University of Maine STEM Laboratories
Laboratories and departments on the University of Maine campus form educational outreach partnerships with UBMS; these partnerships are symbiotic. Professors often depend on these partnerships to meet grant or tenure criteria and UBMS depends on these partnerships to engage students in legitimate college-level science experiences with distinguished faculty. Many professors accept students into their laboratories because they believe in education and the mission of the program. UBMS also forms partnerships with existing organizations, developing grant opportunities to offer STEM learning opportunities for our students. What follows are some of the program’s more recent collaborations.
National Girls’ Collaborative Project
In 2009, UBMS received a $1000 collaborative grant enabling the students to take part in a water quality Group Research Project. The money funded the purchase of boots, macroinvertebrate nets and water testing kits, among other related items. In partnership with the Lower Penobscot Watershed Coalition, UBMS students collected data related to river and stream health in June and July 2009, for Sedgeunkedunk, Blackman Stream, Souadabscook and the Penjajawok. The program was fortunate to partner with this organization, as well as Maine Department of Environmental Protection Biologist Mark Whiting.
EPSCOR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)
In 2008, UBMS received full support for the implementation of a Forest Bioproducts research project. Funded by the National Science Foundation, through EPSCoR, the project consisted of three segments: forestry, chemical engineering of forest bioproducts and making biodiesel. The Program was fortunate to partner with State of Maine Forester Ken Laustsen, Washington Academy Science Teacher of the Year Don Sprangers, and University of Maine Chemical Engineering Professor Martin Lawoko. Using the funding provided by EPSCoR, the program was able to buy lab coats and safety equipment to use in the biodiesel and chemical engineering labs. The support funded the participation of professionals and many of the materials used, such as the portable biodiesel chamber for making large batches of biodiesel in educational settings. The project also funded the purchase of secondary containment for the chamber, as well as seven MacBooks, one for each student group. Again in 2009, based on the pre-existing partnership, EPSCoR purchased $1000 worth of supplies for the rivers project, and in 2012 provided full support for Group Research Project faculty, financial support for Individual Project Supplies and financial support to students, all under the umbrella of science education and outreach.