Valedictorian and Salutatorian
Kristopher Cooper of Winthrop has been named valedictorian of the University of Maine Class of 2011. The salutatorian is Rachel Ann Ventrealla of Fayette. Both graduated during UMaine’s 209th commencement, Saturday May 7 at Alfond Arena.
Cooper is a biology major with a minor in business. During his time at UMaine, Cooper has received numerous awards and honors including a Top Scholar Award, an Edward and Grace Cutting Scholarship and the School of Biology and Ecology Book Award. He has taken advantage of opportunities to be involved in scientific research as an undergraduate student, working with Prof. Stellos Tavantzis on potato disease management, including fieldwork in Aroostook County and extensive laboratory research on campus.
As a member of MEDLIFE at UMaine, Cooper participated in a weeklong medical mission to Ecuador the summer before his junior year. He also coordinated the Dental Outreach Program of the Health Professions Club, taking presentations on oral health to local elementary schools, and for three years was a child mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters. On campus, he was a biology and chemistry tutor in UMaine’s Tutor Program, a volunteer EMT with University Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and a Dirigo Tour Guide with the Admissions Office. In the fall. Cooper will attend the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine.
His parents are Anne and Robert Cooper.
Ventrella, the salutatorian, will graduate with an elementary education degree and a concentration in liberal arts.
A Livermore Falls High School graduate, Ventrella partiscipated for two years in UMaine’s Alternative Spring Break, first as a volunteer at Boys & Girls Clubs in Jacksonville, Fla., then as a co-site leader at Project Lazarus in New Orleans, La. In her junior year, she coached second- and third-grade coed soccer and fourth- and fifth-grade girls basketball for the Orono Recreation Department. For nearly three years, Ms. Ventrella worked at Treasured Tots Preschool in Glenburn, Maine, first as a daycare assistant, then as an educational technician.
On campus, she also was active in the Newman Center, intramural basketball and coed softball, and the UMaine chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. Ms. Ventrella did her student teaching in grade 6 at Leonard Middle School and grade 4 at Eddington Elementary School. She is pursuing a career teaching grades K-6 in Maine.
Her UMaine scholarships include the John Chabot Scholarship, the Galen Cole Family Foundation Education Scholarship and the Servant Heart Scholarship. She also received a Presidential Scholar Award and Praxis II, ETS Recognition of Excellence.
Ventrealla’s father, Michael, earned a UMaine chemical engineering degree in 1981. Her mother, Janet, teaches at Livermore Falls Elementary School.