The latest post on the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Franco-American blog: News and notes from Maine’s French culture,” focused on the upcoming University of Maine spring symposium, “In and Out of Place: Finding Home in Franco America.” UMaine’s Franco-American Centre and Franco American Studies program will host the series of free events April 25–26 on the Orono campus. The symposium is sponsored by the UMaine Humanities Initiative and le Ministère des Relations internationales, Francophonie et Commerce extérieur du Québec, and will feature readings from acclaimed writers, panel discussions by scholars from New England and Canada, and a screening of the film “Le grand Jack (Jack Kerouac’s Road: A Franco-American Odyssey)” directed by Herménégilde Chiasson.
Archive for the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Category
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.”
Ventura 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.”
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 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
The Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine has announced the winners of the 10th annual Maine Studies Research and Creativity Awards.
Each year the award is given to an undergraduate and graduate student — or group of students — to highlight exemplary student research related to the study of Maine. All UMaine research papers or projects related to Maine and created within the last year are eligible for the award.
This year’s undergraduate winner is a group of students: Benjamin Algeo, Shannon Brenner, Alexandria Jesiolowski, Joshua Morse, Victoria Schuyler and Braden Sinclair. Their interdisciplinary research project, “Building a Better Orono Together: Cultivating Organic Community Connection with University and Orono Stakeholders,” examined the relations between UMaine and Orono and exposed the students to the valuable practice of engaged research under the guidance of Robert Glover, an assistant professor of political science.
Hollie Smith is this year’s graduate winner. Her research paper, “Science and Policy in Maine: Opportunities for Engagement with the Maine State Legislature,” examines ways graduate students at UMaine might contribute more effectively to Maine’s policymaking process. Laura Lindenfeld, an associate professor of mass communication and media studies and public policy, supervised the project.
For the past 10 years, the University of Maine Foundation has provided financial support for the awards.
The Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine announced it is accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Award.
The award is federally funded and is offered to students during the academic year and summer to support the bilingual research (English and French) of master’s and doctoral candidates whose studies focus on Canada.
Summer FLAS Awards are specifically aimed at developing language skills. The awards are open on a competitive basis to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who seek to improve their proficiency in French as a tool for graduate research.
Candidates must be willing to commit to six weeks of intensive French study. Programs covered by the award are offered in the U.S. for students with novice level of proficiency, and in Canada for students with higher levels of proficiency. The federal grant covers up to $4,000 in tuition and offers a living allowance stipend.
The Canadian-American Center is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Resource Center on Canada and provides the award as part of its mission.
More information, including how to apply, is available online.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “New poll shows LePage with slim lead in Maine governor’s race.” Brewer said undecided voters and supporters of Eliot Cutler and Mike Michaud are the people who will decide the outcome of the election.
The series of free events, sponsored by the UMaine Humanities Initiative and le Ministère des Relations internationales, Francophonie et Commerce extérieur du Québec, will take place on the Orono campus from 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 25 until 6 p.m. Saturday, April 26.
“Questions of ‘home’ and of ‘place’ can walk a line between the public and private spaces that take shape for each of us as individuals and as community members,” says Jacob Albert, a research associate at the Franco-American Centre. “We’re really excited to offer a forum for some powerful writers and thinkers to address these kinds of universal questions that are especially important for thinking about cultural identity.”
Keynote speaker and Canadian author Clark Blaise will read from his work-in-progress, “The Kerouac Who Never Was,” from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 25.
Blaise is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa where he was the director of the International Writing Program. He also is the founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia University. He has written more than 20 books, including “I Had a Father: A Post-Modern Autobiography,” “The Meagre Tarmac” and the Pearson Prize-winning “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time.”
The symposium will feature readings from other acclaimed writers including Jane Martin, Ron Currie Jr., Rhea Côté Robbins and Steven Riel; panel discussions by scholars from New England and Canada on “Franco Elections, Activism and Public Opinion,” “Historical Reflections on Place and Identity,” and “Franco American Archives and Collections in New England;” and a screening of the film “Le grand Jack (Jack Kerouac’s Road: A Franco-American Odyssey)” directed by Herménégilde Chiasson.
