Students in the Spotlight

A story regarding students in the spotlight

Four UMaine Mechanical Engineering Students Receive Prestigious Fellowships

Posted October 21, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Doctor of Philosophy and one Master of Science students in Mechanical Engineering from four different home countries have received prestigious funding awards. Matthew Hall received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Fellowship from the Canadian Government, Razieh Zangeneh has been named a Correll Fellow, Javier Moreno is an Iberdrola Foundation Scholar, and Domingos de Sousa Freitas is a Fulbright Scholar. All four students are part of Correll Professor Krish Thiagarajan’s research group.

Sonja Birthisel, Master of Science in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Receives Grant from Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station

Posted October 15, 2013

Sonja Birthisel studies how both weeds and weed seed predators affect farming in Maine. A Master student in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Birthisel works under UMaine’s School of Food and Agriculture to study how local environments influence weed seed predators and the activity and density of particular species. Using a 10 acre organic farm in Dixmont, Maine Birthisel established a 20 meter grid and conducted pitfall trapping to characterize the invertebrate community, and seed feeding assays, with and without invertebrate exclosures. Her results show that habitat features such as vegetative cover and presence of key plant species are more important regulators of seed predation than spatial orientation. Her work led to the development of a method to measure second-order predation of invertebrate seed predators, and to conducting work investigating the effect foodweb dynamics may play in regulating seed predation. This work led to a grant from Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Sonja’s results have also been accepted into the publication Biological Control and she has presented her research at the national meetings of the Ecological Society of America and the Weed Science Society of America.

Ph. D. Student in Ecology and Environmental Science Participates in Major Study on Impact of Hurricane Sandy

Posted on September 25, 2013

Maureen Correll, Ph.D student and IGERT fellow, was involved in a ten-state wide study under the National Science Foundation’s Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research program to assess Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of bird communities in coastal marshes. IGERT is the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship of the National Science Foundation; UMaine’s latest IGERT program is the first of its kind to focus specifically on adaptation to abrupt climate change. Correll’s role in the NSF study, which extended from Maine to Virginia, was coordinating data collection from New York to Maine from 2011 to 2013. For her dissertation, Correll will be taking a look at the change in bird communities both within and outside of Sandy's impact zone. She will work with a large historical survey database covering the same ten-state study area as the current study, but will include some data dating back to the early 1990s as well. Correll said of her work, “I am interested to see how the short-term community change caused by Sandy compares to longer-term change we detect in these bird communities. Do extreme storm events such as Sandy incite community change similar to slower, gradual change occurring over longer timescales? The larger goals of both my dissertation research and my collaborative research program are to inform conservation goals and support management decision-making at local, state and national levels.

Wildlife Ecology Doctoral Student, Kristine Hoffman, is the Focus of Television Broadcast

Posted September 9, 2013

Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) and Wildlife Ecology doctoral student Kristine Hoffman was featured recently in a news broadcast on Bangor TV stations Fox 22 and ABC 7. The UMaine student is studying researching the breeding ecology, habitat selection and life histories of the blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale), including the distance they emigrate from vernal pools. The broadcast featured highlights from Kristine’s research focusing on the conservation and habitat of the salamander. In recent years, vernal pools have become a topic of discussion and concern due to a worldwide decline of amphibians, some of which breed in the vernal pool in which they were born. Hoffmann says data from her research may inform proposed legislation about zones of consultation in Maine. As Hoffman’s research continues, she will investigate research a new type of blue-spotted salamander to see what effects genotype (different genetic compositions), female body size and environmental factors have on egg mass structure and fertility. Additionally, she will examine which environmental factors — pond depth, canopy density, distance to roads and presence of other breeders in the pool — impact breeding site selection. And she’ll explore whether juvenile habitat choice differs between the genotypes. Kristine is a member of SSI’s Protecting Natural Resources at the Community Scale project. For more information, check out the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s feature on Hoffman here.

UMaine Graduate Students Tutor Local High School Students with Great Results

Posted July 8, 2013

UMaine graduate students are tutoring local area high school students with great results. Nathan Dee and Mary Butler, both students at Bangor High, have won awards for their work: Dee won the Maine 2013 Stockholm Junior Water Prize and will compete in the national competition in Portland, Oregon, while Butler won the state science fair to go on to the national INTEL competition in Phoenix, Arizona. Dee was tutored by doctoral student in chemistry James Killarney and Butler was tutored by doctoral student in chemical engineering Finley Richmond. The connection between UMaine and the Bangor High science department came about largely due to the influence of science teacher Cary James, UMaine alumnus from the Master of Science in Botany and Plant Pathology program. His work building relationships at the University has led to many graduate students working with high school students on projects. The goals, according to James, are primarily to get high school students excited about research and to allow them to have access to the labs and equipment at UMaine. “So many of the professors and students have been instrumental in this process, have been willing to help out, and really make a difference for my students.”

UMaine Communication Sciences and Disorders Students Participate in Telepractice Training Program

Posted June 25, 2013

University of Maine Communication Sciences and Disorders students are participating in one of the first nationwide speech therapy telepractice training programs. The technology and training allow students and practitioners to provide speech therapy services to underserved children and adults in rural areas. The program was developed by Associate Professor Judy Walker in conjunction with the Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast and requires that participants have access to a computer, webcam, and the internet. Only a few programs in the country offer speech therapy telepractice training at the college level. Taylor Rodgers, Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders student, was one of the students in the first class and as a result was able to provide speech therapy from Orono to a woman in southern Maine. She said of the program, "UMaine is one of the first programs to offer this kind of training at the graduate level and also allows students to implement that training and work directly with clients. Telepractice challenges clinicians to make their own materials that are tailored to the client. In my experience, this increases each client's motivation because therapy is tailored to their life and what is meaningful to them. Through telepractice, we can reach clients who may not have access to these services in their community due to their rural location. The ability of the technology to allow for more frequent therapy sessions helps clients progress significantly faster." For more information on the program, please see the Bangor Daily News article here.  

Master of Business Administration Students Score in the Top 2% on ETS Major Field Test

Posted June 19, 2013

Master of Business Administration students at UMaine scored very well in the ETS Major Field Test for the MBA degree. The students scored in the top 2% of more than 260 schools that used the exam. The exam consists of 124 multiple-choice questions requiring knowledge of marketing, management, finance, and managerial accounting. Other universities that took the exam include Clemson, University of Michigan, University of Texas, and the University of Vermont. Of the eleven UMaine MBA students who took the exam, eight scored in the top 24% or higher.  

Master of Arts in Global Policy student, David Slagger, Runs for Governor of Maine

Posted June 13, 2013

David Slagger, student in the Master of Arts in Global Policy program, is running for governor of Maine in 2014. He is the first announced candidate for the Green Independent Party’s nomination and recently spoke at the party’s annual convention in Belfast. Slagger has a strong history in Maine politics and was the first representative of the Maliseet Indian tribe to the Legislature when he took office in January 2011. He has also run for House District 22 seat as an independent in an effort to take a more active role. He says of his run for governor, “I am running because I want our state to be the first in the energy fields (tidal and off shore wind) and information technology. I want companies to want to come to Maine because of our dedicated work force and strong history of independent, hard workers. I want Maine graduates to be able to work in Maine as a state that pays a wage comparable or in excess of other states.” 

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