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News - Summer 2007 Newsletter

Mainely Progress, August 2007
Volume 4, Number 1

The Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences interfaces with the Lobster Institute in a variety of ways. Each year several students work on lobster related projects as part of Dr. Stokes’ senior topics class working on a wide array of projects that have included, lobster health assessments, feed attractant and bait evaluation, behavior, and stress measurement.

Currently, Julie Kaye, an AVS teaching assistant, is completing a Masters degree using GIS to evaluate environmental toxin maps as they relate to clusters of lobster shell disease.

One of the goals of the Lobster Institute is to develop endowed scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students, giving them opportunities to participate in problem solving research. We hope that AVS will follow a parallel course in endowing research and teaching activities with livestock and dairy.

The Lobster Institute has learned that University and Experiment Station funding are most inadequate to do the work that needs to be done now. In addition, grant funding is not as dependable and timely as situations often warrant, especially in the area of lobster health. Alumni, friends, and industry are all welcomed to support the C.O.R.E. (Conservation, Outreach, Research, and Education) campaign to endow the Lobster Institute, to make sure there is a consistently accessible source of revenue that ensures that the Lobster Institute is always available as a resource for those in the lobster industry. To-date, the Lobster Institute has raised over $1,000,000 as part of its C.O.R.E. Campaign.

There is a land-grant university in every state thanks to the Morrill act of 1862. Each of those institutions has some type of animal science department although the actual names vary widely. All of those departments probably have some type of pre-vet or pre-professional curriculum. Biology programs can also have pre-vet or pre-med concentrations and students from any degree program can be admitted to vet school if they have received good grades in the required courses and meet the other admission requirements. It is thus possible for someone from an art history program to be admitted to vet school. A few years ago the associate dean for admission from UPenn vet school told us that about 30 percent of all applicants are from animal science programs, 40 percent are from biological science programs, and the rest come from other degree programs.

In the ’80s and ’90s we had 80 to 90 majors in AVS and one or two students were admitted to vet school each year. When our new students arrive in September we will have almost 180 AVS majors. As our enrollment has increased, so have the number of our students admitted to vet school, being about 35% of our graduating seniors in each of the last two years. This is a large percentage for a state without a vet school. There is a national shortage of large animal vets, so our students clearly have an advantage having completed classes that involve hands-on activities with production animals.

We were interested to know how our students fare when they make it to vet school, so I contacted three of our recent grads who are now studying at Cornell (Anne Wiley and Meghan Flannagan) and at Ross University in the Caribbean (Martha Hart). Martha and Meghan were also able to visit us last semester and spoke to our Senior Topics II class.

Martha pointed out that studying at Ross University on the island of St. Kitts involves both the academic challenge of vet school and the need to adapt to living in a third world country. This involves only grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday after the supply ships have delivered the food. Everything on the island is much slower paced, which is a severe contrast to the fast pace of vet school. Martha is very satisfied with the education she is receiving at Ross. “The lecture curriculum is excellent. The professors use lecture, video and audio, lab, and demonstrations to accentuate their teaching and further our learning. We have small and large animal cadavers for Anatomy I and II and the amount of hands-on labs and experience that we have are incredible. We also perform surgeries before going to our clinical rotation including small animal surgery on live dogs and large animal surgery on live donkeys.”

Martha felt that her undergraduate education prepared her for vet school pretty well, except for anatomy, which she found very hard after taking a year off from studying. She recommends that “anyone considering going to vet school get as much clinical experience as you can before you go.”

Anne Wyllie, said that the UMaine curriculum was a great starting place and that the cow experience really helped with the large animal labs. She felt prepared for her classes and that “UMaine did a very good job preparing me for vet school” but “I wish I had taken more cell biology classes.”

Meghan Flannagan also felt that she was very prepared for vet school and she too struggled with the cell biology course, particularly the section on cell signaling. Anne said that “the faculty are very friendly and most are willing to help with any questions we have.” Meghan however, felt that the neuro-anatomy class was a bit of a struggle for everyone, “more due to the horrible professor than to the actual material or lack of background.”

All of our grads are clearly loving the challenges of vet school and feel that we prepared them well for those challenges.

