Meet Our Students - Audrey Maddox
Why did you choose UMaine and the EES program?
After spending my freshman year at art school in Chicago, there was not a doubt in my mind that I wanted to study an ecology related field. I applied to several schools as a transfer student, and last minute in the summer of 2010, decided to attend The University of Maine. UMaine presented me with great financial aid and a well-developed Ecology & Environmental Science program. I was always dead set on getting out of the state that I grew up in, but coming back to Maine and attending UMaine has been the best decision I’ve made in consideration of my education, body, and mind.
What has been your favorite class so far?
My favorite class so far has been Environmental Ethics with Roger King. The course material complemented various aspects of my life, from the scientific to the spiritual—it is all related. It also challenged me to think about whether my daily actions were reinforcing my values and beliefs. This class acted as catalyst in transitioning my lifestyle and mindset.
Best hands-on experience?
During the summer of 2012, I worked as a research assistant for Eric Venturini, a graduate student in the School of Biology & Ecology. Eric had just begun planning his research project during the spring semester and we jumped right into conducting fieldwork during the summer. His research involves developing a mix of wildflowers, as well as management practices, that will support the increase of populations of native bees, consequently increasing crop yield and decreasing the reliance on shipped-in honey/bumble bees. I worked side-by-side with Eric in almost every aspect of the research project and got to witness the development and implementation of research. I enjoyed taking a part in this research because achieving pollination security is crucial for empowering small-scale farmers and the local communities, something I feel very strongly about. This job made the prospect of developing and conducting my own research so much more plausible.
What do you do when you are not studying?
Oh my, where to start. Fresh air is necessary for my survival, and I get it by engaging in a range of activities, from walking, to rock climbing. I also enjoy biking, climbing trees, running, hiking, swimming, and snowboarding. It may seem simple, but taking the time to breath deeply centers me throughout the day. I also enjoy experimenting with food—fermentation is probably my favorite. Music rounds out all my life engagements.
Any words of wisdom for incoming students?
Engage. What are your beliefs without action? Join a club, get out into the Orono community, volunteer for the land trust. Also, experiment. With a little effort, you can do anything. You will feel empowered and learn a lot along the way, especially when things don’t go as planned! Between the university and the cities of Orono and Bangor, we have an amazing network of trails—explore this bountiful resource.
What should prospective students know about EES?
It is a broad subject, but there are so many resources available to you to develop a more specific set of skills that can then be related to your entire life. There are many research opportunities out there, it just takes a little searching and networking to get hands-on experience, but it is so worth it!