The latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources” cites several University of Maine projects related to Maine’s potato harvest and quotes Andrew Plant, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Aroostook County. Plant said The County’s nutrient-rich Caribou soil and climate — warm days and cool nights — offer ideal growing conditions for potatoes. The blog also states UMaine’s Potato Breeding Program is close to releasing seeds for new potato varieties to the public and researchers at the USDA’s New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Lab at UMaine have been evaluating how cover crops, rotation schedules, soil amendments and irrigation affect potato crop production and yield.
The University of Maine’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Program has announced the recipients of the 2013 Maryann Hartman Award, an annual recognition of women whose work inspires others and raises awareness of contemporary women’s accomplishments.
The 28th annual Maryann Hartman Award ceremony will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the University of Maine Buchanan Alumni House. The event is free and open to the public.
To register by Oct. 18, request further information or to inquire about disability accommodations, email Mazie Hough at email@example.com or call the office of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Program at 207.581.1228 between 8 a.m. and noon.
This year’s Hartman Award recipients are Christine Hastedt of Freeport for the many years and ways she has worked to improve the lives of low-income Mainers; Elizabeth McCue-Herlihy of Old Town for her work helping low-income students overcome barriers to find success in higher education; and Terry Moore of Stetson, an Air Force retiree, for her commitment to “after-the-uniform” advocacy, especially the problem of sexual harassment.
Erin Williams of Fort Fairfield will receive the Young Women’s Social Justice Award for leadership in her high school to solve civil rights issues, including exclusion, partner violence and bullying.
The awards are named for the late Maryann Hartman, an associate professor of speech communication at UMaine, feminist, scholar and humanist.
The St. John Valley Times previewed the “Dear Darwin” concert at the University of Maine at Fort Kent performed by UMaine Music Department members Nancy Ellen Ogle and Ginger Yang Hwale. The show is a set of 26 songs composed by Scott Brickman, UMFK music professor, and set to poetry by Kathleen Ellis, a University of Maine English faculty member, and accompanied by visual images by Susan Groce, UMaine art professor.
A new University of Maine training program for graduate students in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is expected to reduce the cost of providing speech therapy services, while reaching out to underserved children and adults in rural areas throughout Maine — or around the world.
The university’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department has developed a Web-based speech therapy telepractice training program to give graduate students the competencies that are revolutionizing the delivery of health care worldwide. It is now accepting speech therapy clients who would benefit from the remote access of telepractice.
“We have created one of the first nationwide speech therapy telepractice training programs,” says Judy Walker, a UMaine CSD associate professor who developed the program in collaboration with colleagues in the Speech Therapy Department at Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) in Belfast.
The UMaine program is one of only a few programs in the country that offers speech therapy telepractice training at the college level in an emerging service model for delivering health care through evolving technologies. Speech therapy telepractice involves almost no travel expense and expands the reach of therapy services to more people in Maine, where an overabundance of people in need of speech therapy is compounded by a severe shortage of speech therapists, Walker says.
“Telepractice is not only efficient in reaching people, but also cost-effective,” Walker says.
Nationally, at least one study estimates that telemedicine services provided via broadband Internet would save $700 billion nationally over the next 15 to 20 years, according to Walker.
The program uses a secure, password-protected Web-based platform that allows virtual face-to-face therapy between service providers and clients. Clients can be assisted by designated “e-Helpers” — family, friends or caregivers — according to Walker. All that is needed is a computer with a webcam and broadband Internet access, located in a private setting, such as a home, school, clinic or community center.
“In addition to overcoming barriers such as geography, weather and transportation, we can also bring in family members and caregivers to participate in the therapy from their own computers in any location,” Walker says. “With this service delivery model, anyone involved in a child’s or adult’s therapy program can actually view or participate in the session, regardless of where they are,” Walker says.
The UMaine graduate training program in speech therapy telepractice, based in the Madelyn E. and Albert D. Conley Speech, Language and Hearing Center in Dunn Hall, complies with American Speech-Language-Hearing Association guidelines for demonstrating competencies and skills in speech telepractice services, which standardizes the training of the UMaine graduates.
