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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 18 hours 41 min ago
Bruce Sidell, a former University of Maine professor and founding director of the university’s School of Marine Sciences who passed away in 2011, was mentioned in a Valdosta State University article about an international research team studying in Antarctica. Theresa Grove, a comparative physiologist and biochemist, and associate professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia’s VSU, was invited to participate in a three-month research study at Palmer Station, according to the article. Grove will join Kristin O’Brien from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Lisa Crockett from Ohio University, the article states. “One interesting note about the research team is that Kristin, Lisa and I earned our Ph.D.’s from the University of Maine under the guidance of Dr. Bruce D. Sidell, a leader in the field of fish physiology and cold adaptation. As academic siblings, we are looking forward to again working together in Antarctica,” Grove said.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Michael Socolow, an associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine, for a report about the recent announcement that MaineToday Media’s current owner S. Donald Sussman plans to sell the company to Camden media executive Reade Brower. The union representing more than half of MaineToday Media’s nearly 400 employees said its members are anxious about the company’s latest ownership change, according to the report. Socolow spoke about former publisher Richard Connor who ran the Press Herald and associated newspapers for 27 months. “I think what’s being forgotten with the new purchase is that the Connor years were very, very difficult for the Portland Press Herald,” Socolow said citing the selling of the paper’s headquarters in downtown Portland, letting go of several reporters and fights with the union. “He sucked a lot of money out of that company,” Socolow added.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine Day, the University of Maine’s annual campuswide spring cleanup tradition. Throughout the day, UMaine community members completed service projects aimed at sprucing up campus, enjoyed a free barbecue, and competed for the oozeball — mud volleyball — championship. “We use the university grounds for everything, and we live here so it’s only fitting that we take at least one day to give back to the school that provides us living, food, etc.,” said junior Justin Duncan. Despite a few spring showers, students enjoyed the day’s events, according to the report. “It’s definitely all about the community, giving back to campus, spending time with good people, eating some good food, and being together and celebrating UMaine and oozeball. Go Black Bears,” said junior Jefferson Adams.
The Bangor Daily News reported a recent discovery of vernal pools near Lincoln Regional Airport threatens the town’s ability to develop an industrial zone outside of a local paper mill’s campus, according to officials. The town is paying students from the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources about $1,050 to determine the environmental significance of the vernal pools, the article states. As part of the study, the students will deploy sensors via airplane, and their report is due May 6.
Times Higher Education of London recently published the column, “Worker bees are doing more for less of the honey,” by Deborah Rogers, an English professor at the University of Maine.
The University of Maine’s Communicators Summit 2.0, “Beyond the Brand: Integrated Communication” will be held 9–11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 20 in Wells Conference Center.
Provost Jeffrey E. Hecker will give a welcome and overview. The event will feature a discussion of UMaine’s current communication and branding efforts, as well as emerging initiatives from 9–10:30 a.m., followed by topical breakout sessions.
Sign up online for sessions and to submit questions or comments for discussion.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 581.3743.
Jon Ippolito, a professor in the New Media Department at the University of Maine, has received a $30,000 award for his digital arts writing.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation announced the recipients of its inaugural Arts Writing Fellowship Awards in the digital arts on April 21. The merit-based awards recognize the achievements of both an established and an emerging arts writer who have contributed significantly to the field of writing in the digital arts, according to the foundation.
The awards were created to reward and promote sustained commitment to arts writing that advances the scholarship, history, criticism and theory of the digital arts and evolving technologies within contemporary art, the foundation states.
Ippolito received the award for being an established arts writer in the U.S. Joanne McNeil, a freelance writer from New York City, received $15,000 as an emerging arts writer.
“I’m tremendously honored to be among the first tapped for this distinction,” Ippolito says. “Yet in many ways this award goes beyond individual recognition to celebrate the maturity and relevance of the field of new media art. Curators and historians, take note: Digital art is here to stay.”
Ippolito has written several books and conducted projects on digital curation and social media. His most recent book, “Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory” focuses on the threat that technological obsolescence presents for digital culture.
His current projects, including the Variable Media Network, a database that documents artists’ intents about future re-creations of their work; and ThoughtMesh, an online framework for connected publication; as well as past books, such as “At the Edge of Art,” aim to expand the art world beyond its traditions.
Ippolito has been a new media professor at UMaine since 2002. He helped establish an undergraduate curriculum in 2003 and spearheaded the development of the graduate Digital Curation program in 2011, which he continues to direct.
