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UMaine’s 212th Commencement Set for May 10

The University of Maine’s 212th Commencement will be held May 10 in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus.

Held in two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the university’s Commencement is one of Maine’s largest graduation events. An estimated 1,660 students — undergraduates, master’s and doctoral — are expected to participate in the event.

Both ceremonies are ticketed events. All students marching were offered up to five guest tickets. Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available online for friends and family worldwide. In addition, live streaming of both ceremonies can be viewed on a big screen in the Bear’s Den in the Memorial Union on campus.

For the second consecutive year, in keeping with UMaine’s leadership as a nationally recognized “Green campus,” each graduating student attending one of the ceremonies will receive a digital Commencement program on a commemorative 2GB USB flash drive. The full program will contain the names of all degree-earning undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a welcome message from the University of Maine Alumni Association.

At the ceremonies, an abbreviated print version of the program will be available for audience members. The Commencement website that day will feature the full program with the names of all graduating students.

The 10 a.m., ceremony is for graduating students in two colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Education and Human Development. Joining them will be students graduating from the Maine Business School and the Division of Lifelong Learning.

The 2:30 p.m., ceremony is for graduates in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

The honorary degree recipients and Commencement speakers will be two icons in literature and music in Maine — international best-selling author Tess Gerritsen of Camden and singer-songwriter David Mallett of Sebec. Mallett will address the 10 a.m. ceremony; Gerritsen will address the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass., respectively. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Chalmers 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 thesis.

Also being honored at Commencement and at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon that day are four faculty members in marine sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and computing and information science.

Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, is the 2014 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

J. Malcolm Shick, professor of zoology and oceanography, is the recipient of the 2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; School of Computing and Information Science Professor M. Kate Beard-Tisdale is the 2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and the 2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award recipient it Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

WABI Covers Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 5th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR). Presentations from 149 students in the form of 77 posters, 21 oral presentations or performances, and nine exhibits were featured. Several presentations included multiple students. Ali Abedi, director of CUGR, told WABI the showcase gives students an opportunity to learn how to present themselves and their project, as well as write proposals. Awards were given to students in each presentation category. Ten winners of $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowships were also announced at the event.

2014 Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase Winners

Student research was displayed during the 5th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on April 1.

The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), was open to any undergraduate at the university and featured presentations from 149 students in the form of 77 posters, 21 oral presentations or performances, and nine exhibits. Several presentations included multiple students.

Following are the winning presentations:

Exhibits

Oral Presentations

Posters

Also announced at the showcase were the 10 winners of a $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship:

BDN Interviews Milardo About Family Relations

The Bangor Daily News spoke with Robert Milardo, a professor of family relations at the University of Maine, for the article “Glenburn family upset after 13-year-old girl, older sister turned away from father-daughter dance.” Milardo said father-daughter and mother-son dances are “wonderful ideas in principle” because they recognize the important roles parents play in children’s lives, but many children in the U.S. don’t have those relationships. “The demographic reality of families today is that they are more diverse than they were in the past,” he said, adding that the dances can be “hurtful” to children in nontraditional families. Milardo says organizations that host such events should provide alternate options, such as “surrogate dads,” to ensure all students feel included.

Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase April 1

University of Maine undergraduate research will be highlighted during the 5th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday, April 1 at Wells Conference Center.

The event is sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research and is open to any undergraduate at the university. Presentations from 149 students in the form of 77 posters, 21 oral presentations or performances, and nine exhibits will be featured. Several presentations include multiple students.

Students presenting projects that receive the highest scores from judges in each format will receive awards ranging from $100 to $200 in various categories, according to Ali Abedi, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR).

Vice President for Research Carol Kim will deliver opening remarks at 8:30 a.m. Students are encouraged to pose questions for Kim via Twitter using #CUGR2014.

UMaine President Paul Ferguson is expected to give closing remarks during the awards presentation starting at 4:30 p.m., followed by the announcement of the Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship winners by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeff Hecker. Ten students will each be awarded a $3,000 fellowship for their research.

The UMaine community and general public are welcome to attend the free event. For more information or to request disability accommodations, call CUGR, 207.581.3583. More information on the showcase is available online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

More Than 100 Students to Showcase Work During GradExpo

University of Maine graduate students will showcase their research and artistic works during the Graduate Student Government’s 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition.

More than $8,000 in prizes will be awarded to participants of the GradExpo. The event will be held 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 3–4 in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center on campus.

The GradExpo will feature four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. About 106 submissions are expected at this year’s event.

The poster and oral presentations will highlight the physical sciences and technology, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. The intermedia and fine arts exhibits will include art works, projects and performances. The PechaKucha competition, open to students in all academic disciplines, invites participants to share their work in a slide show lasting under seven minutes. Unlike the other presentations, the PechaKucha talks will be judged by the audience rather than faculty reviewers.

Two new awards have been added this year, and will be presented during the awards gala, slated for 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 at the IMRC Center.

The Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award worth $500, $300 and $150 will be given to graduate students who are lead instructors of a UMaine course and use innovative and creative teaching methods. Eligible candidates will present at the expo. Jeffrey Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, will designate judges to select the winners.

The UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award worth $250 will be given to a graduate student who earned their undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. Selected candidates will present their research to Alumni Association staff members who will select the winner.

Other awards will include:

Details of the expo are online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Robin Arnold, Graduate Student Government vice president, at robin.arnold@umit.maine.edu or 207.581.2398.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Bacon, Grant Receive 2014 CEAC Awards

Administrative Specialists Deborah Grant from the Department of Political Science and Janice Bacon from the Department of Educational Leadership, Higher Education and Human Development are the recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Classified Employee Award of the University of Maine Classified Employee Advisory Council (CEAC).

The annual CEAC award recognizes exceptional service by UMaine classified employees who inspire others through dedication, commitment and work ethic, maintain the highest level of professional service and help create a better UMaine community.

Grant has been a member of the UMaine community since 1986. She started working in the Department of Sociology, followed by the Department of History, and the Department of Communication and Journalism. In 1996, she was hired as an administrative assistant in the Department of Political Science. Grant says she has made many dear friends with UMaine faculty and staff, adding that the favorite part of working on campus is her daily interaction with the students and colleagues. She also enjoys the ever-changing schedules and deadlines in an academic setting.

Bacon has worked in support staff positions for the University of Maine since 1977. For the last two decades, she has been with the Human Development and Family Studies program, renamed in the past year the Department of Educational Leadership, Higher Education, and Human Development. Bacon has an associate degree in business from the University of Maine at Machias and a bachelor’s degree in university of studies from UMaine. She is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. Bacon says she enjoys her interactions with students and faculty, and finds her work to be challenging, varied and satisfying.

Weekly Publishes Feature on Black Bear Mentors, Siblings

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.

UMaine Faculty, Students Offer Lab to Support National History Day Participants

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 riordan@umit.maine.edu.

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.

Emily and Jared Duggan: Encouraging Education

Click here to view more student profiles

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.”


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UMaine News
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System