That’s important, according to WCGH Speech Therapy Department Director Michael Towey, who oversees the hospital’s 5-year-old speech therapy telepractice, on which the UMaine program is modeled. Competency standards have not been well defined nationally, says Towey, a UMaine alumnus and adjunct CSD faculty member assisting the university with its telepractice training curriculum.
Industry credentials reassure clients that telepractice therapists are competent, he says. Towey says the UMaine speech therapy telepractice training program is among the first to establish training standards for therapists at the college level.
Waldo County General Hospital’s speech telepractice program is provided by staff professionals, who have served people from Canada to Russia and Taiwan, in addition to more that 40 Maine communities between Kittery and Fort Kent. It is one of only a handful of speech therapy programs in the country with Training Program Accreditation from the American Telemedicine Association, according to Towey, and the only one that allows therapists to work with clients in home settings rather than at designated clinics, he says.
Walker along with Casey Monnier, a CSD staff speech pathologist and lecturer, and WCGH staff offered the first telepractice training class in August 2012 to 10 CSD graduate students, including Taylor Rodgers of Standish and Janet Ciejka of Brunswick. Following the class, Rodgers and Ciejka applied their new skills in two semesters of clinical practicum providing telepractice speech therapy to clients under the supervision of Walker and Monnier. A new cohort of 12 CSD graduate students are currently in a telepractice training class this month and will be involved in applying their new telepractice skills in clinical practicum during the next school year.
Prior to graduation, Rodgers had been providing speech therapy to a woman from southern Maine, who as the result of a stroke in April 2012, had difficulty finding the words to communicate with her family for much of the spring and summer. Speech therapy telepractice sessions began in the fall 2012, involving one adult daughter videoconferencing from Rhode Island, another daughter at her mother’s side in southern Maine, and Walker and Rodgers in Orono. Now, the woman can retrieve many nouns and other words (verbally or in writing using e-Tools) as Rodgers displayed digital materials that are unique to this client on the computer screen where all participants can see- bread, rice cakes, butter or milk, for example.
Therapy by videoconference is working better than the daughters expected, they say. Their mother is progressing faster as a result of more frequent therapy sessions and outside practice of activities involving the daughters and their mother between online sessions with Rodgers and Walker.
“I had a telephone conversation with my mother last week and I understood everything she was trying to say,” the southern Maine daughter says of her mother.
Therapy at home also ended a “convoluted and complicated” transportation problem when her mother was visiting a therapy clinic, says one daughter, a nurse.
“I was driving her to therapy two and three times a week, and we had to arrange transportation. I felt I was losing touch because I wasn’t there for all the sessions,” she recalls. It was worse for the daughter in Rhode Island, a school bus driver who can now participate in therapy sessions with her mother between her shifts at work. “Being so far away, I feel so much more involved now,” she says.
For the mother’s part, starting telepractice speech therapy “was wonderful,” she says. “It’s helping me.”
Rodgers, who recently received a master’s degree, is convinced the new telepractice skills will give UMaine speech-language pathologists an edge in the job market.
“I think it’s a really exciting opportunity the University of Maine makes available to us,” Rodgers says. “I have friends in speech pathology at other universities and they really don’t have anything like this, and this seems to be the future direction of speech pathology.”
The University of Maine, Madelyn E. and Albert D. Conley Speech, Language and Hearing Center is accepting new clients for speech therapy telepractice services this summer and fall. Telepractice is covered by many insurance plans, including MaineCare. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Conley Speech, Language and Hearing Center, 207.581.2006, or visit the telepractice website.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced Spencer Hathaway of Turner, Maine, as the 2013 valedictorian and Lindsay LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, as the salutatorian.
“Spencer and Lindsay represent the very best of our outstanding UMaine students — both for their outstanding academic success, but for their dedicated service to the campus and community as well,” Ferguson says. “We are extremely proud of their achievement.”
Both will be honored at UMaine’s 211th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 11.
Hathaway will receive two bachelor’s degrees — economics and business administration in accounting. LaJoie will receive a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition.
Both were 2009 valedictorians at their high schools and received the University of Maine Top Scholar Award.