This symposium features precisely the sorts of interdisciplinary perspectives on a topic of regional significance that the Humanities Initiative aims to promote,” says Justin Wolff, UMHI director and an associate professor of art history at UMaine.
The UMaine Humanities Initiative (UMHI), housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and established in 2010, advances the teaching, research and community outreach of the arts and humanities to enrich the lives of all Maine residents.
More information about the UMHI is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the University of Maine’s celebration of World Languages Day. More than 100 area high school students attended the event that highlighted French and Spanish with traditional dance lessons, a campuswide scavenger hunt and a culture bowl competition. Danielle Beaupre, a lecturer in UMaine’s Department of Modern Languages and Classics, said the best way to learn a language is through immersion. “Getting to spend a whole day in the target language that they’re studying has been a great experience for them,” Beaupre said of the students. The UMaine Department of Modern Languages and Classics, The Canadian-American Center and the Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME) sponsored the event.
WABI (Channel 5) covered the Maine National History Day competition held at the University of Maine. More than 300 students, teachers and chaperones from about 20 Maine middle and high schools gathered at the event to show off their exhibits, websites, documentaries and performances. National History Day (NHD) is an academic program that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. Students’ projects were judged, and the top two winners in each category became eligible to compete in the national contest in Washington, D.C. in June. A scavenger hunt with activities from a half dozen museums and history organizations, including a Civil War re-enactment group, also were offered to students.
The Free Press reported on the upcoming symposium, “Maine and The Mortal Sea: Taking Stock of the Past, Present and Future of Our Living Sea,” to be held at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole on Saturday, April 26. Fishermen, historians, marine scientists, authors, students, economists and fisheries managers are expected to gather at the interdisciplinary event that is based on the award-winning book, “The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail,” by University of New Hampshire historian W. Jeffrey Bolster.
More than 100 presentations were made made during the 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition (GradExpo) in separate categories of four areas of competition — poster presentations, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event — as well as a graduate student photo contest.
About $15,000 worth of prize money was awarded at this year’s expo, including the $2,000 President’s Research Impact Award given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.
Following are the winning presentations:
President’s Research Impact Award — Spencer Meyer and advisers Rob Lilieholm and Chris Cronan
Innovation Award — Spencer Meyer
Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award — Rebecca White, first; John Bell, second; and Matthew McEntee, third
Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award — Brittany Cline, first; Agnes Taylor, second; and Kara Lorion, third
Graduate Student Video Award — Hari Prasath Palani
UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award — Lauren Thornbrough
Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Life Category — Eva Manandhar, first; Brett Lerner, second; and Corey Cole, third
Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Research Category — Amy Pierce, first; Timothy Godaire, second; and Robin Arnold, third
PechaKucha — Theodore Wilhite, first; Amy Pierce, second; and John Bell, third
Intermedia — Julie Riley, first; Amy Pierce, second; and Jessica LeClair, third
Arts and Humanities Oral Competition — Rebecca White, first; Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed, second; and Ian Jesse, third
Arts and Humanities Poster Competition — Hari Prasath Palani, first; John Bell, second; and Bethany Engstrom, third
Natural Sciences Oral Competition — Brianna Hughes, first; Anna Breard, second; and Maureen Correll, third
Natural Sciences Poster Competition — Luke Groff, first; Donna Kalteyer, second; and Julia McGuire, third
Physical Sciences and Technology Oral Competition — Mojtaba Razfar, first; Panduka Piyaratne, second; and Silas Owusu-Nkwantabisah, third
Physical Sciences and Technology Poster Competition — David Pearson, first; Supamon Singkankachen, second; and Merida Batiste, third
Social Sciences Oral Competition — Hollie Smith, first; Kourtney Collum, second; and Addie Pelletier
Social Sciences Poster Competition — Theodora Ruhs, first; Tyler Quiring, second; and Steven Hutchinson, third