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2015 Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase Winners

Student research was displayed during the 6th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on April 14.

The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), was open to any undergraduate at the university and featured 121 presentations from 229 students in the form of 92 posters, 16 oral presentations or performances, and 13 exhibits. Several presentations included multiple students.

Following are the winning presentations:


Oral Presentations


Also announced at the showcase were the five winners of a $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship:

Maine Sea Grant Offering Monthly Radio Program on WERU-FM

Coastal Conversations is a new monthly, one-hour public affairs program offered by Maine Sea Grant on WERU-FM Community Radio 89.9 in Blue Hill and 99.9 in Bangor. The first show, which aired in January, focused on ocean acidification. Hosted by Natalie Springuel, Coastal Conversations explores current issues facing Maine’s coastal communities through conversations with people who live, work and play on Maine’s coast. Coastal Conversations airs on the fourth Friday of the month.

PBS Films Saltwater Sparrows at SHARP Site

The PBS Nature show “Animal Homes: Location, Location, Location” featured a field site of the Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program (SHARP).

University of Maine assistant professor Brian Olsen is a principal investigator with SHARP; its goal is to establish priorities for the long-term conservation of tidal marsh birds.

Ecologist Chris Morgan hosted “Animal Homes: Location, Location, Location,” which aired at 8 p.m. April 15. The second of a three-part series documented the critical placement of nests of saltmarsh sparrows in coastal marshes from Maine to Virginia, “where ocean and land collide.” Just-born chicks can drown if a rising tide covers the nest.

Latest Invention: Stronger, Longer-Lasting Fuel Cell Technology

Fuel cells are alternative energy-generation devices that provide continuous electricity with low to zero emissions at the source. NASA first used modern fuel cells in space vehicles. Today, fuels cells provide power in a variety of applications, including automobiles, backup generators, fork lifts and portable electronic devices.

One type of fuel cell, the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, converts hydrogen into electricity and water. PEM fuel cells are generally very rugged, but there is a fragile membrane within the electrode assembly that is a common failure point. University of Maine mechanical engineering researchers have developed a stronger, longer-lasting membrane that demonstrates potential to increase the reliability and overall life span of the fuel cell. A possible opportunity for Maine business is to manufacture and supply membrane electrode assembly units to PEM fuel cell providers.

More information is online.

Two UMaine Projects Receive Northeastern States Research Cooperative Awards

The Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC), a competitive grant program supported by the USDA Forest Service and serving the states of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont announced its 2015 research awards to advance cross-disciplinary, collaborative research in the Northern Forest region.

The University of Maine will lead two of the 11 projects to receive NSRC Research Awards:

A total of 95 pre-proposals and 41 proposals were evaluated by four peer review panels. The 11 projects selected were awarded approximately $925,000 by NSRC and nearly the equivalent in matching funds. The nearly $2 million will fund research on a range of topics in four core areas of critical importance to Northern Forest communities: society and economics, forest ecology, wood products and forest biodiversity.

Since its inception in 2001, NSRC has awarded $23 million in research funding across the Northern Forest.

More about the 2015 NSRC Research Awards and the projects is online.

Knowles Named 2015 Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow

Anne Kelly Knowles, who in August will begin her position at the University of Maine as a professor in the History Department, has been named a 2015 fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts, according to the foundation. The organization receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year, and awards about 200 fellowships annually.

Knowles is considered a pioneer in applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to history, has written several books on historical GIS, and is an internationally recognized leader in the digital and spatial humanities.

She has been a geography professor at Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont since 2002. Before that she was a fellow at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and a lecturer at the Institute of Earth Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Knowles earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Knowles was the recipient of this year’s Faculty Partner Accommodation Program at UMaine. Her spouse is Stephen Hornsby, director of the Canadian American Center and professor of anthropology and Canadian studies.

More information about the Guggenheim Fellowships, including a complete list of this year’s fellows, is online.

2015 Graduate Academic Exposition Winners

More than 120 presentations were made during the 2015 Graduate Academic Exposition in separate categories of four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event — as well as a photo contest.

About $12,000 in prize money was awarded at this year’s expo, including the $2,000 President’s Research Impact Award given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.

Courtney Pacholski of China, Maine, a Ph.D. candidate in education, and her adviser, James Artesani, associate professor of special education, won this year’s President’s Research Impact Award for “The Effects of Check-In/Check-Out on the Behaviors of Elementary and Middle School Students.”

A complete list of winners is online.



2015 President’s Research Impact Award Presented to Doctoral Student in Education

Courtney Pacholski of China, Maine, a Ph.D. candidate in education at the University of Maine, and her advisor, James Artesani, associate professor of special education, are the recipients of the UMaine 2015 President’s Research Impact Award.

The annual award, presented at the closing ceremony of the GradExpo April 3, is given to the graduate student and advisor who best exemplify the University of Maine mission of teaching, research and scholarship, and outreach. The $2,000 as part of the award is shared equally between the student and advisor. The awardees also receive special mention at the Graduate Hooding and Recognition Ceremony on May 8.

