Skip Navigation

News - Spring 2006 Newsletter

Mainely Progress, June 2006
Volume 3, Number 1

Edited by Dr. Martin Stokes

Another New Recruit
Crystal SellarsBeginning last fall, a search committee interviewed three candidates for the position of Livestock Teaching Coordinator and Assistant Herdsperson. This post involves numerous responsibilities in using Witter as a hands-on classroom and coordinating student animal activities both on and off-campus. The applicants were required to have a master’s degree, experience with teaching and research work related to the livestock program, and interpersonal skills necessary to work closely with students and faculty. We are very pleased that one of our own graduates, Crystal Sellars, was the successful applicant for this position.

Crystal was born in Presque Isle, Maine, and raised in Washburn, where the family moved when she was only six years old. Crystal was clearly an animal lover from an early age and although her parents were not in agriculture she still managed to collect a myriad of different pets including chickens, cats, dogs, and hamsters. She also participated heavily in the FFA during her years in Washburn. Crystal entered UMaine as a member of the Class of 1999, originally majoring in Zoology, before switching to Animal Science after her first semester. The UMADCOWS program was primarily responsible for her focus on food animals and she was the Student Herd Advisor in her final semester. Before graduating with a BS in AVS, Crystal was accepted into the graduate program at the University of Idaho to pursue a master’s degree in Animal Science.

Her early animal related experience involved working at the Presque Isle Raceway, where she collected urine from the racehorses for drug testing, and she also volunteered with a veterinarian in Woodland. While at UMaine, she gathered alternative experience at the Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle, where she collected and processed plant and soil samples for research studies. After graduating from UMaine, Crystal spent that summer working for Thomas Farms of Garland, where she milked and performed odd jobs for the farm’s 240 milking cows. Crystal was then a graduate research assistant for Dr. Amin Ahmadzadeh, who she credits for the majority of her hands-on and real-world experience. Crystal’s graduate research was on the addition of Estradiol Cypionate (ECP) to the Ovsynch Protocol and its effects on the conception rates of dairy cattle. Following graduate school, her decision on a career in dairy led her to the Midwest Dairy Institute in Milbank, South Dakota, where she became their first ever Dairy Management Intern. fter about a year she was promoted to Assistant Herdsperson and was the herd’s Reproduction Specialist responsible for nearly every aspect of the institute’s breeding program. Crystal then worked at Cedar Red Dairy in Denmark, Wisconsin, before returning to work in Maine.

In this newly created position Crystal splits her duties between the AVS department and Witter Farm. For the department, she is charged with AVS lab instruction in various courses such as Animal Science, Animal Science Techniques, and UMADCOWS. At the same time she oversees equipment and animal use for any student clubs or groups. At Witter, Crystal is responsible for assisting with all normal farm chores and duties, as well as the cow and heifer breeding programs, and some management of student employees.

In the future, Crystal hopes to continue at the University for many years, where she wants to improve her rapport with the equine program and further the development of the beef program. A woman full of potential, she explains that, “UMADCOWS brought me to where I am today and now I’m back and can help give back to UMaine what was given to me”. We all look forward to her contributions to both the Witter Farm and to the Animal and Veterinary Science department. Welcome Crystal!

Developments in the Diagnostic Lab
In our last issue we welcomed Dr. Scott Haskell to our faculty to take over management of our Diagnostic Laboratory. Having been a practicing veterinarian in large practices in the southwest, Scott was able to improve our management procedures and laboratory protocols to make a more efficient operation. He also started a Maine Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory (MAAHL) to deal with the very important problems of our marine industries. To lead this laboratory he was able to persuade Cooperative Extension to hire Debbie Bouchard, who was working as a Marine Resource Scientist for the Department of Marine Resources and Maine Inland Fish and Wildlife. From 1996 to June 2005, Debbie was the owner and manager of Micro Technologies Inc., a private aquatic animal health laboratory. Debbie graduated from UMaine in 1983 with a degree in Microbiology and has great experience in this field. She also has had great success in writing grants to support her work, a talent which we hope will flourish in her new position because her salary will be funded for two years but by then she must be self-sufficient by writing grants. In the short time that Debbie has been with us she has written grants worth in excess of $1 million and was recently awarded over $395,000 to equip the new MAAHL. Congratulations Debbie. Two other grants totaling over $300,000 are still pending. Unfortunately, Dr. Scott Haskell resigned recently from his CE/AVS appointment to return to California. We wish him well in his future professional activities.

