Students in the Spotlight

  • Beth Logan, Ph. D. Student in Clinical Psychology, Named 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Beth Logan, Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, was named the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Logan’s doctoral research focused on babies born to drug-dependent women and was designed to isolate methadone use during pregnancy and to measure its effect on early development. She says that, “the issue of methadone maintenance therapy during pregnancy is of particular significance in Maine, where in recent years the rate of addiction to prescription painkillers and other narcotics has skyrocketed to one of the highest in the nation.” Logan and other researchers are associated with the Maine Infant Follow Up Project that assesses development of both mothers and children after birth. While most babies in the control group are standing, cruising and preparing to take their first steps at nine months, nearly 40 percent of babies in the methadone group are still having trouble crawling and sitting. Logan has been invited to give an oral presentation of the findings at an upcoming meeting of the Pediatric Academic Society in Boston. For the full story on Logan’s research, please go here.  

  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Student Timothy Baker Receives First Prize at Maine Water Conference

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Timothy Baker, student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, received first prize for his poster “Combining Environmental Education and Computational Thinking” at the 2013 Maine Water Conference in Augusta. The Maine Water Conference was founded in 1994 by the Mitchell Center as an annual forum for water resource professionals, researchers, consultants, citizens, students, regulators, and planners to exchange information and present new findings on water resource issues in Maine. The conference has grown to become one of the largest environmentally-related conferences in Maine attracting over 350 attendees each year. Baker’s research is focused on watershed education in middle school curriculum. He and a team of UMaine students have developed and tested seven different activities as part of a pedagogical framework combining computational thinking, environmental learning, and integrative thinking. Integrative thinking refers to both system-based learning -such as exploring 'what if' questions of an environmental model and adjusting the model appropriately- and also multi-disciplinary possibilities, such as activities that require or allow students to use skills and knowledge from math, science, english, and other subjects. Baker said of his research, “Water and watershed issues are used to explore creative learning and problem solving through computer programing based activities. The activities provide a way for students to explore and learn about interconnected human and natural systems, specifically watershed systems.”

  • Two Physics Graduate Students Present at 2013 Meeting of the American Astronomical Society

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Merida Batiste, PhD student in Physics, and David Pearson, Master of Science student in Physics, presented at the 221st Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The meeting is the largest annual meeting for astronomers and astrophysicists in North America and attracts scientists from all over the  globe. Presentations at the Meeting can take one of three forms: posters, regular oral presentations which are five minutes, and dissertation talks which in  15 minutes aim to explain a major conclusion from thesis work. Batiste presented her research on gravitationally bound superclusters of galaxies, the largest structures in the universe held together by gravity. She said of her present ation, “While about 10 million superclusters of galaxies have been identified in the Universe, bound superclusters are incredibly rare; prior to our work only one had been identified. I presented on my results for the Corona Borealis supercluster, which provide the most conclusive observational evidence to date that this structure is bound and in collapse.”

    Pearson presented his research on superclusters of galaxies as well, in which he looks for the signature of dark energy in the large scale structure of the universe. He said of his presentation, “My talk discussed computer simulations of these structures, the results of which highlighted that if we only consider the mass contained inside individual clusters of galaxies then there is a good chance that these structures will not be gravitationally bound, though a few may be. We also compared our simulation results with the predictions of two analytical models, finding that they could be used to establish
    widely separated upper and lower bounds to the true limits. These results are the basis for a paper which I recently submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.” 

  • Rachel Kennedy, Doctor of Philosophy Student in Biomedical Sciences, Accepts Postdoctoral Position

    Posted May 1, 2013

    Rachel Kennedy, a Doctor of Philosophy student set to graduate in the Biomedical Sciences program in August 2013, has accepted a postdoctoral position at Columbia University. She will be working in the neurobiology and neuroscience labs of Drs. Rae Silver and James Curley researching the role of immune cells called mast cells in the brain. These cells are known to defend the body against parasitic attack, and are main effector cells in allergies and asthma, but their normal physiology in the brain is not known. Kennedy’s dissertation research, performed in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Gosse, focused on the effect of environmental toxicants on mast cell degranulation, and she said of her future research, “There is no real understanding of what mast cells are doing in the brain. We are interested in understanding both the normal physiology and pathology of mast cells in the brain, which may have implications for disease states such as anxiety and depression.” While at Columbia University Kennedy will also be a lecturer in psychology for the Frontiers of Science program, part of the core curriculum for undergraduate students.