Archive for the ‘At a Glance’ Category

UMaine Advanced Manufacturing Center, Maine MEP Announce Partnership

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) has entered into a new agreement with the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Maine MEP) that will expand the center’s capacity, Maine MEP announced.

The partnership, which will place a Maine MEP project manager at AMC, will promote closer collaboration between the organizations with the goal of enhancing the services available to manufacturers in the state, according to a Maine MEP news release.

Forest Wentworth, a UMaine graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, has been hired as the MEP/AMC project manager. Wentworth will provide research, design and manufacturing services to private sector clients and will serve as Maine MEP’s liaison with AMC, the release states.

“This partnership expands the capacity of AMC to offer engineering and manufacturing solutions to Maine companies,” says John Belding, director of AMC.

Belding said although Wentworth will be mainly responsible for supervising projects in the AMC machine and fabrication shop, he will also contribute to outreach efforts by regularly visiting manufacturers around the state to promote the center’s services.

The Maine MEP is a program of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The full release is online.

Jacobson Promotes Humanities, Philosophy Across Generations

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Kirsten Jacobson, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Maine, is connecting her students with members of the community in efforts to promote the humanities among residents of various ages.

In 2009, Jacobson created the service-learning program Philosophy Across the Ages to supplement her teaching while serving the public. The outreach program brings UMaine undergraduates together with high school students and retirement community members through discussions of philosophy texts.

Program participants join voluntarily and share a “desire to discuss serious questions of philosophy and examine how they are relevant to everyday life,” Jacobson says.

The project gives Jacobson’s students the opportunity to lead a class discussion, connects local high school students with a university experience, and engages retirement community members to engaging discussions with younger members of their community, Jacobson says.

In the 2013–2014 academic year, 10 UMaine undergraduate students participated in the program, visiting Orono High School and Dirigo Pines, a  retirement community in Orono. So far in the 2014–2015 academic year,  seven UMaine undergraduate students and 15 Orono High School students have participated, according to Jacobson.

On Jan. 24, undergraduate and high school members of Philosophy Across the Ages will join Jacobson at the Bangor Public Library to host a  “Philosophy Tea” as part of the University of Maine Humanities Center’s third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day. The gathering will involve a discussion of a selection from Edith Cobb’s “The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood.”

Jacobson also is working to create a University of Maine–Orono High School Humanities Collaboration to find creative ways to bring together faculty and students at UMaine and the high school with community members around shared interests in the humanities, she says.

“We envision this project to have a number of stages, and are aiming to establish some form of permanent programing connecting our two campuses and the surrounding community through the humanities,” Jacobson says, adding she hopes the relationship will produce humanities-based collaborative events such as co-taught seminars, workshops and presentations.

Student Innovation Center named Nonprofit of the Year

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation has received the Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented at the chamber’s annual dinner, Jan. 21 at the Cross Insurance Center, Bangor. The Foster Center supports student entrepreneurs and innovators. In FY14, it counseled students, provided business workspace for student-run companies, and supported internships and extracurricular training in workplace skills. The center is the home of the Innovation Engineering program and is part of the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative. The Foster Center is part of the UMaine Office of Innovation and Economic Development, which provides leadership in working with organizations to leverage UMaine’s assets to build and grow Maine’s economy. In addition to commercializing technologies developed in its research facilities, Innovation and Economic Development offers access to R&D expertise, facilities and equipment to Maine companies, coaches businesses bringing products to market, trains innovators and entrepreneurs, and provides business incubation services for startups.

Pendse Awarded Funds to Encourage Involvement of Females in Forestry

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Sheila Pendse, a project development associate in the Dean’s Office of the University of Maine College of Engineering, is leading a project that aims to engage female middle school students from rural Maine communities in forest bioproducts research programs and STEM careers.

The Engineering Information Foundation recently awarded Pendse $12,540 to create a Sustainable Energy Leaders of the Future (SELF) group to address the need for a diverse workforce in the state’s forest industry.

Girls Engineer Maine (GEM), a statewide educational outreach program designed to increase the number of women studying engineering, aims to start the education initiative by promoting awareness about the responsible use of a forest ecosystem among middle school girls.

The project’s objective is to introduce about 80 girls to forest bioproducts research for potential renewable energy sources and value-added materials that will provide STEM career opportunities within Maine’s forest industry, according to the researchers.

SELF will pair each participant with a female mentor who is enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program at UMaine. When the participants start high school, they will have the opportunity to create research projects in sustainable forest management and forest bioproducts, the researchers say.

Capps Part of Mexican Stream Ecology Collaboration to Study Urban Rivers

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Krista Capps, a research assistant professor in the University of Maine Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, is leading a project that aims to provide the foundation for greater understanding of urban rivers in developing countries.

The project, “Mexican Urban Stream Ecology Collaboration (MUSE),” received a $60,690 grant from the National Science Foundation for initial data gathering in Mexico.

Much of what scientists know about the influence of urbanization on stream ecology comes from studying rivers and streams in countries such as the United States and Australia, according to the researchers. However, urban rivers in developing economies may be used by humans for sources of untreated drinking water, direct conduits for sewage and freshwater fisheries.

Understanding how biological communities and processes are affected by increasing urbanization is essential to correctly manage urban watersheds in developing regions, the researchers say.

MUSE will bring together stream ecologists and fish biologists from the United States and Mexico to begin to understand the links among urbanization, stream ecology, and freshwater fisheries in southern Mexico.