AVS Bios
Brenda Kennedy-Wade
One of the hardest working members of the Animal and Veterinary Science department, Brenda is a Licensed Veterinary and Scientific Technician for the AVS Cooperative Extension Diagnostic Laboratory. She is responsible for running the Bacteriology, Mastitis, and Pathology Labs in Hitchner Hall, as well as caring for the laboratory animals in the Small Animal Facility and in the isolation houses. Brenda is also working toward her graduate degree in Animal Science, which involves studying alternative treatment therapies for Mastitis in Organic Dairy cows. She currently resides, with her husband Mark, on a small farm in Alton where she owns a variety of different animals, whom she affectionately refers to as her collection of furry hooves, paws, and feathered “lawn ornaments”.


  • Jill Hebert Ellis. After graduating from the Animal and Veterinary Sciences program in 2003, Jill attended a semester of veterinary school before taking some personal time to get married, and has now restarted her veterinary education at the University of Illinois. Jill enjoys the program immensely and has found that much of what she learned from the University of Maine’s Animal Science curriculum has given her a tremendous head start in vet school. She and her husband have purchased their first house just outside Champaign in the little town of Le Roy. Jill would be happy to correspond with anyone thinking of attending veterinary college (
  • Meredith Bott. A 2005 graduate, Meredith immediately began working at the Animal Refuge League and after only a couple of months, she was promoted to the position of Small Animal Manager. Meredith now oversees all the medical administration duties, as well as caring for the small animals in residence and in foster care. In addition, she writes the small animal adoption profiles for the Animal Refuge League website (, as well as for
  • Jennifer Jacques. Jennifer graduated from the AVS program in 2004 and has recently accepted a position at Harvard Medical School where she will be working as a second level Research Veterinary Technician in the Center for Animal Resources and Comparative Medicine.
  • Jackie Bastien. Jackie graduated from UMaine in May 2000 and from Tufts Veterinary College in 2004. She is now married to Al, with step-daughters Kate at UNE (Marine History) and Kim at Vet. Tech. School in Stratham, NH. Jackie and Al are currently trying to whip a 100 year old house into better shape but in her last msg it seemed like the house was doing the whipping. Jackie is a partner in a veterinary practice in Amesbury, MA. You could reach her at
  • Matt and Alicia (Sears) Ring (UM 2000, Iowa State, DVM, 2004). Matt and Alicia proudly announced the birth of their first-born: Lucas Gordon Ring, born April 15, 2006, weighing in at 8 lb 4 oz, and measuring a grand 20 inches tall. Matt and Alicia live in Aloha, OR where Ali was a vet in a practice that concentrates on cats. may still work.

Since May 2005, 12 of our undergraduates have been admitted to Veterinary College, one of which is in Scotland and another is in Australia. One student was admitted to Law School in Arkansas, one to Graduate School at UVM, and four will perform graduate studies in three different departments at UMaine. Congratulations to you all. Here is a little more information about some of this year’s graduates.