Congratulations to our May graduates, many of whom will be continuing their education at a graduate school or have plans to do that soon. We wish all of them the very best in their future careers. Here is a little information about some of them.

  • Ashley Adams. Ashley was our student farm manager this year and graduated cum laude in our pre-veterinary concentration. She was admitted to Atlantic Veterinary College but chose not to accept that offer. Instead she is moving to Colorado and will apply to CSU when she has Colorado residency.
  • Kelly Brooks. Kelly graduated but still needs some classes to complete the pre-veterinary concentration for admission to vet school. She plans on taking these classes while she searches for a job with large or companion animals.
  • Ashley Bryant. Ashley hopes to apply to vet school this fall while she is working from July through December in the Kentucky Equine Management Internship.
  • Kari Canfield. Kari also needs a few credits to complete the pre-vet concentration so she hopes to take these classes while she works at a mixed practice veterinary hospital in New Hampshire.
  • Nichole Duchesneau. Nichole will move back to Cumberland, Maine and will work at Androscoggin Animal Hospital in Topsham. She wants to gain a little more experience and take a few more classes before she applies to vet school. She said that whatever happens, veterinary medicine will always be her focus.
  • Melanie Enos. Melanie graduated cum laude from our pre-vet concentration. She intends to take the next year working at a vet clinic to get more experience before applying to vet school. She is considering moving to a state with a vet school to improve her chances of admission.
  • Kenneth Hoyt, Jr. Ken graduated from the Animal Science concentration. In addition to operating his family farm he will be working at IDEXX labs in their Production Livestock Research and Development section. Ken interned with IDEXX last summer and hopes to go to grad school in Animal Science. Ken lost his father earlier this summer and we offer him our sincere condolences.
  • Jennifer Johnston. Jen graduated summa cum laude from our pre-vet concentration with the third highest GPA of our seniors. She will be attending vet school at the University of Minnesota this fall.
  • Anthony Levesque Tony still needs one class to complete the Animal Science concentration so he will work in security at EMMC while he picks up those credits. He will then apply at Old Town and Veazie Police Departments. He hopes to eventually work in the State Police K9 units.
  • Thomas Lund. Tom completed our pre-vet concentration but has not yet applied to vet school. He is a white water rafting guide in Alaska this summer and will apply to vet school for January 2008.
  • Holly Miller.Holly completed our pre-vet concentration and will take the state technicians test to become a licensed Veterinary Technician. She will then work at Turner Veterinary Hospital.
  • Irving Minott, IV. CJ will move to Colorado and work with exotic animals to gain more experience before applying to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.
  • Stephanie Moriarity. Steph will complete the pre-vet concentration while she continues to work at the Bangor Humane Society. She then hopes to be admitted to Ross Veterinary School on St. Kitts in the Caribbean.
  • Elizabeth Morse. Liz received our Outstanding Senior Award for having the highest GPA and graduated summa cum laude from the pre-vet concentration. This summer she will be an intern at CRES Wildlife Diseases Laboratory of the San Diego Zoological Society in Escondido, CA. She will then continue her studies at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada.
  • Jo-Anna Murphy. Jo-Anna graduated from our pre-vet concentration, will get married on September 15th, and will work at the Brewer Veterinary Clinic before beginning an MS degree here with Dr. Weber.
  • Jennianne O’Connor. Jen will be working as a surgical technician at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston while she completes the pre-vet concentration. She intends to apply to vet school for admission in fall 2008.
  • Shelby Stevens. Shelby had the second highest GPA in the pre-vet concentration and graduated summa cum laude. She hopes to attend medical school at UVM this fall and until then she will work in a medically related field in western Maine.
  • Curt Yannone. Curt graduated from our pre-vet concentration and will spend the next year adding to his small animal experience. He hopes to establish residency in either Iowa or Kansas before applying to vet school.

Of the 20 students in Senior Topics last year, 3 were admitted to vet school, one is on a waiting list for medical school, two have applied for graduate school in Animal Sciences, and nine more will apply this year. Two mature students (Colrain Balch and Greg Closter) who were only taking the vet school pre-reqs were also admitted, as was Matt Rolleston, who completed his double major in AVS and Chemistry this year. Erin Kinney, a Marine Sciences major who was active in our equine program was also admitted. Congratulations to you all. Come back and visit us sometime!

Congratulations also to:

  • Maggie Vandenburg, BS 2000, graduated with the 2006 class from Atlantic Veterinary College (PEI). Maggie also received the American Association of Feline Practitioners Student Award.
  • Dr. Harouna Maiga, MS 1986, received the University of Minnesota, Cookston, Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his teaching.
  • Dr. Richard Crawford, PhD 1978, a professor at the University of Missouri, received the Rural Community Development Award from the Missouri Farmers Union

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of James W. Mitchell, 1942-2007. Jim supervised the poultry research on campus for many years before taking over management of the Witter and Rogers farms. He retired in 1996 after 33 years of service to the university and will be missed by us all.

A considerable number of our alumni contacted us since the last newsletter. Here is news about a few of them:

  • Christa Currier Galipeau, BS 1996. After graduation, Christa returned to Presque Isle, did her student teaching, became a Maine State Certified teacher for secondary education, and married Scott Galipeau. After having various jobs she became an agriscience teacher in 2001 at the Presque Isle Regional Career and Technical Center where she taught a range of bioresource classes. In January 2004 she gave birth to Piper and Sierra and since 2006 has run her own private tutoring business from her home so she can still work but be close to her two daughters. She wrote, “I think about you all at the university often. I learned so many valuable things and had such fun doing it. (
  • Sarah Guilmain, MS 2004. After working with primates at NIH in Washington, DC Sarah moved to the University of Florida where she will begin the second year of a PhD program with Dr. Southwick on the actin cytoskeleton and the effects of anthrax. She is engaged and will be getting married in October 2008. (
  • Sheila Sweeney Bornstein, BS 2000, MS Cornell, 2003, Reproductive Physiology. Sheila has just completed her third year at the Jackson Lab as a research assistant/project manager for the reproductive mutagenesis research of Dr. Mary Ann Handel and Dr. John Epig. She married her long time love Jacob at the Lucerne Inn in the summer of 2006 so “life is pretty good.” She would love to hear from any 2000 alumni. “Where have you all gone?” (
  • Kiera Finucane, BS 2004, MS UVM 2006, is now the Coordinator of Dairy and Beef Extension programs at the University of Maryland.
  • Kathy Wormwood Rogers, BS 1999. After graduation, Kathy was a certified mental health professional for the state, teaching in Northport, before becoming a certified therapeutic riding instructor teaching at Freedom Riders in Union. She also taught able bodied riders, trained horses, and judged open and schooling shows. She married Eric Rogers in August 2000 and they have two boys, Lucius, age 2 years and Aidric, 8 months. She no longer teaches school but “still does all the horse stuff!” (
  • Linda Scibilia, BS 1982, and her partner have moved back to New York. She still works for Ford Motor Company and is the Plant Controller of the Buffalo Stamping Plant. They plan to eventually move back to central New York to build a boarding kennel and agility training center. They own six horses and board three more, have six dogs and numerous cats. Due to the move they have taken a temporary break from raising Leader Dogs for the Blind, but hope to restart that in the near future. (
  • Sophia Albert, BS 2003. The “cheetah girl” made another trip back to Namibia after graduation but is now back in Otter Creek while she searches for opportunities with big cats in the US. Does anyone have any leads? She can be contacted at 3 Richardson Avenue, Otter Creek, ME 04660. (
  • Matthew Wright, BS 1988, PhD Northwestern 1994, Molecular Biology, post-doctoral research in vascular biology and atherosclerotic disease at the University of Washington, Seattle. Matthew has worked for Roche pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland in drug discovery research. “The Maine Animal Club, Orono Royal, and a workstudy job at the Witter Center were some of the highlights of a very special four years at Maine.” (

Are you an AVS grad who went on to grad school, vet school, med school? We want to recognize the achievements of our graduates in a display at Witter and on our AVS display that we use at Open Houses and take to fairs, such as Fryeburg or Bangor. If you went on to post-graduate studies in any program after you left Maine, then please let us know. Please contact us with all the necessary dates, degrees, locations, topics, your name, and any name change, etc. and your current position.

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