University of Maine News
The Maine Autism Institute for Research and Education at the University of Maine was mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “Parents, teachers work to educate rising number of Maine kids diagnosed with autism.” The institute, which opened in January 2014, was created by UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development and the Maine Department of Education. It will offer professional development sessions to give teachers and education technicians specific training in how to work with children who have autism. “Maine definitely has too few professionals and education technicians to work with children with [autism spectrum disorder],” said Deborah Rooks-Ellis, director of institute. She added all students on the autism spectrum need teachers who are trained to work with their seemingly atypical behaviors.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the passing of Sandra Hardy, an associate professor of theatre at the University of Maine. Hardy unexpectedly passed away June 19 in Connecticut. She was 76. In her 26-year career at UMaine, Hardy taught acting and literature of the theatre, as well as drama in education. “I am lucky to have had the privilege of standing alongside a person who was so skilled at her craft,” said Danny Williams, executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts whose first show with Hardy was “Pump Boys and Dinettes” in 1997. “She forced you to look inside yourself and find your true self,” he told the BDN. Hardy’s obituary is online.
Maine Magazine named George Kinghorn, director and curator of the University of Maine Museum of Art, one of the “50 Mainers Shaping our State” in the publication’s July feature article. People in the article were described by the magazine as “those who are moving Maine forward through their innovative business practices, commitment to purpose-driven education, lifelong support of the arts, and groundbreaking medical research. Kinghorn spoke about updates to the museum, his desire to make it “more dynamic, warm and accessible,” and its contribution to the growth of arts in the region. “Bangor is experiencing a renaissance,” Kinghorn said.
The Bangor Daily News article, “UMaine researchers helping coastal communities weather the storms,” focused on a study being conducted by a team of UMaine researchers who are seeking to figure out the effects of climate change on coastal communities. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. According to the article, the team worked with people from Lincolnville and Ellsworth over 18 months to develop plans to deal with overtapped culverts. The communities were selected as models to generate information that hopefully will have broader applications around the coast. “Culverts are the backbone of infrastructure. They’re super important to communities. When they fail, it can be very expensive and disastrous for homeowners or for businesses, or for people traveling on that road. People have lost their lives,” said team member Esperanza Stancioff, an associate extension professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant.
The Portland Press Herald reported on the “Albers & Heirs” exhibit presented by the University of Maine Department of Art. The exhibit showcases the work of artist, educator and color theorist Josef Albers and two of his students, globally recognized artists Neil Welliver and Jane Davis Doggett. The show runs through July 18 in the Lord Hall Gallery on campus.
Research by Marie Hayes, a University of Maine psychology professor, was cited in an NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Notes article, titled “Gene variations reduce opioid risks.” The article sites findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2013 about a study conducted by Hayes and recent UMaine doctoral student Jonathan Paul, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Brown at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and colleagues at Tufts Medical Center. The study found that in substance-exposed newborns, identification of the gene variations associated with risk of opioid addiction could aid the treatment of their withdrawal symptoms in the critical hours after birth.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about the importance of warm soil for vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash and cucumbers. He said laying out a roll of black plastic can heat the ground and minimize weeds. Jemison also demonstrated how to plant beans.
The University of Maine’s Director of Athletics Karlton Creech and Ryan Taylor, UMaine’s head athletic trainer, were quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about who should pay the medical costs when a college athlete gets injured. According to the article, UMaine is the only school in the state that offers athletic scholarships and it has a staff of six certified athletic trainers and a student assistant to offer free preventive care, treatment for existing injuries or referrals to off-campus physicians to student-athletes.
About 70 high school students and teachers from Portland, Bangor, Auburn and local Native American communities will gather at the University of Maine for a five-day UMaine Stormwater Management Research Team (SMART) Institute.
UMaine scientists and students, city water planners, and representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and businesses including Woodard & Curran and IDEXX will also take part in the institute that runs from Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27.
The SMART Institute aims to engage a diverse group of students and teachers in training for the implementation of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) core values in their schools while addressing an important environmental issue.
The institute is supported by a more than $735,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to empower female and minority high school students, their teachers and communities to create innovative solutions to the environmental problems related to stormwater management.
Throughout the conference, students will talk part in hands-on projects led by STEM professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality. Participants will tour UMaine labs and stormwater areas on campus, hear from guest speakers, and learn how to use wireless sensors to test water, as well as collect, enter and analyze data.
The institute will cap off with a field trip to the Arctic Brook watershed area in Bangor where students will install the wireless sensors they built and collect data as citizen scientists. An awards ceremony will be held on campus before students depart.
The University of Maine BioMediaLab will be spotlighted in a promotional video filmed by one of the lab’s software providers.
The BioMediaLab, an advanced technology-centric science new media lab in Murray Hall, recently started using Wowza, a versatile media streaming server that efficiently allows students access to online course video, prompting Wowza Media Systems to film a promotional video that spotlights the lab’s work.