He also is co-director of the Still Water lab located on the fourth floor of UMaine’s Chadbourne Hall. He created the lab in 2003 with fellow new media professor Joline Blais as a flexible multipurpose space for ongoing new media projects that are open to community observation or participation.
Ippolito has a bachelor’s degree in physics and astrophysics from Harvard and a master’s degree in painting and printmaking from Yale. He has served as associate curator of media arts at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation was established in 1986 to fulfill the couple’s passion for philanthropy, and in 2014, they created the art foundation to distinguish their visual art initiatives.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation recognizes the arts can influence attitudes, increase tolerance for differences and encourage new solutions. The foundation lends and exhibits artworks and supports innovative individuals and pivotal initiatives in the arts, according to the foundation.
The Thoma Foundation is based in Chicago and Santa Fe but contains local, national and international programs.
More information about the Thoma Foundation and the Arts Writing Fellowship Awards is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
The Portland Press Herald reported University of Maine Ph.D. student Nadir Yildirim and UMaine alumnus Alexander Chasse won the 2015 UMaine Business Challenge for their company that aims to develop forest-based, environmentally friendly materials for the construction, insulation and food-packaging industries. Yildirim, a student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, and Chasse, a 2013 civil engineering graduate and current UMaine researcher, received $5,000 to further develop their business, Revolution Research, Inc. RRI’s first product is a foam insulation board that is made from natural resources and 100 percent recyclable, unlike similar petroleum-based products, according to the article. “Our mission is to protect and improve global human health,” Yildirim said. “Winning the UMaine Business Challenge means we are on to something. It means that the judges have faith in our company and that we can make a difference.”
David Fuller, an agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, wrote an article for the Bangor Daily News titled “How to identify, pick and cook fiddleheads — and when to leave them alone.” Fuller also will speak at the fourth annual Maine Fiddlehead Festival on May 2 at the University of Maine at Farmington, according to the article. Fuller will teach participants about the science, identification and sustainable harvest of ostrich fern fiddleheads, the article states.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the Maine Business School’s International Trade Fair held on campus. The fair offers an opportunity for students to learn about commerce around the world and explore business opportunities abroad, according to the report. “It’s interactive,” said UMaine sophomore Tim King. “This whole project we had to go and figure out Argentina ourselves. It was something that would help us in the workforce; obtaining information on your own and putting it to good work.” Fourteen teams of 10 students showcased 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. Area professionals judged the exhibitions.
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News titled “A no-brainer solution to help Maine’s older adults and their family caregivers.” Kaye is a member of the Maine chapter 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.
James Fastook, a computer science professor at the University of Maine, and several students in his video game design course spoke with WVII (Channel 7) for a report about the class. “I’m continually overwhelmed by the amount of work they put into this,” Fastook said. “This has been the most fun class I’ve ever taught because students bring such enthusiasm to game development.” Senior Mason Emery spoke about a game he designed and hopes to sell after he graduates.
A candlelight vigil for victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 30 on the steps of Fogler Library.
More than 4,800 people were killed and more than 9,200 were injured in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred April 25. More than eight million people, including one million children, were affected and are in need of help.
The University of Maine’s Division of Student Life urges people to make donations to help victims as they face a shortage of food, water, shelter and health care. Donations will support medical relief efforts via Grande International Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal.
University of Maine Ph.D. student Nadir Yildirim won first place at the 2015 UMaine Business Challenge for his company that aims to develop eco-friendly, recyclable and reusable products for several industries.
Yildirim, a student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, received $5,000 to further develop his business, Revolution Research, Inc.
After completing the graduate certificate in Innovation Engineering through the Foster Center for Student Innovation in 2014, Yildirim started the Orono-based RRI to develop and commercialize eco-friendly replacements of petroleum-based thermal insulation products.
Yildirim, who has been working to develop nanomaterials and nanocomposites using nanotechnology since 2011, started RRI with Alexander Chasse, a 2013 civil engineering graduate from UMaine. Chasse works at the university conducting nanomaterial research.
RRI’s current focus is the creation and commercialization of eco-friendly thermal and acoustical insulation foam boards for use in the construction industry. Its first invention is a patentable board manufactured with little environmental effects, according to Yildirim.
“RRI’s novel foam boards will not only be better for the environment than current petroleum-based products, but will also provide improved energy efficiency,” he says.
