Students in the Spotlight
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.
Hall is a Ph.D. student originally from Ontario, Canada and is researching floating wind turbines. After receiving his master of science degree in Canada last spring he, “wanted to continue working in that area and UMaine – having just deployed the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine on the continent – seemed like the best place for me to do that.”
Zangeneh is a Ph.D. student from Iran. Her primary interest is in the hydrodynamics of floating structures. She will be working on the hydrodynamics and dynamics of deep water offshore structures.
Javier Moreno, M.S. student, is originally from Madrid, Spain. Wanting to increase his knowledge in the design and construction of Floating Offshore Wind Energy Turbines (FOWT), he chose UMaine due to its involvement in offshore wind energy and the construction of the prototype scale FOWT VolturnUS.
Domingos de Sousa Freitas is a Ph.D. student from East Timor. His research interests focus around tidal energy and hydro power and he has participated in some offshore floating system design.
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.
IPh.D. in Communication Candidate Bridie McGreavy Selected to Participate in Doctoral Honors Seminar of the National Communication Association
Posted September 12, 2013
University of Maine graduate student Bridie McGreavy was one of 29 doctoral students nationwide who were selected to participate in this year’s Doctoral Honors Seminar of the National Communication Association, July 18–21 in Bar Harbor. For more than three decades, the seminar has brought together the top Ph.D. students and faculty to discuss current topics in communication. The National Communication Association is the largest professional communication organization in the United States. UMaine has had an interdisciplinary doctoral program in communication since 2007. McGreavy is pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in communication. She is a research fellow with Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), where her work as a member of the KnowledgeAction team focuses on resilience from multiple perspectives. She also studies collaboration in interdisciplinary partnerships. McGreavy said of the experience, “Participating in the National Communication Association’s Doctoral Honors Seminar was one of the most significant experiences in my doctoral program. This was a unique opportunity to advance a chapter of my dissertation and to meet early-career scholars in my field. The seminar provided me with an enhanced focus and sense of clarity about my work, as faculty mentors and fellow students in my session gave supportive and helpful insights for how to strengthen my writing.” McGreavy’s doctoral work seeks to understand on how communication, as a field of study, offers insights into the processes of sustainability and resilience. McGreavy described her research as focusing on, “the concept of resilience, which I approach through three different research projects: interdisciplinary and community partnerships; conservation action planning; and, as a discourse, a system of rules that produce particular ideas about what resilience is and what it is not.” McGreavy has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST), a collaborative effort led by UMaine and the University of New Hampshire in collaboration with many other academic, governmental and nongovernmental institutions.