The Weekly published a feature article on University of Maine students and siblings Emily and Jared Duggan who are volunteers in UMaine’s Black Bear Mentor Program offered through the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism. The Duggans are two of more than 80 UMaine students who are currently participating in the program. The Black Bear Mentors meet with local third- to eighth-grade students once a week and work with students on activities such as sports, arts and crafts, homework, board games, and community service projects.
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Faculty and graduate students in the University of Maine’s History Department will offer an informal History Lab to provide one-on-one support for students, teachers and parents who are working on a National History Day (NHD) research project.
The drop-in History Lab will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5 in the computer classroom on the first floor of UMaine’s Fogler Library. Faculty and graduate students also will be available to talk about historical research, local resources and current developments in historical scholarship. Anyone interested in history — whether local, regional, national or global — is welcome to attend.
National History Day (NHD) is an academic program and competition for students in grades 6–12 that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 500,000 students, working with thousand of teachers, annually participate in the national contest.
Students choose historical topics related to a theme — this year it’s “Rights and Responsibilities in History” — and conduct extensive research before creating projects in the form of exhibits, documentaries, dramatic performances, papers and websites, to present at the statewide competition. The projects are evaluated by professional historians and educators.
A new partnership between UMaine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library will bring the Maine National History Day competition to the university campus Saturday, April 12, for the first time since the national program began in 1980. Winners from the state competitions are then able to compete in the national contest in Washington, D.C. during June 2014.
For more information about the History Lab, including how to obtain a campus parking permit and request a disability accommodation, email Liam Riordan, associate professor of history at UMaine, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 28 is the registration deadline for schools and/or students to compete at Maine National History Day. Registration is available online. More information about Maine National History Day is available on the UMaine website and on Facebook.
Every Monday afternoon Jared Duggan, an accounting major at the University of Maine, heads to Leonard Middle School in Old Town to meet one of his close friends — a sixth-grader named Matt.
When Jared arrives, the two head outside to play basketball, even though it’s winter. It’s the pair’s normal routine, regardless of the weather.
Meanwhile at the Old Town Recreation Department, Jared’s sister Emily Duggan, an elementary education major at UMaine, sits with Keely, a fifth-grader. They’re making friendship bracelets while they talk about friends and school.
This is the second year the Duggans of Buxton, Maine, have participated in UMaine’s Black Bear Mentor Program. The program is offered through the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and is run by an AmeriCorps VISTA. More than 80 UMaine students are currently participating, making the program’s 11th year the largest.
The Black Bear Mentors meet with third- to eighth-grade students once a week after school at Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford, Old Town Elementary School, Leonard Middle School in Old Town and the Old Town Recreation Department. The mentors work with students on activities such as sports, arts and crafts, homework, board games and community service projects.
“I think the end goal is to try to get the students interested in pursuing education,” Jared, who is in his junior year at UMaine, says of the program. “We know what we’ve done to get to college so we can pass that on to kids to try to get them to have the same habits so they can hopefully go to college, too.”
The siblings, who live together, joined the program at the same time last year.
“Jared and I have always gotten along really well because we are the only two children in our family and because we’re so close in age. We don’t argue very often but when we do, we usually get over it pretty quickly,” Emily says, adding she and her brother also like attending UMaine hockey and basketball games together.
Emily, a UMaine sophomore, says she decided to become a mentor because she has always enjoyed working with children and wants to be a teacher. The Duggans also both worked as recreation counselors during the summer in their hometown. Jared, who was working as an RA at the time he joined the program, also decided being able to work with kids during the school year would be rewarding.
“It’s the first thing I look forward to in the week because you just go and hang out with a kid and spread your wisdom,” Jared says.
Black Bear Mentors, who come from a variety of majors, are interviewed and undergo background checks before training begins. They are paired with a student based on similar interests and mentor them in weekly 90-minute sessions for the entire academic year.
Returning mentors, such as the Duggans, have the option to mentor the same child for multiple years — if the child also wants the same mentor. Both Emily and Jared are now on the second year of mentoring the students they were originally paired with.
“When I first met Keely she was pretty shy — I’m shy, too — so we were pretty similar. But now she talks all the time and asks me for advice, which is cool,” Emily says.
She says offering advice to Keely has helped both of them open up and has helped her learn how to solve problems and give the best advice without being involved. The pair also likes to spend time doing homework, playing board games or making arts and crafts. Jared and Matt, on the other hand, spend most of their time outdoors throwing a football or playing basketball.
