Archive for the ‘County’ Category

UMaine, Maine Development Foundation Release Report on Fiscal Return on Higher Education

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

On May 8, the Maine Development Foundation and the University of Maine’s School of Economics released the third quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine.

The latest report, “The Fiscal Return on Higher Education in Maine,” looks at the state benefits of greater educational attainment, such as increased tax revenue and reduced social costs. Philip Trostel, a UMaine professor of economics and public policy, wrote the report that determined each bachelor’s degree in Maine generates a benefit to Maine taxpayers of approximately $74,600 in present value over the course of a lifetime.

Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy, is overseeing the series of reports that further explore the economic indicators in “Measures of Growth in Focus,” an annual report issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council.

The Maine Development Foundation news release and the full report are online.

UMaine Offshore Wind Project Selected as DOE Alternate

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Today the U.S. Department of Energy announced the selection of finalists for the next phase of its Advanced Technology Demonstration Program. The University of Maine’s offshore wind project known as New England Aqua Ventus was selected fourth and is an alternate.

Three of the six projects, all of which are at 50 percent completion, were awarded full grants to move to the next stage, which includes the completion to 100 percent design and engineering.

The DOE noted that Maine’s VolturnUS technology, which currently is successfully in use on a pilot scale near Castine, was highly favorable and innovative, and “with additional engineering and design, will further enhance the properties of American offshore wind technology options.” The DOE has indicated it will continue to work with UMaine to advance the design to deployment readiness.

UMaine’s New England Aqua Ventus project will remain an alternate for the DOE Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, should additional federal funding become available.

In the coming year, UMaine will use the DOE funding to complete the R&D and to consider the path forward, according to Jake Ward, University of Maine Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development.

“The University of Maine remains enthusiastic about the opportunities from the VolturnUS technology to tap into the largest sources of renewable energy in Maine,” Ward says. ”The winds in the Gulf of Maine are still there. The need for economical, environmentally sustainable renewable energy that can create local and U.S. jobs is still an important goal for Maine and the United States. The extensive work that the UMaine lead team has completed is very important to meeting these goals.”

Contact: Jennifer O’Leary, 207.515.3341

Aroostook County Middle School Girls Visit UMaine to Learn About Engineering, Animal Science

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Students, teachers and parents from Fort Fairfield and Central Aroostook middle schools will visit the University of Maine on Tuesday, May 6 to take part in a daylong event that makes connections between engineering and animal science.

The event, which is a makeup session for some schools that were registered for this year’s Expanding Your Horizons conference that was canceled due to weather, is hosted by the Women’s Resource Center on campus as part of the Maine Girls Collaborative Project (MGCP). MGCP is a member of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) that aims to support educators and organizations working to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Throughout the day, more than 30 students will be introduced to a variety of engineering careers in nontraditional ways, such as how engineering can be related to working with horses.

Participants will start the day at Witter Farm where Robert Causey, an associate professor of animal and veterinary sciences, and Elizabeth Carpenter, a dairy herdsperson for UMaine farms, will speak about UMaine’s work with retired race horses that live at the farm. The horses are cared for by UMaine animal science majors. A companion program uses the dynamics studied in engineering to assess the safety of racetracks. The program is an example of an emerging career field in the intersection between biological sciences and engineering. While at the farm, students will participate in workshops on anatomy and forces/dynamics, and be able to meet the animal science majors and horses.

Other activities planned include a gender equity workshop at the Women’s Resource Center, tours at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and a hands-on robotics workshop.

Students from Greely Middle School in Cumberland participated in a similar event on May 2.

UMaine Names 2014 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Monday, April 21st, 2014

University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced the 2014 valedictorian, Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and salutatorian Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass.

Both will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 212th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 10.

“Sierra and Jenn personify the best of the University of Maine undergraduate experience in their academic excellence, community engagement, and dedication to research and scholarship,” says President Ferguson. “We are proud of their achievements and their leadership in the UMaine community.”