“Brian Ellis, Wowza’s customer success manager, contacted me about our purchase. He mentioned he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2003 from UMaine and was interested in what the lab was doing with their software,” says BioMediaLab Director Ron Kozlowski. “(The marketing film) is a mutual thing; we’re both promoting each other.”
A cutting-edge technology environment, the BioMediaLab’s main focus is Synapse, a content learning management system. UMaine science faculty in fields use the system to create a collaborative learning environment. Media such as videos, audio, slide shows, PDFs and other course material can be added to its courses. Wowza and Synapse allow easier streaming of video to numerous devices, no matter the file format.
Staffed by three full-time professionals, the lab services thousands of first- and second-year UMaine students across 24 courses.
“The purpose of the lab is to enhance research through technology,” says Kozlowski, a Synapse engineer and the BioMediaLab director for 10 years.
Alvin McNeilly of Owls Head, one of the outstanding leaders in the University of Maine Class of 1944, passed away June 19, 2014. He was 93. Visiting hours will be 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, June 23, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home in Rockland. More information about the service is online.
Mainebiz reported the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor was awarded an $18.4 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to strengthen biomedical research and hands-on workforce training in Maine. The five-year award ensures the continuation of the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), a collaborative network of 13 Maine research institutions, universities and colleges led by the MDI Biological Laboratory. The University of Maine and UMaine’s Honors College are part of the network. The MDI Biological Laboratory news release is online.
The Daily Mail cited statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine for an article about a 1-in-2-million royal blue lobster that was caught off the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales. According to the Lobster Institute, lobsters have been found in more rare colors than just blue. One out of 10 million lobsters are found to have a bright red color and one in 30 million are are yellow or calico — speckled with yellow and orange.
Steve Bull, a pioneer for gay rights who co-founded the University of Maine’s Wilde Stein Club in 1974, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald column by Bill Nemitz, titled “Gay-rights pioneers earned pride long before parade.” Bull said he never will forget organizing the first gay symposium at UMaine in 1974.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 2014 New England Blind Athletic Association Summer Sports Education camp that is hosted by the University of Maine and the Orono/Old Town YMCA. The camp features sports such as track and field, wrestling, fencing, rock climbing and swimming. Volunteers from various blind assistance programs supervise to ensure the athletes, who range in age from 10 to 18, can safely participate in the activities.
History compiled by the University of Maine was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about the auction of Great Northern Paper Co.’s No. 11 paper machine from its defunct Millinocket mill. The article states the No. 11 is the last papermaking machine on the Katahdin Avenue site, which at one time employed more than 4,000 workers as part of a company that opened in 1900. The machine began producing specialty papers for magazines, newspaper supplements, paperbacks and catalogs in the 1950s, according to UMaine records.
Associate Professor of Theatre Sandra Hardy unexpectedly passed away June 19 in Connecticut. She was 76. Professor Hardy joined the University of Maine community in 1987. In her 26-year career at UMaine, Hardy taught acting and literature of the theatre, as well as drama in education. She directed many theatrical main stage productions at UMaine, including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hedda Gabler,” “Avenue Q,” “The Boys Next Door,” and her final musical, “Grease,” this past February. She took three shows to the regional finals of the American College Theatre Festival, directed children’s puppet shows and toured shows to middle schools. Her career as a theater director spanned almost 50 years. Hardy was an Ibsen scholar and was particularly proud of an NAACP award for outstanding contribution to the integration of all races in the public schools of Bridgeport, Conn. Her daughter, Jade, is a student at UMaine.
The Bangor Daily News reported the Down East Research and Education Network has commissioned a study to determine the economic impact of conservation effort in Washington and Hancock counties. Two University of Maine economics researchers and several UMaine students will work with Phillips Consulting in Clinton to conduct the study. The study will analyze the economic value of conservation, research and education of the regional land trust and conservation organizations as employers and of the region’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for their natural resources, said Barbara Arter, director of the network.
A University of Maine economics study was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about Lucas St. Clair, the son of environmentalist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, speaking at a Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce meeting. While St. Clair spoke about his efforts to create a North Woods national park and multi-use recreation area, he cited a UMaine study that found if he turned the 150,000-acre area over to the logging industry it would produce 53 jobs. St. Clair said he wants to do more for the region and said a national park has the potential to create up to 400 to 600 jobs.
The Associated Press, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2), WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) were among news organizations to report on University of Maine System Chancellor James Page’s announcement that he has selected Susan Hunter as the next president of the University of Maine. Hunter most recently served as vice chancellor for academic affairs for all seven universities in the system, and was UMaine’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost from 2008 to 2013. She will be UMaine’s first female president and will serve a two-year appointment beginning July 7. “There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. Howard Segal, a UMaine history professor who sits on the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, told the Press Herald he thinks Hunter is a “good choice.” Boston Herald, SFGate, NECN, Seacoast Online and The Republic carried the AP report.