“Matt really likes to play sports, so everyday we go outside — even in the winter,” Jared says. “While we’re outside, we’ll play with the other kids to work on teamwork. I also push him to do homework so he can play sports for school teams.”
Jared says Matt was outgoing from the moment they met and the two bonded quickly, becoming fast friends. Since Jared has known Matt, he has become more comfortable sharing personal stories.
The Duggans, who would recommend the program to UMaine students, agree the best part of being involved in the program has been reuniting with their student for the first time after summer break and seeing the excitement on their face.
“It was like we didn’t even have the summer break. He was really excited to see me, and we picked up right where we left off. We went right back outside again. It was pretty cool to see that nothing had really changed,” Jared says.
He adds the experience was the same for all the returning mentors.
“The kids just run right to their mentors. You can tell how much they mean to the kids,” he says.
Emily says she knows Keely enjoys taking part in the program by the reactions she gets from other students when she visits.
“I imagine she tells her friends about it because when I go to Old Town Rec, they always say, ‘Oh, you’re Keely’s mentor.’ They all want a mentor,” she says.
In November, the Black Bear Mentors hosted the elementary- and middle-school students for the group’s annual scavenger hunt on the UMaine campus.
“It wasn’t a typical scavenger hunt,” Emily says. “The goal was to show them places on campus and see what they’re interested in.”
The group plans to have the students visit again to do activities such as rock climbing or touring the football field.
“I’m excited for them to come back,” Jared says. “It’s always fun when they’re on the campus.”
The Bangor Daily News published a feature article on Roosevelt Boone, a former University of Maine football player and current graduate student pursuing master’s degrees in kinesiology and physical education as well as human development. Boone is the co-founder of Strong Mind-Strong Body Inc., a nonprofit organization that sponsors free programs that promote physical education, wellness and nutrition for children ages 10–17. Boone, who co-founded the organization with his mother, has run three summer camps at UMaine and has traveled to Ghana twice to share his knowledge with less fortunate children. GHANAsoccernet and Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
Patrick Hapworth, an athletic training major at the University of Maine, was featured in a Bangor Daily News article and series of photos about him and his gymnastics hobby. Hapworth, a former high school wrestler, said he became interested in gymnastics after he saw a wrestler from a competing school celebrate a state title by doing a backflip. He then taught himself gymnastics by watching YouTube videos.
University of Maine graduate students in the College of Education and Human Development teamed up with Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC) to develop and implement support for the pre-technical program.
TCTC offers 10 career and technical programs to high school students from six schools in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties. The pre-technical program serves students facing challenges in traditional educational settings, offering such fields as culinary arts, metal manufacturing and automotive technology.
In a study of TCTC’s pre-technical programming, UMaine Human Development graduate students enrolled in HUD 553: Program Planning and Evaluation identified understaffing and insufficient funding as the primary challenges to expanding the center’s sustainable agriculture efforts. In the UMaine course, taught by adjunct instructor and TCTC Student Services Coordinator Brian Welsh, the graduate students worked with TCTC staff and administration to develop a recruitment and selection process for field placements, resulting in two students interning with the pre-tech program, and helped secure $6,500 in funding through Lowe’s/Skills USA to build a greenhouse this spring to expand the sustainable energy program.
WABI (Channel 5) interviewed Sandra Caron, a University of Maine professor of family relations and human sexuality, about her book, “The Sex Lives of College Students: Two Decades of Attitudes and Behaviors.” Caron’s book is based on the results of a sexuality survey she administered to thousands of students over the past 20 years. She said the survey was designed to provide a glimpse into the sex lives of college students, their attitudes and their behaviors, as well as trends over time.
The Weekly reported parents in the Orono and Old Town area will be able to encourage reading with “Literacy to Go” kits that include informational text, a storybook and a storyboard in a themed pizza box. The University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library in partnership with UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development, Old Town Elementary School and Old Town Public Library will train librarians how to use the kits to promote early literacy.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Michael Wittmann, an associate professor of physics at the University of Maine, about a professional development course for science teachers called “Energy Theater.” The program is part of the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership, a collaboration between rural schools, nonprofits and the University of Maine, that aims to advance the teaching methods and learning of physical science in grades six through nine. Wittmann, the evening’s instructor, said hands-on learning gets everybody involved and is as interesting for teachers as it is for students.
The Maine Edge reported parents in the Orono and Old Town area will be able to encourage reading with “Literacy to Go” kits that include informational text, a storybook and a storyboard in a themed pizza box. The University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library in partnership with UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development, Old Town Elementary School and Old Town Public Library will train librarians how to use the kits to promote early literacy.