September 2011 Student of the Month - Amanda Shearin


Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Environmental Science student, Amanda Shearin is the Graduate School's first featured Student of the Month for September, 2011.  Shearin whose dissertation focuses on the effects of fish stocking on Maine amphibian communities, was also recently awarded the University of Maine Presidential Teaching Fellowship Award for the Fall 2011 semester.  Shearin is pictured at left enjoying her research environment.

Graduate School: Where are you from originally? 
Shearin: Laurel, MD
Graduate School: What undergraduate institution(s) did you previously attend?
Shearin: The University of Maryland, College Park
Graduate School: Why did you choose to attend UMaine?
Shearin: The beautiful location and facilities and access to unique and interesting research sites as well as world-renowned faculty and advisors.
Graduate School: What degree program are you pursuing?
Shearin:  I am in the last semester of the Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences via the Department of Wildlife Ecology.
Graduate School: What are your plans after graduation?
Shearin: I will be looking for a teaching and research position/post-doc at an undergraduate-focused liberal arts college or conduct research with state/federal agencies or NGO’s.
Graduate School: What do you consider your most important accomplishment here so far?
Shearin: Mentoring several undergraduates during their research and work merit projects.  I assisted these students as they moved from undergraduates with little research experience to the graduate students, research assistants, and teachers they are today.    
Graduate School: What is the highlight of your academic experience so far?
Shearin: The opportunity to document amphibian communities in some of the most remote lakes in Maine as well as collaborations with caring and knowledgeable faculty and students.  Also the opportunities for public outreach (e.g., leading vernal pool workshops and lectures around the state) has been great.
Graduate School: What is your favorite place on campus?
Shearin: The University Forest trail system.  
Graduate School: What awards or other significant recognition (both on or off-campus) have you received since beginning your degree program?
  • 2011 Presidential Teaching Fellowship, UMaine
  • 2011 Outstanding Ph.D. Student in Department of Wildlife Ecology, UMaine
  • 2009 Doctoral Research Fellowship, UMaine; two years
  • Ecology and Environmental Sciences Supplemental Stipend Award, UMaine 
  • 2008 Ecology and Environmental Sciences Supplemental Stipend Award, UMaine
  • 2006 Graduate Research Assistantship, UMaine; four years
Popular press coverage:
  • “Fishless Lakes/2nd District Congressional Candidates”.  MaineWatch.  The Maine Public Broadcasting Network.  September 17, 2010.
  • Carpenter, Murray.  “On a Hunt for Fishless Lakes, Teeming With Life.”  New York Times.  27 April 2009, Section D2.

Graduate School: What other important information about yourself would you like to share?
Shearin:  I have a wonderful 2.5 year-old son named Will.  He loves to help me catch frogs and salamanders and is a very cheerful field assistant.