn to manage your time and to study effectively. Never hesitate to reach out to upperclassmen in your major or faculty in your department. Once you’ve mastered the classroom environment, get involved in extracurricular activities, student clubs and/or Greek life. Join a professional organization (SWE, AIChE, etc.). Make a five-year plan. You’ll be surprised at graduation when you’ve achieved your original collegiate goals. Always push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Take a summer internship or study abroad if your program allows. Attend a hockey game and learn the Stein Song.
Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
I was a member of Sophomore Eagles, one of the four traditions groups on campus. The Sophomore Eagles is composed of 12 second-year female undergraduate students who exemplify five personality traits: scholarship, leadership, friendship, dignity and character. I cannot speak more highly of the other 11 young women who were Eagles along with me.
Ten years from now, what do you hope to be doing?
I would love to use my engineering background to eventually move into a policymaking role, perhaps at the EPA or at the state level. If that doesn’t happen, then I can see myself working as an investment banker in the energy sector.