Hathaway has accepted an auditing position in the Portland, Maine-based accounting firm Baker Newman Noyes, and plans to be a CPA. LaJoie has a dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston this fall. She plans to pursue a career as a clinical dietitian.
Hathaway, a graduate of Leavitt Area High School, received a number of other awards, including the Class of 1945 Scholarship and, most recently, the Maine Business School Excellence in Accounting Award.
Last summer, Hathaway interned with Baker Newman Noyes, doing tax and audit work to help companies prepare their financial statements. In summer 2011, he was a project manager on the statewide waste composition research project, led by UMaine Professor of Economics George Criner in conjunction with the State Planning Office. Also that summer, Hathaway was an intern in the Farm Credit Fellowship Program, working with loan officers in Presque Isle.
For two years, Hathaway was a peer tutor with Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, teaching accounting and economics, and mentoring in the Maine Business School’s accounting lab. He also was involved with UMaine’s Knowledge Transfer Alliance, helping small businesses set up or revamp their accounting systems using QuickBooks software.
“Early on, I knew I wanted to get into the business world,” says Hathaway. “Then I took my first accounting class and really enjoyed finding the nuances of how the accounting world fit into the business world. Economics? I had no idea what it meant before I came here, but I discovered all of the different questions you can answer with an economics mindset. Economics is more than just money.”
Hathaway says he chose UMaine because it is close to home in the state he loves. The university is also affordable and has a great reputation, he says.
“The University of Maine has made all the difference,” Hathaway says. “People here are so inviting. If you want to do something, they help you do it.”
LaJoie, a graduate of Van Buren District Secondary School, received numerous awards, including the Frank B. and Charles S. Bickford Prize, and the Edward and Grace Cutting Award. She also minored in child development and family relations.
For two years, she worked as a student research assistant in the laboratory of Adrienne White, professor of human nutrition, where LaJoie was involved in two multistate research projects. The first, “Young Adults Eating and Active for Health,” was led by UMaine graduate student Jennifer Walsh, and LaJoie collected health-related data on 18- to 24-year-olds to understand the potential for behavior changes for improved health, including weight management. The second project, called iCook 4-H, led by graduate student Douglas Mathews, is a five-state study of a childhood obesity prevention program.
LaJoie is a nutrition services volunteer at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Last summer, she interned with St. Apollonia Dental Clinic in Presque Isle and, in 2010, was a dietary aide at Borderview Rehabilitation and Living Center in Van Buren.
On campus, LaJoie is president of All Maine Women Honor Society and Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. She is also an active member of the Nutrition Club, through which she has volunteered at such community organizations as Manna Ministries, the YMCA and the Ronald McDonald House.
In her sophomore and junior years, LaJoie also was involved in UMaine’s Alternative Breaks, traveling to El Paso, Texas to volunteer with a child crisis center, and to West Milford, N.J., to volunteer at Camp Vacamas, a camp that serves at-risk youth.
“I’ve always been interested in health care,” LaJoie says. “I was fascinated to learn that what we eat plays a huge role in overall health and wellness. Through taking classes, my interest has grown in the field of nutrition. It’s very up-and-coming.”
LaJoie says she chose UMaine because of its proximity to her family and the beauty of the campus.
“There’s just something about the buildings and the atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in a special place,” she says. “The faculty and administration emphasize the value of education, making me as a student value my education.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Dozens of University of Maine students are headed to Honduras, Belize, Florida, the Grand Canyon and New Orleans and other places over spring break, March 4–15, to build houses and a sewage system, clean up parks, deliver health care services to the poor, and help out in rural schools and orphanages.
In the last few months, students from varied academic disciplines have been raising tens of thousands of dollars for travel and living expenses during their service-learning and volunteer projects in the U.S. and Central America. Some leaving Maine for the first time will immerse themselves in diverse cultural and philanthropic adventures while making a difference in the quality of life for the people they will serve.
“I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to make an impact in the lives of people in need,” says Gwen Beacham, a molecular and cellular biology major from Farmington, Maine. She is heading March 2 to the outskirts of Dulce Nombre in western Honduras with the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She and four other students, an interpreter, a faculty adviser and a private-sector engineering consultant will spend two weeks finishing a new sewer collection and sanitation system that UMaine student engineers designed and helped build. They’ll also teach the 120 villagers in Dulce Vivir how to operate it.