VenturaVentura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been active in UMaine’s chapter of the National Association of Music Education, including two years as treasurer, and she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her leadership roles on campus include serving as assistant conductor of the University of Maine Singers and of Euphony, the Orono-based chamber choir, both in 2013–14. The previous year, Ventura was the assistant accompanist of Collegiate Chorale.

Ventura also was a member of other musical ensembles in the UMaine School of Performing Arts, including Opera Workshop, Concert Band and Athena Consort, and she worked on the technical and events crews. Since 2009, she has had her own business, S.J. Ventura Music Instruction, teaching 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Ventura plans to pursue a graduate degree in music education at the University of Maine.

“UMaine has helped me shape my pursuits in the music education field,” Ventura says. “UMaine has also provided me the opportunity to connect with many veteran teachers and other professionals in my field throughout my undergraduate career, as well as give me tools to become a better private music teacher for my students. During my undergraduate career, I was also blessed to have met my fiancé during my time in University Singers.”

ChalmersChalmers will receive two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She has majored in English and history, with minors in education and Spanish, and received highest honors for her honors thesis, a historical and literary research project, entitled “Teaching Literature in America: Demonstrating Relevance in the Early Cold War (1945–1963).”

Chalmers is a member of multiple honor societies, including All Maine Women, Sophomore Eagles and Phi Beta Kappa. The UMaine Presidential Scholar Award recipient received Roger B. Hill Scholarships in both history and English, and the Ellis Prize in English. She also received a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

While at UMaine, Chalmers had two internships that advanced her professional writing skills. She was a human resources intern with the Massachusetts State Police in Framingham, Mass., and an English editorial intern with Pearson Higher Education in Boston, Mass. She was a journalist for the Maine Journal and a tutor for UMaine’s Writing Center. In addition, Chalmers was a student supervisor for Black Bear Dining concessions and a clarinetist in the UMaine Symphonic and Pep bands. Her community service activities included volunteering, serving as a note taker for UMaine Disability Support Services, and being involved in Autism at UMaine and the History Club.

“Since the moment I first visited UMaine, I have always felt at home,” Chalmers says. “I’m particularly appreciative of the way my professors have been so willing to help me achieve my goals and have always been on the lookout for opportunities that might be beneficial for me. I also really appreciate the wealth of opportunities that UMaine has provided outside the classroom. I have had so many opportunities to join organizations that I genuinely care about, gain leadership experience and make lasting friendships. My coursework, jobs and activities at UMaine have provided me with the experience that I have needed to get scholarships, internships and jobs, both inside and outside UMaine. The people, the organizations, and the generally encouraging atmosphere at UMaine have been invaluable to my personal, professional and intellectual growth during college, and I know that taking advantage of the opportunities that UMaine has to offer has allowed and prepared me to achieve my goals.”

Chalmers has accepted a position with Teach for America. For the next two years, she will teach secondary special education English in southern New Jersey and then will pursue graduate school.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Study to Focus on What the Public Wants in Outdoor Recreation

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, assistant professor of nature-based tourism, and John Daigle, associate professor of forest recreation management, have received a $34,499 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for the study: “How Well Are We Serving the Outdoor Recreation Public?” The purpose of this study is to investigate perspectives on outdoor recreation preferences and priorities, and perceptions on tourism development to help the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and other outdoor recreation managers to better understand current demand and improve decision-making. An online survey will be used to test conventional wisdom and open up new thinking regarding what the public wants and how they can best be served. In addition, study participants will be asked questions about their attitudes and beliefs about developing sustainable tourism in their communities. Data collected will be used to develop the 2015–20 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The plan requires that an analysis of outdoor recreation demand, supply, trends, and ultimately priorities be documented.

Research Objectives:

  • Generate new baseline data to inform the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands about what the recreation preferences and needs are for people who live in or visit Maine including basic background demographic data.
  • Identify the factors that influence outdoor recreation participation behavior, including identification of needs, opportunities, and constraints associated with outdoor recreation in Maine.
  • Determine how Maine State Parks are used and what can be done to improve the experiences and services they provide.
  • Determine the differences between perceptions from people who participate in outdoor recreation activities in Maine and a general population of Maine residents.
  • Measure Maine residents’ attitudes toward sustainable tourism and development.

The survey population for this study seeks to entice responses from both the general residents of Maine as well as nonresidents who have recreated in Maine and have paid some type of recreation fee for fishing, hunting, camping reservations, etc.

While the data collected on recreational preferences and behaviors will benefit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the questions related to sustainable tourism will have new scientific significance. Questions on sustainable tourism will utilize an attempt to revalidate the Sustainable Tourism Attitude Scale, a published psychometric instrument that has not yet been implemented on a statewide scale.

UMaine, O’Brien Medical Collaboration Results in Patented Device

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

O’Brien Medical announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Electronic Tuning Fork, or ETF. The device offers a significant improvement over current methods used by doctors to detect diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common precursor to diabetic limb loss.

The development of the ETF was made possible through a collaboration with Dr. Todd O’Brien, president and founder of O’Brien Medical, and the University of Maine.

More than five years ago, O’Brien approached UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for help developing a proof-of-concept ETF, and then worked with Bruce Segee of UMaine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to develop the beta and commercial versions of the device.

Segee calls the project a perfect example of how the university can help grow the Maine economy.

A Maine electronics manufacturer has been selected to produce the ETF, and O’Brien expects the device will be available for purchase in late 2014.

The full news release is available online.

UMaine, Ward to be Featured in ‘State of the State’ TV Program

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s television show, “State of the State.” The weekly talk show focuses on Maine issues and is hosted by MECEP staff. The new episode will focus on research and development and will look at the university’s role in the growth of two Maine companies — Acadia Harvest and Kenway Corp. The episode will air on Time Warner Cable’s Channel 9 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17 and Thursday, April 24. A podcast of the full program also will be available on MECEP’s website. More information about the upcoming show can be found on the MECEP blog.

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 10-session Master Food Preserver training program starting June 19 and ending Sept. 25. Lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab education will be conducted 10 Thursdays, 5:30–8:30 p.m., at Gorham Middle School, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

A Master Food Preserver is a UMaine Extension volunteer who has successfully completed the practical, research-based program on food safety and preservation. Volunteers agree to give back 20 hours of time for community-based projects within a year. Projects could include hands-on food preservation workshops, staffing educational displays and demonstrations and providing information at farmers markets, county fairs and other food-related events.

May 2 is the deadline to apply. Fees are on a sliding scale, from $125 to $330, based on household income. To request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). For more information, contact Kathleen Savoie, Extension Educator, 207.781.6099, ksavoie@maine.edu.

Applications are available online.

Industry Collaboration

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board announced the creation of two new potato varieties — the Easton and the Sebec — that were developed over the past several growing seasons. The varieties are targeted at the french fry and potato chip industries.

“The University of Maine has the research and development capability and commitment for developing new potato varieties, from the lab to the field, which takes years. They understand what the growers and the industry are looking for and need. We, in turn, as a board, have the capacity to promote the varieties and maintain the quality of seed certification required for the integrity of the variety and the market. We are already fielding questions from growers around the country, as well as in Maine. Both of these new potato varieties are very promising. This type of result is what makes this partnership truly advantageous for the future of our industry.”
— Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board

Reaching Across the State to Support Maine’s Agriculture Sector

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

With facilities in Orono, experiment stations throughout the state and University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff in every county, the University of Maine is uniquely positioned to support and expand Maine’s agricultural opportunities. Perhaps one of the strongest examples is the development and expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry sector. Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro is the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation. Research and development at the farm, together with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits, have been a driving factor in the recent expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. The majority of this effort is performed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Similar activity supports the Maine potato sector, as well as other crops produced in the state.

“Thanks to comprehensive crop production research and development based at the University of Maine, Maine’s Wild Blueberry growers are leaders in the development and adaptation of knowledge-based cropping systems. Maine is the largest producer of Wild Blueberries in the world. Our five-year average is now over 85 million pounds.”
— Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine