Archive for the ‘Blue Sky News’ Category

Conference Focuses on ‘Living With Acquired Brain Injury’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

“Living with Acquired Brain Injury” offering the latest information on research, innovation and services is the focus of a daylong conference Friday, March 28 at the University of Maine.

The free public conference, 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in Wells Conference Center, is offered through a community-university partnership by UMaine and the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Lunch and refreshments will be included.

Topics will include categories of acquired brain injuries, associated health conditions, environmental risks for traumatic brain injury in children and older adults, and new technology for detection and treatment.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine professor Marie Hayes, 207.581.2039. To preregister, contact Lewis Lamont, Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council, llamont4@roadrunner.com.

A conference brochure and more information about the presenters are online. CME and CEU credits are available.

Target Technology Incubator Earns Excellence Award

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) honored the University of Maine Target Technology Incubator at the 12th annual New England Higher Education Excellence Awards celebration March 7 at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.

More than 400 people attended the event, including leaders of education, business and government from across the six New England states.

Located in the Target Technology Center in Orono, Maine, the Target Technology Incubator received NEBHE’s 2014 Maine State Merit Award. Target Technology Incubator is a partnership of the University of Maine, Bangor Area Target Development Corporation, the town of Orono, and the state of Maine. The incubator provides scalable innovation-based companies with access to resources they need to grow and attain long-term success within an environment that fosters businesses development, commercialization and successful management practices.

In the past year, which was marked by slow job recovery in the employment market, the incubator’s tenants and its affiliates created more than 15 new jobs.

“The connection between universities and technology development is a hallmark of New England’s economy,” said NEBHE President and CEO Michael Thomas. “Incubators like this one allow a great idea to become a real value-producing company.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745;

Williams Named Interim Director of CCA

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Daniel Williams of Orono has been appointed to serve a two-year term as interim executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts (CCA) at the University of Maine.

Williams replaces John Patches, the longtime director of the Collins Center, who retired Jan. 31.

The Collins Center for the Arts, home to the Hutchins Concert Hall and the Hudson Museum, opened in 1986. Today, it is one of the focal points of community engagement under the Blue Sky Plan, UMaine’s five-year strategic plan.

“Senior Vice President Janet Waldron and I are very pleased that Danny Williams has agreed to assume leadership of the Collins Center for the Arts,” says University of Maine President Paul Ferguson. “Danny has demonstrated remarkable leadership in diverse opportunities at UMaine and consistently brings excellent results. At this time, his leadership and experience are particularly important to the Collins Center for the Arts. Consistent with the Blue Sky Plan, the CCA is poised under his leadership to achieve its full potential, engaging Maine citizens and providing high-quality entertainment and education.”

Since 1986, Williams has been a member of the UMaine community, where he has served in leadership roles in marketing, fundraising, community outreach and the performing arts. Most recently, Williams was associate director of planned giving with the University of Maine Foundation. He is a faculty member in the School of Performing Arts and has served on the Collins Center for the Arts advisory board since 1993, chairing both the Special Events and Gala Committee, and the Community Relations and Outreach Committee.

The Bangor High School graduate received a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in higher education administration from UMaine in 1991 and 1994, respectively.

In addition, Williams served as president and director of development for the Eastern Maine Community College Foundation, director of annual and reunion giving for the University of Maine Alumni Association, and assistant to the dean for UMaine Enrollment Management. In 1998, he served one term as Maine state representative for District 122.

His honors include the UMaine Patrons of the Arts Vincent A. Hartgen Award in 2005.

“The arts are thriving at UMaine and in the Bangor region, and the Collins Center has an essential and exciting role to play, bringing together the campus, the community and world-class performers.” says Williams. “My commitment is to excellence at the CCA, and to seeing the center continue to expand its educational and cultural impact throughout the region and the state.”

Williams lives in Orono with his wife, State Sen. Emily Cain.

27th Expanding Your Horizons to Bring 500 Middle School Girls to UMaine March 13

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Five hundred middle school girls from across Maine are expected to participate in the 27th Expanding Your Horizons conference at the University of Maine on March 13.

The conference features workshops for students and teachers focused on introducing youth to careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. It is coordinated by the UMaine Women’s Resource Center and involves more than 100 volunteers, including university faculty, staff and upward of 40 UMaine students, as well as community professionals.

The activities for students begin at 9 a.m. in Hauck Auditorium with an introductory scientific presentation on traps and vernal pools. Throughout the day, groups of 20 girls will be guided by UMaine students and staff through three workshops. Two of the workshops are STEM-related, while the third focuses on gender equity and the importance of strong friendships.

Topics of the STEM-related workshops range from physics and chemistry to aquaculture and submarines. Throughout the day, girls will have opportunities to meet and hear stories from successful women working in science and math fields.

The gender equity workshop, led by UMaine student volunteers, is a discussion focused on gender dynamics and, this year, will be linked to the issue of cyberbullying.

Girls also will have the opportunity to explore the university campus. “A lot of times, these girls are just so excited to be on a college campus,” says Sharon Barker, director of the Women’s Resource Center. “Many of them may have never been here before, so one of the things we try to do is demystify and try to make them feel comfortable here.”

Teachers attending the conference will participate in a forum featuring a series of professional and educational development discussions in collaboration with the Maine Girls Collaborative Project. This forum, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Wells Conference Center, is open to the public. Registration fee is $20.

Teachers who attend this event will learn about model programs, available grant funds and how to obtain them, and resources available to them in Maine. Erika Allison of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education will offer a workshop with strategies for extending the impact of one-time events into successive learning experiences. Kay Stephens, co-author of the book “Cyberslammed,” will present on how to understand, prevent, combat, and transform the most common cyberbullying tactics.

To register for the teachers’ forum or request a disability accommodation, contact Sharon Barker at 207.581.1501.

More information about Expanding Your Horizons is online or available by contacting Sharon Barker, sbarker@maine.edu; 207.581.1501.

Schools EYH 2014
Brewer Community School, Brewer
Caravel Middle School, Carmel
Caribou  Middle & Limestone Community Schools, Caribou and Limestone
Central Aroostook Jr/Sr High School, Mars Hill
Dedham Middle School, Dedham
Ella Lewis-Pennisula, Prospect Harbor
Fort Fairfield Middle School, Fort Fairfield
Fort Kent Middle School, Fort Kent
Fort O’Brien, Machiasport
Greely Middle School, Cumberland Center
Helen S. Dunn School, Greenbush
Hermon Middle School, Hermon
Hichborn Middle School, Howland
Houlton High School, Houlton
Jonesboro Elementary School, Jonesboro
Lyman Moore Middle School, Portland
Mountain View School, Sullivan
Old Town Middle School, Old Town
Orono Middle School, Orono
Penquis Valley School, Milo
Presque Isle Middle School, Presque Isle
Rose Gaffney Elementary School, Machias
Seabasticook Valley, Newport
Surry Elementary, Surry
Trenton Elementary, Trenton

UMaine Nursing Students Head to Belize for Spring Break Medical Mission

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Seventeen University of Maine nursing students and one faculty member will travel to Belize on March 1 to help administer medical aid to villages throughout the province of San Ignacio during spring break.

On their medical mission trip, the students of the UMaine group Nursing International will bring 250 pounds of medical supplies, most of which was donated by the Partners for World Health.

After fundraising $2,000, the group purchased over-the-counter medications such as vitamins and ibuprofen to donate as part of their weeklong stay. Fundraising also helped pay for the extra luggage costs and gift bags the students plan to give children in the rural areas they will visit near the Guatemala border.

In Belize, the group will work with the local health ministries and International Service Learning. The students plan to blog about their experience.

This is the third year UMaine Nursing International students have traveled abroad on medical missions. The trip is open to all nursing majors. For three senior nursing students, this will be the second time they’ve visited Belize.

“I have freshmen through seniors doing the trip,” said Susan Wheaton, a School of Nursing lecturer and the faculty adviser traveling with the students to Belize. “It has required lots of team building. We need to have freshmen working with the seniors because they have not had the nursing training and assessment so early in their nursing academic career.”

Future missions for UMaine Nursing International are expected to include Cuba and Haiti. The group’s motto is “Healing is an International Language.”

Professor’s Protocol Documents Instructor, Student Behavior in Classroom

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

A University of Maine professor helped develop an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Michelle Smith, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology and a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, designed the classroom observation protocol with three researchers from the University of British Columbia.

Over a two-year period, Smith and her colleagues developed, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period.

“Many observation protocols ask observers to rate instructor quality, but the COPUS focuses on how students and instructors are spending the time,” says Smith.

The resulting data, which can be put into pie chart form, informs professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class. The information is valuable in light of research that indicates undergraduate college students learn more in courses with active-engagement instruction.

A total of 13 student behaviors are documented, including listening to instructor/taking notes, working in groups, answering a question with the rest of the class listening, and engaging in whole class discussion.

A total of 12 instructor behaviors are codified, include lecturing, asking a clicker question, listening to and answering student questions with class listening, guiding ongoing student work during active learning task, and one-on-one extended discussion with one or a few individuals.

Educators can use the information to better understand how they utilize classroom time, as well as identify possible professional development needs. Observation data can also be used to supplement faculty tenure/promotion documentation, Smith says.

Several Maine middle and high school teachers helped Smith and her colleagues test and modify the protocol. “The local teachers were enormously helpful,” says Smith. “They are very dedicated to partnering with UMaine to enhance the STEM education experience for all students.”

The researchers’ article, “The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): A New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education. The article was highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in the Feb. 7, 2014 edition of Science magazine.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

University Singers Tune Up for Spring Road Tour

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

During March, the University of Maine Singers will perform five free public concerts in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Dennis Cox, UMaine director of choral activities, will lead the 70-member select choir on its annual spring trip, which will also include daytime performances at elementary, middle and high schools.

The public portion of the tour debuts at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10, at First Baptist Church of Bar Harbor, Maine. Several Singers will be performing in and near their hometowns throughout the tour, including Katherine Parsons of Bar Harbor and Sarah Stanley of Southwest Harbor on opening night.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, the Singers perform at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine. Eleven Singers hail from the vicinity — Sierra Ventura and Sarah Bowen of Belfast, Rosaleen Erwin of Brunswick, Morgan Cates of Camden, Dana Douglass of Phippsburg, Kristen Alberts of South China, Alecia Griffin of Randolph, Greg Kritzman of Topsham, Paige Courtney of Somerville and Sara Phillips of Thorndike.

The concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, is at the First Parish Church of Christ in Saco, Maine, which is the hometown of Singers Olivia Bean, Philip Kolmar, Cain Landry, Forrest Tripp and Katherine Lees and close to Allen Prout’s hometown of Biddeford.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, the Singers perform at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton, N.H., hometown of member Robert Laraway and adjacent to Northfield, hometown of Victoria Eaton. The tour concludes with a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, March 14, at Lasell College in Newton, Mass. Singers who hail from nearby communities are Hope Milne of Hamilton, Rebecca Bylaska-Davies of Worcester and Stephanie Beatrice of Ashburnham.

Every four years, the Singers perform abroad; in 2012, the group sang in Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Auditions are held each fall for the Singers, nearly half of who pursue majors outside of music.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Art Education Students, Shaw House Team Up for Fundraising Project

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

University of Maine students in an advanced art education course are facilitating an art-making and fundraising project to aid the purchase of musical instruments for a Bangor organization that works with youth who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.

Students in Constant Albertson’s Topics in Art Education class are teaching teen Shaw House residents how to use art in a beneficial way. UMaine students are helping the youth make ceramic pins that will be sold for $5 at The Rock and Art Shop and Metropolitan Soul in downtown Bangor. All proceeds will go to the Shaw House to buy instruments for the many residents who take music lessons from the staff and volunteers.

The UMaine students involved in the art service learning project are Charlotte Gaylord, Julie Roach and Lowansa Sprague Tompkins. The goal of the future art teachers is to work collaboratively in the community to spread knowledge while inspiring creative, positive action.

Last year, students in the class created and sold ceramic mugs to support educational programs for children at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton, Maine.

$15,000 Grant to Put Three Remote-Control Quadcopters in Air at UMaine

Monday, February 24th, 2014

A new Maine Space Grant from NASA will put three 12-inch-square, remote-control quadcopters in the air on the University of Maine campus and in open fields in the area beginning this spring.

The $15,000, one-year grant awarded to UMaine professors Charles Hess and Sam Hess will involve undergraduate students. The goal of the grant is to increase student involvement in technology, providing hands-on experience in developing heat sensors and other innovations for environmental monitoring, including temperature gradation.

The students also will learn to fly the lightweight quadcopters, which have four small rotors, can carry payloads of up to 300 grams and remain airborne for up to 20 minutes.

UMaine Researchers Studying Commercial Thinning Methods on Regenerating Clearcuts

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

University of Maine researchers are studying the most efficient way to commercially thin regenerating clearcuts from the spruce budworm outbreak of the 1980s that are starting to reach profitable size throughout northern Maine. With no consensus among foresters and those in the logging industry about how best to thin stands, the researchers are investigating commercial thinning treatments that are silviculturally effective.

Jeffrey Benjamin, associate professor of forest operations, and Robert Seymour, the Curtis Hutchins Professor of Forest Resources, teamed with Emily Meacham, now with American Forest Management, and Jeremy Wilson, executive director of the Harris Center for Conservation Education, to compare thinning methods.

In the team’s recent study, they compared two whole-tree and two cut-to-length systems in terms of residual stem damage, retention of downed woody material, product utilization and production cost. While initial results were mixed in terms of residual stand damage, more than four times more biomass was produced from the whole-tree operations. The study also found commercially available equipment can conduct these treatments with skilled operators, but at a high production cost. The best system silviculturally was also the most expensive.

The researchers say efforts to develop cost-efficient harvesting machines to treat the stands should continue. No matter what technological advances are made, logging contractors carry the biggest responsibility for success because they need to balance residual stem damage and crop tree selection with production costs, according to the researchers.

Details of the study were published in the December 2013 issue of the Society of American Foresters’ Northern Journal of Applied Forestry.