Beacham, who has never been outside the United States or Canada, isn’t sure what to expect on her first “real” travel experience, she says.
“I can imagine that I will return to Maine with such different eyes,” she says. “I am excited that I am actually able to do something to help, and I especially love that this project is so collaborative, as the community members have played a major role in the implementation of the system. Not only is this more sustainable, but it ensures that our effort is being put into a project that the community wants.”
UMaine’s Engineers Without Borders has won several honors, including a $25,000 award last year from the Newman’s Own Foundation for its work in Dulce Vivir, which started in 2008. The project will help villagers struggling with poor sanitation and overflowing latrines during the rainy season, which contaminates water supplies.
“This project provides valuable lessons in the field of engineering, while allowing me to participate in a humanitarian, life-changing experience,” says Logan Good, a mechanical engineering major from Presque Isle.
Meanwhile, 13 UMaine School of Nursing students in the UMaine Nursing International organization have partnered with International Service Learning to offer medical assistance in rural clinics in San Ignacio, Cayo District of Belize. Accompanied by Nilda Cravens, School of Nursing faculty member, they’ll work over the break with physicians providing health care to underprivileged families and children.
The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and UMaine Alternative Break also are organizing dozens of students planning spring break trips in the United States, says Andrea Gifford, assistant dean of students for Student Affairs and director of student and administrative support services. The students will partner with a variety of national organizations to help children victimized by domestic abuse in Virginia; improve housing conditions for low-income families in the coal-camp communities of West Virginia; assisting at a rescue camp for neglected and abused animals in Pennsylvania; provide respite in Florida for vacationing families of children with terminal illnesses; and help with disaster relief and rebuilding homes in New Orleans.
The Bodwell Center also is overseeing student volunteer trips to help with maintenance and trail restoration in the Grand Canyon in Arizona and in the Moody Forest Natural Area in Georgia.
Aaron Cyr, a Bangor native and senior nursing student making his second trip to Belize, says his trip last year was a startling introduction to poverty that many Americans can’t imagine unless they experience it firsthand.
“Things such as clean running water, the availability of limitless amounts of food and small things such as heat or air conditioning, that we take for granted every day,” he says. “I am being given the opportunity to positively affect countless lives for the better.”
Gwen Beacham agrees. “I believe that becoming aware of the different ways people live will lead to positive personal growth and development, and I’m sure I will realize how lucky I am to have some things I have always taken for granted,” she says.
Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756
The University of Maine will video stream on Oct. 18 a series of free workshops featuring international companies working to develop and lessen the cost of hydrogen as an alternative fuel. UMaine professor of mechanical engineering technology David Dvorak, who works with the UMaine Forest Biofuel Research Institute on fuel cell applications in the pulp and paper industry, is coordinating UMaine’s participation.
Representatives from eight companies in the United Kingdom, Canada and United States will discuss their research and the future of hydrogen, a clean alternative to traditional fossil fuels for the automotive industry and heat, power, cooling and fuel production systems for buildings, industrial applications and utility power supplies.
The public and Maine business representatives are invited to attend any of or all four hour-long workshops planned simultaneously from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The sites are the UMaine Target Technology Center on Godfrey Road in Orono and 118 Boardman Hall on the Orono campus. The workshops will also be streamed at the Wishcamper Center Atrium and Auditorium at the University of Southern Maine; Room 162L at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College; and Pullen Hall at the University of Maine Presque Isle.
Discussions will be particularly relevant to Maine’s energy issues, according to the event’s chief organizer, the Portland, Maine-based Hydrogen Energy Center (HEC). HEC is a nonprofit organization run by industry volunteers interested in seeing hydrogen energy correct the problems of dirty air, climate disruption, world conflicts and poverty, which have been caused by the world’s fossil fuel economy, the organization says.
The workshops will explore the status of hydrogen fuel cell development and its advancing technology. For more information, including a session schedule, contact the Hydrogen Energy Center at (207) 233-1273, email Gary@HydrogenEnergyCenter.org or visit the HEC website.
Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756