  • Stephanie Beamish. Having interned for Blue Seal previously, Stephanie will be utilizing her recently acquired Animal Science degree as a Dairy Sales Representative for the company in central New York. She will be moving to the Oneonta area at the end of May.
  • Joshua Bergstrom. An Animal Science major, Josh will be attending the University of Arkansas School of Law in the fall pursuing a Juris Doctorate, with the hopes of an eventual Master of Laws degree in Agricultural Law.
  • Katherine Collett. Katherine still needs three credits to graduate with a pre-veterinary concentration, which she will obtain while working for the Maine State Department of Environmental Protection. She hopes to begin with coastal water inspections and to advance quickly within the department.
  • Meghan Flanagan. Meghan will be furthering her pre-veterinary studies at the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine this coming fall. She hopes to specialize in large animal medicine and plans to return to Maine to open a large or mixed-animal practice. Meghan is the first Maine resident from UMaine to be admitted to Cornell in many, many years.
  • Samantha Foster. Graduating summa cum laude in the pre-veterinary concentration with a minor in Equine Studies, Sam has accepted a summer internship at IDEXX’s division of Research and Development. She will then attend the University of Vermont in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in Cellular Biology with a focus on Immunology.
  • Nicole Garrity. Nicole was a pre-veterinary major who will be attending Ross University of Veterinary Medicine on the island of St. Kitts this coming fall. Nicole hopes to specialize in small animals and eventually open a rescue clinic once she is a practicing veterinarian.
  • Julie Greenlaw. Julie will receive her AVS degree from the preveterinary concentration when she completes her first year of study at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Julie was also admitted to the University of Glasgow College of Veterinary Medicine but chose to go to Edinburgh.
  • Serena Gross. Serena worked extensively at the University of Maine Diagnostic Laboratory but since she graduated with an Animal Science degree and a minor in Zoology she has been working with insects in Deering Hall and hopes to pursue graduate work in Entomology.
  • Elsebeth LaForge. Elsebeth graduated with an Animal Science degree and now plans to apply to the University of Maine Law program. She will be working at Hollywood Slots for the summer before getting married in August.
  • Lucas Manley. Luke did not complete the pre-veterinary concentration but will finish his degree after moving to Portland, Oregon, to establish residency before applying to the Oregon State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He hopes to specialize in international and wild and exotic animal medicine.
  • Amanda McLaughlin May. Also graduating with an Animal Science degree, Amanda just recently acquired a job with the Penobscot branch of the Farm Service Agency where she will work as a program technician.
  • Holly Monsen. Having just graduated with an Animal Science degree and a minor in Business Administration, Holly will be returning to the University of Maine in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in Secondary Science Education.
  • Alison Pease. A pre-veterinary major, Alison, graduated summa cum laude and Salutatorian of the Class of 2006 and will be attending the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall.
  • Kara Pietroski. A pre-veterinary major who graduated summa cum laude, Kara is moving to Montana in July where she plans to take a year to travel, nationally and abroad, before applying to vet school as a member of the Class of 2011.
  • Carolyn Sarich. After receiving her Animal Science degree, Carolyn will be moving back to her home in Massachusetts for the summer and working at Aintree Kennels while she seeks more permanent employment.
  • Emily Thomas. Emily graduated magna cum laude in the Animal Science concentration with a minor in Biology and hopes to obtain a permanent position in the AVS Diagnostic Laboratory.
  • Kimberly Townsend. Kimberly graduated with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Studio Art. She is currently working with hopes of eventually returning to school to pursue a graduate degree in Animal Nutrition. She will wed David DuEst Jr. in the spring of 2007.
  • Lynel Winters. A pre-veterinary, summa cum laude graduate, Lynel will be attending the North Carolina State University School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. Her interests are varied as she hopes to specialize in veterinary pathology, with an interest in small and large animals and even aquaculture. Lynell was also admitted to a Scottish Veterinary School.
  • Anne Wyllie. From New Jersey, Anne graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the New Jersey seat to attend the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. She hopes to eventually specialize in toxicology or oncology with small or laboratory animals.
  • Angela Young. Angela graduates this year from the pre-veterinary concentration with a minor in Equine Studies. Following graduation she plans on entering the Harness Racing industry as she is currently employed with Valerie Grondin at the Bangor Raceway.
  • Dong Nguyen Bresinsky. Having completed her MS degree with Dr. Charles Wallace, Dong has just secured a Research Assistant position with Dr. Zhong-wei Zhang at the Jackson Laboratory. Dong and her family hope to move to Ellsworth to even out the commute for her to Bar Harbor and for her husband and daughter to Orono.

Refurbishing the Small Animal Facility

Almost $150,000 has been spent to refurbish our 30-year old Small Animal Facility to help obtain accreditation of the university by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International). This work has improved the research environment, air quality, biosecurity and safety of the building and will allow researchers all over campus to submit and receive research grants for which AAALAC accreditation is required. As a result of these improvements, Jim Weber in AVS and faculty in Biological Engineering are cooperating with a surgeon from EMMC, Dr. Ian Dickey, in experiments funded by Stryker Corporation to further define the growth of tissue into foam metals for use in replacement joints for humans.

Back to News