Yildirim of Mugla, Turkey, says it never snows in his hometown and heating, cooling and energy efficiency is not a concern. When he moved to Maine in 2011 — the coldest place he has ever been — he realized the importance of thermal insulation.
“With a better thermal insulation you can save the environment; you can save lots of money,” Yildirim says, citing a lack of available eco-friendly thermal insulation alternatives. “We are planning to have the first 100 percent recyclable and reusable foam board on the market.”
Currently RRI doesn’t have any employees, but within the next five years, Yildirim hopes the company will have its own Maine-based production facility with about 30 employees.
The $5,000 cash prize from the UMaine Business Challenge will be used for prototype flammability tests, Yildirim says.
“Making our foams fire resistant will be a stronger selling point for our product once it hits the market,” he says, adding most similar products are flammable. “We would like to create foam that is ready to go with no need for additional coatings, films or barriers.”
Yildirim says he, Chasse and RRI have benefited from the entire UMaine Business Challenge experience. Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of the Foster Center for Student Innovation, was RRI’s mentor throughout the challenge and provided valuable suggestions, he says.
“It is not just winning something or bringing money to the company; the important part for us was the feedback that we got from the jury,” Yildirim says. “Seeing their support made us believe more in what we are doing. Increasing our professional network and having insight from their experience was a huge opportunity for us.”
Since the company began, RRI also has received a $5,000 award from the Maine Technology Institute and has applied for a larger National Science Foundation (NSF) grant which will be announced in May or June 2015.
The UMaine Business Challenge is the state’s largest student entrepreneurship competition. It was founded in 2011 by a group of 2010 UMaine graduates who wanted to give back to their alma mater while creating more opportunities for student entrepreneurs. This is the first year in which students from any Maine college or university were invited to apply.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Oceanographer Emmanuel Boss became a member of the International Ocean-Colour Coordinating Group Committee at its 20th annual meeting March 3–5 in France.
Boss is a professor in the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences. Other members hail from South Korea, South Africa, Ghana, Italy, India, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, People’s Republic of China, Canada, Brazil, Scotland and the United States.
IOCCG Committee members include representatives from space agencies and scientists. Objectives include developing consensus and synthesis in satellite ocean colour radiometry at the world scale. Specialized groups investigate aspects of ocean-colour technology and its applications.
A 2005 book on term limits written by three one-time University of Maine professors was cited in the Bangor Daily News editorial “Term limits have changed Maine Legislature — for the worse.” The book, “Changing Members: The Maine Legislature in the Era of Term Limits,” was written by Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus of political science; Richard Powell, a current political science professor; and Matthew Moen, former professor and chair of the Political Science Department. The researchers found while term limits have increased turnover in the Legislature, there are many negative consequences, according to the editorial. “They found many detrimental effects, ranging from committee chairs who don’t know how to run meetings to a more than tripling of the number of bills that have only one supporting vote in committee, resulting in a floor debate and other time-consuming administrative procedures for bills that will ultimately die,” the article states.
The Associated Press reported Maine officials are looking for volunteers to help with the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas project to document bee range and abundance. A Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman said the project is important because of significant declines in some species since the 1990s, according to the article. The project is being coordinated by the state and the University of Maine in Orono and Farmington. The first training workshop is slated for May 16 in Orono, the article states. Portland Press Herald, WABI (Channel 5), Foster’s Daily Democrat and New York’s Times Union carried the AP report.
Danielle Walsh, who will soon graduate from the University of Maine with a master’s degree in social work, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Police need special tools to help people in mental health crisis.” Walsh of Morrill, Maine is a social worker practicing on the midcoast.
The Bangor Daily News published an article on the 2013 William S. Cohen Lecture at the University of Maine. The excerpt came from a lecture featuring former Secretary of State Bill Cohen and former Sen. Alan Simpson. The full version appeared in “Politics Then and Now, in Maine and the Nation: Conversations with the Sages,” edited by Richard Barringer and Ken Palmer at the Muskie School of Public Service, according to the BDN. The condensed version also appeared in Maine Policy Review, which publishes timely, independent, peer-reviewed analysis of public policy issues relevant to the state of Maine. The journal is published two times a year by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at UMaine.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the winners of the sixth annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase. The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research, was open to any undergraduate at the university and featured 121 presentations from 229 students in the form of posters, oral presentations or performances, and exhibits. Also announced at the April showcase were the five winners of a $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship.