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White House Honors UMaine Economist

The White House has named University of Maine economist Sharon Wagner a Champion of Change for leveraging her national service experience in AmeriCorps to become influential in her career.

Wagner, an assistant professor in the School of Economics, served in AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps following her graduation from the University of Massachusetts.  She was one of 12 AmeriCorps alumni honored at the White House on Aug. 17.

Stationed in Charleston, S.C., her team completed seven projects in the areas of education, the environment and unmet human needs throughout the southeastern United States. Wagner’s experience led to her interest in conservation and the social and economic implications of energy decisions.

“In a career path committed to service, my experience in AmeriCorps was a crucial step during a transition from youth to professional that gave me the confidence, knowledge and skills to solve critical social and environmental problems,” Wagner said in a news release from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

Wagner’s research focuses on the environmental, social and economic implications of energy decisions, with a main focus on solar energy solutions, and she teaches courses in sustainable energy economics and policy.

The Champions of Change program was created to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

Contact: Jessica Bloch (207) 581-3777 or

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