Students in the Spotlight

  • 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.

  • Master of Social Work Students Receive President's Research Impact Award at Graduate Research Exposition

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Master of Social Work students Leah Agren, Meagan Foss, Jennifer Koch, Alison Mitchell and their advisor Dr. Jennifer Middleton recently received the President’s Research Impact Award at the Graduate Research Exposition. The honor is awarded to the student(s) and advisor whose project best exemplifies the University of Maine mission cornerstones of teaching, research, scholarship, and outreach to the State of Maine. Their research, titled “What happens next? Exploring child protection outcomes in a cohort of opioid-exposed infants” aims to investigate what happens after an infant born with prenatal opioid-exposure is discharged from the hospital, from a child welfare system perspective. Their research is the first-ever attempt to share data between Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) and the State’s Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS). The team said of their work, “Maine has the highest rate of opioid addiction per capita in the nation and the impact of this epidemic is being felt throughout the greater-Bangor region. Of the 195 substance-exposed births recorded at EMMC in 2011, 175 involved opioid-exposure, representing a 27% increase in opioid-exposed births in just two years. Though the population of infants born with prenatal opioid-exposure in the greater-Bangor region is growing, very little is known about what happens after the infant leaves EMMC.” This study will determine how many of these infants had subsequent child protection cases opened in their first year of life, and will explore risk and protective factors associated with child protection services involvement. Findings from this community-engaged research project will inform local practice and policy efforts aimed at supporting one of our most vulnerable populations in the State of Maine. In addition to receiving the President’s Research Impact Award, project team members have been invited to present their work at the EMMC Pediatric Services meeting in June and to the Penquis Regional Linking Partnership, a 25-agency regional partnership collaborating to support substance-affected infants and their families in the Penquis region.

  • Joel-Michael Martin, Master in Human Development Student, Presents at Association of Fraternal Leadership Values National Conference

    Posted April 15, 2013

    Joel-Michael Martin, May 2013 candidate for the Master in Human Development degree, presented his talk “24 Shades of Gray; Leadership without Easy Answers” with associate Douglas Calhoun at the February Association of Fraternal Leadership Values conference. According to their website the AFLV, “exists to stimulate the growth and development of fraternity/sorority councils, chapters, and members by promoting leadership, educational, and values based experiences and resources for student leaders, their advisors, and the larger fraternal market. Martin said of the event, “This was a large honor considering the amount of presentations submitted and the limited number of spots. I was very excited to be involved.” Martin is the Coordinator of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at UMaine. In this role he advises 24 Greek Chapters and two Councils making up over 1,000 undergraduate students.

  • Doctoral Student in Higher Education, Daniela Veliz, Leads National Network of Chilean Researchers

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Daniela Veliz, a doctoral candidate in Higher Education, is leading a new network of Chilean researchers. Working with colleague Dr. Paulina Perez Mejias, Veliz will be holding the first meeting of the Network of Chilean Education Researchers (RIECH) at the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in San Francisco, California. AERA is the most prominent international professional association with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application. RIECH was born from the initiative of scholars and graduate students -mainly in the United States- who share an interest in contributing to the advancement of knowledge about Chile’s education. The idea behind the network is to connect with other scholars doing research about Chile and to showcase their study results. Veliz says, “We think this network will serve also as a way to share resources and information among its members and to provide opportunities for collaboration.” So far the group has more than 50 members (including graduate students and professors from US and other universities) and every day more express interest in participating. More information about RIECH can be found here. El Mercurio, Chile’s leading newspaper, quoted Veliz in a March 4 story about Chileans forming networks abroad.

    Veliz, originally from Chile, is also a Research Assistant for the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center on campus, and is currently working on her dissertation regarding socialization of international women faculty working at research universities.