The researchers say they hope the project initiates a new collaboration that will generate knowledge and resources for scientists and natural resource managers.

UMaine Researchers Aiding Efforts to Develop American Eel Aquaculture

Friday, January 9th, 2015

University of Maine Marine Extension associates are involved in emerging efforts to develop aquaculture for American eel. Last October, scientists, eel biologists, eel merchants, entrepreneurs and government regulators attended a workshop on the eel industry sponsored by the USDA Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center and organized by Barry Costa-Pierce (University of New England), Michael Timmons (Cornell University), Dana Morse (Maine Sea Grant) and David MacNeill (New York Sea Grant). Despite complications resulting from the potential listing of American eel as an endangered species, workshop participants concluded that the development of a local industry would benefit both wild fishermen and aquaculture entrepreneurs. Discussions will continue at the Northeast Aquaculture Conference and Exposition (Jan. 14–16 in Portland, Maine) and the Maine Fishermen’s Forum (March 5–7 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine).

UMaine Alumnae Awarded NEA Fellowships

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Two alumnae of the University of Maine English Department’s Graduate Program have been awarded 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellowships for creative writing.

Catherine Reid, chair of Warren Wilson College’s undergraduate creative writing program, and Josie Sigler Sibara, assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Rhode Island, both received $25,000 nonmatching grants.

A total of 38 creative writing fellowships were awarded nationwide. Grants are intended to give published writers time to write, research and travel. The review criteria are artistic excellence and artistic merit; the NEA received more than 1,300 eligible manuscripts to be judged for the 2014 awards..

Reid earned her master’s degree at UMaine in 1989. “O, The Oprah Magazine” listed her essay collection “Falling into Place” one of 14 Riveting Reads To Pick Up in March 2014.

Sibara earned her master’s degree at UMaine in 2002. Her collection of short stories “The Galaxie and Other Rides” won the Ruby Pickens Tartt First Fiction Award in 2012.

Helping Farmers Make Informed Soil Health Decisions Focus of Mallory’s Research

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Ellen Mallory, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, is leading a project that aims to help inform farmers’ decisions about adopting soil health strategies.

The yearlong project, “Building knowledge, skills and networks for soil security in Maine,” received a $44,442 grant from the University of Vermont which administers funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Protecting and improving soil on farms is critical to the long‐term productivity of agriculture in Maine, according to the researchers. However, many agriculture service providers say they are ill-equipped to help farmers and cite a lack of region‐specific information and concrete local examples of successful cover cropping, reduced tillage and rotational practices.

The project will establish teams of agricultural service to increase their ability to help farmers make informed decisions about adopting specific soil health strategies for three farm types: potato‐grain in northern Maine, dairy in central Maine, and mixed vegetable in south‐central Maine, according to the proposal.

Team members will participate in training, work with farmers on demonstration trials, and create video and written profiles of successful soil health/cover cropping practices with how‐to information that will be made available to the public on a project website, the researchers state.

Oceanographer Tracks Gulf of Maine Changes From Orono Lab

Friday, October 31st, 2014

satellite imageAndrew Thomas has a bird’s-eye view of the Gulf of Maine from his lab in Aubert Hall at the University of Maine in Orono.

The oceanography professor directs the University of Maine Satellite Oceanography Data Lab, which receives daily real-time high-resolution data from NASA’s meteorological satellites.

In this Sept. 27, 2014 satellite image of the Gulf of Maine, Thomas observes several points of interest, most notably the contrasting green summer foliage near the coast and to the south and the developing fall foliage in northwest regions.

He also points to cumulus clouds (concentrated white dots), cirrus clouds (white wisps) and color patterns in the ocean. At the head of the Bay of Fundy, huge tides stir considerable suspended sediment and the water appears brown. Greener ocean waters are indicative of shallow banks and phytoplankton (microscopic plants). Clearest ocean waters are blue.

The images and the collected data, including sea surface temperature and ocean chlorophyll concentrations, allow Thomas to track developing and long-term changes in the ocean, including the impact of water temperature variability on the number and distribution of fish as well as summer algae blooms.

Thomas says tools can be developed for management in the face of those changes.

The lab is part of the University of Maine Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Applications — a cross-disciplinary initiative funded by UMaine and NASA’s Earth Sciences Division).

For more information and to view additional satellite images and data, visit

Three Students Receive Top Honors in Forestry, Wildlife Ecology

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Lara Katz, a senior from Arlington, Virginia majoring in wildlife ecology, with minors in anthropology and psychology, is this year’s Robert I. Ashman Scholar, the top academic award in UMaine’s forest resources and wildlife programs.

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Katz began her wildlife career volunteering at the Smithsonian National Zoo where she discovered her passion for conserving wildlife and their habitats. At UMaine, she is involved in research focused on fish ecology and river restoration. Her career goals include working as a wildlife biologist and effectively communicating wildlife science to the public for sound conservation.

Also selected for recognition as top students in forest resources and wildlife as Dwight B. Demeritt Scholars are Lucas Lamond and Tabatha Hawkins.

Lamond is a senior from Brewer, Maine majoring in forest operations, bioproducts and bioenergy. He is a student employee working in the University Forests and plans to start his own business managing Maine woodlands for improved wildlife habitat.

Hawkins is a senior from Norway, Maine majoring in wildlife ecology. She also in the Honors College, conducting thesis research on the factors affecting the reintroduction success of the federally endangered tiger beetle in Nantucket. Hawkins is co-president the UMaine Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and is a student ambassador for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology.