Name: Aubrey Webster
Hometown: South Berwick, Maine
I chose UMaine because I was undecided about what I wanted to major in, and since the university offered so many choices for majors it seemed like the best way to find one that fit me.
How would you describe the academic atmosphere at UMaine?
I find campus to be a very motivating place to study and engage in academics. You’ll see people studying outside on the University Mall during nice sunny days or cram-packed at the long tables inside the library.
Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
I participated in Alternative Spring Break my freshman and sophomore year, which allowed me to meet a lot of people at the university and at the same time travel to different places around the United States for a week during our spring break period. My freshmen year (2010) I went to the Florida Everglades and participated in beach clean up, invasive species removal of a type of agave plant, and brush clearing, all in the Everglades National Park. My sophomore year (2011) I co-site led a group to New Orleans, Louisiana, staying in St. Bernard Parish and working with an organization called the St. Bernard’s Project. They coordinated volunteers to help restore houses in the parish just outside of New Orleans that were still devastated from Katrina. We spent the week staying at a church in the parish, and helped work on a house by cutting baseboards, painting, window trim, caulking, cleanup and installations of doors and other accessories.
Volunteering for a week with other students from the university has shown me how much our country depends on programs like this to help maintain our ecosystems and communities.
Have you participated in any internships or co-ops related to your major? Tell us about them and how your experience in the classroom helped prepare you.
This summer I signed up for a Food Science and Human Nutrition 396 course, which was a field work-experience course allowing me to get eight credits for a volunteer opportunity at a children’s hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Some classroom experience from my Life Cycle Nutrition class helped prepare me for working with the children at the hospital. My classroom experience of learning about diets and healthy eating led me to thinking about what kind of diet requirements the children were on during their stay at the hospital. My medical terminology class also taught me medical definitions and diseases that helped me identify and understand what illnesses the children had in the hospital.
How might this experience influence your future plans?
Living in Barcelona for two months opened my eyes to a world of work and adventure outside of the United States. I have since been playing with the idea of living and working abroad once finished with schooling.
Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, and if so, who and how?
I have been working closely Sue Sullivan, the head advisor of nutrition. She was the one who told me about the Field Work Experience class that enabled me to study abroad and get class credit at the same time! She meets with all nutrition students either as freshmen or when the transfer into the program. She also teaches some of our core nutrition classes. She has been very helpful and informing about the nutrition education process and our future goals.
What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine?
I really enjoyed my FSN 103 (Science of Food Preparation) class. It taught us how certain important ingredients are in foods, such as salt as a flavor enhancer, and how flour can act as a thickener. It helps us to create diet modifications for people who might have diabetes and need to alter their diet or someone with Celiac disease who can’t have anything with gluten.
What are UMaine students like?
UMaine students are very motivated and friendly. They actively participate in events on campus and create a welcoming environment on campus.
What surprised you about UMaine?
I was surprised by the location of UMaine, and though it seems like it would be an isolated campus, there is always something to do during the week and on weekends. Bangor is a short 15-minute drive and Bar Harbor about an hour and a half. UMaine offers movie showings during the week and campus sports and activities are always thriving.
Describe UMaine in one word.
What do you do outside of class?
Outside of class I work at Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono and am involved in Nutrition Club and Kappa Omicron Nu.
Favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus would be the walking paths behind the recreation center.
Favorite place off campus?
Harvest Moon and the bog walk are my favorite off campus places.
How’s the food? What’s your favorite thing to eat on campus?
The food on campus has gotten a lot better since I have started school. They have really made an effort to incorporate healthier food choices and making things fresh like the salad bar, and adding a smoothie station in the Union. My favorite thing to eat on campus would be the salad bar since it has a lot of different options and changes every day of the week. They also have a great unique soup selection like butternut squash and apple soup and Italian wedding soup.
What is your favorite UMaine tradition?
Homecoming is my favorite UMaine tradition. Everyone is out and active and coming together as a UMaine community.
What is your most memorable UMaine moment?
My most memorable moment was St. Patrick’s Day last year. I sat out on my friend’s roof in the bizarre 80-degree weather in April. We all wore green and watched the sunset.
What do you hope to do after graduation and how has UMaine helped you reach those goals?
I have to apply for a dietetic internship to become certified as a registered dietician, which would allow me to work with clients who have more serious illnesses, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. UMaine has helped me reach these goals by supplying me with the classes and pre-requirements that I’ll need in order to apply for this internship. My advisors and professors have enlightened us on how we need to build our resume and in what areas we need to fulfill.
What was your first year like?
My first year was a nice awakening. It forced me to be less shy and more outgoing. I liked how all the freshmen dorms were clustered together so you were surrounded by people going through the same experience of living on your own and taking higher level classes. It was easy to make friends and get involved on campus.
What is your favorite memory of living on campus?
My favorite memory on campus is buffalo chicken night at York. All my friends and I our freshmen year would make the long 15-minute trek to York to bask in the amazing buffalo chicken wraps that they made.
What is there to do in Orono, Maine?
There is a lot to do in Orono, from going to the bog walk on a nice day, to enjoying an awesome Harvest Moon sandwich. Webster Park is nice to go to on a sunny day along with the rope swing. For those of age, the bars are always offering things to do such as karaoke and trivia nights.
What difference has UMaine made in your life?
UMaine opened me up to a lot of academic opportunities, and helped me eventually find my major in nutrition. I enjoy coming back to school and can’t wait by the end of the summer to return and be around the friends I have made over the past couple of years. I used to not recognize any faces on campus when I was a freshman, now it’s hard not to recognize at least six people or more on campus a day. UMaine can quickly take on a family feel if you let it.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
I advise incoming students to become involved. If they are hesitant or shy about joining a club or event, don’t be. Chances are there will be at least a couple of other students there that won’t know anyone either. If you participate in something that you enjoy, you are going to meet others similar to you and who enjoy the same things you do! BAM, instant friends.
Image Description: Aubrey Webster