Pacholski’s research focuses on PBIS — positive behavior interventions and supports for rural school districts to help students at risk for behavioral issues that could result in failing at school. Pacholski has taught graduate courses focused on positive approaches to student behavior. In addition, she provides professional development to educators on schoolwide approaches to behavioral intervention, including the benefits of a check-in/check-out system that establishes regular communication between teachers, students and parents to provide feedback and documentation of youngsters’ progress in attaining behavioral goals.

In her research, Pacholski has examined the effects, feasibility and possible adaptations of the Check-In/Check-Out model on the behaviors of elementary and middle school students. The results of the study indicate positive outcomes in addressing students’ behavior problems in the classroom while strengthening the student-teacher relationship.

Pacholski’s presentation at the Grad Expo integrated her contribution of evidenced-based behavioral interventions through graduate coursework, professional development and outreach, and research, which has had a positive impact on teachers and students throughout Maine.

Pacholski received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UMaine in 1998, and a master’s degree in educational psychology, with a concentration in applied behavior analysis from the University of Southern Maine in 2011. Pursuing a Ph.D. has allowed her to expand her proficiency in the areas of implementation science and multi-tiered systems of behavioral intervention in school settings.

Currently, she is working with multiple school districts through the Penobscot Region Educational Partnership (PREP), as well as districts in Kennebec, Lincoln, Aroostook, Androscogin, Oxford, and Franklin counties. In addition to work in PBIS, she has been contributing to the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER) by providing professional development to Maine Autism Leadership Teams (MALT), and by collaborating with the Deborah Rooks-Ellis, the director of MAIER, is helping develop standards for programs supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Deer Isle Residents Receive Industry Partner Award from the Lobster Institute

Basil and Harriet Heanssler and their family, long-time owners of Conary Cove Lobster Company in the Sunshine area of Deer Isle, Maine received the Lobster Institute’s Industry Partner Award. The award recognizes companies that have a substantial history of working with and supporting the Lobster Institute in its mission to ensure a healthy, sustainable lobster resource and a vital fishery.

The award was presented at the Lobster Institute’s 2015 Canadian/U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting, March 20–21 in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Heansslers were very involved in the establishment of the institute. Basil Heanssler was one of the charter members of the Lobster Institute’s board of advisors in 1987.

The Heanssler Family has been involved in the lobster industry for generations. Basil’s father and grandfather also were lobstermen. Basil took over the management of the lobster company from his father in 1972. He still manages the company, with help from his children and grandchildren. His daughter Kathy is a member of the Lobster Institute’s board of advisors.

Through the years, the Heansslers have been generous contributors to the Lobster Institute, having made significant financial donations in both cash and gifts of land in both Downeast Maine and two island properties in Nova Scotia. Funds from the sale of this land were used to establish the Basil and Harriet Heanssler Lobster Institute Fund, endowed at the University of Maine Foundation.

The Lobster Institute, a division of UMaine’s Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, has been working with and on behalf of the lobster industry since 1987. It is an industry-driven organization focusing on conservation, outreach, research, and educational programs to sustain the lobster resource and maintain a vital fishery. More information about the institute is online.

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Researcher One of 10 Winners of the 5th Annual Beck Institute Student Scholarship Competition

Rachel Goetze, a second-year University of Maine clinical psychology doctoral student from Hampden, is one of 10 winners of the 5th Annual Beck Institute Student Scholarship Competition. She was selected from a pool of 800 applicants to attend an intensive three-day workshop on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depression and Suicidality at the Beck Institute in Philadelphia. The Beck Institute is a world-renowned training center for mental health professionals to learn cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is an empirically supported approach for treating a variety of mental disorders.

Goetze grew up in Exeter, Maine, and received a Top Scholar award from UMaine. From 2001–05 she earned a bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work. She worked in the neuropsychology department at Eastern Maine Medical Center before joining UMaine’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.

In her doctoral research Goetze collaborates with Emily Haigh, UMaine assistant professor of psychology. Excerpts from Goetze’s application focusing on her research follow:

Tell us about your work in cognitive behavior therapy.
The University of Maine has longstanding dedication to rigorous training in cognitive therapy through coursework, practicum experiences and research opportunities. My mentor, professor Emily Haigh, has reinforced my training and exposure to the science and practice of cognitive therapy. I have utilized a CBT framework to work with individuals with depression, social and generalized anxiety, panic and post-traumatic stress symptoms.

How do you hope to use CBT in the future?
As a scientist-practitioner, I am dedicated to using CBT in the classroom and treatment room, as well as a model to inform my doctoral research. My current research interests are in obesity, specifically in binge eating disorder and bariatric surgery candidate populations. I aim to investigate the role of perceived control as a potential target for treatment. My overarching hypothesis rests squarely on a CBT foundation: Modifying an individual’s perception of control will significantly impact binge eating behavior and associated maladaptive emotions such as sadness, embarrassment and hopelessness.

What else do you hope to gain from this training experience?
As a lifelong Maine resident, I am familiar with the constraints of seeking and receiving services in a rural area. I hope to be a part of Maine’s commitment to disseminate empirically supported treatment such as CBT by utilizing tools such as telemedicine in order to enable providers statewide. This training with the Beck Institute would allow me to gain expertise in CBT so that one day, I can be in a position to help serve the mental health needs of Maine’s rural communities.


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