Canadian-American Fellow Feature: Jasmin Lamb

University of Maine PhD student, Jasmin Lamb, is one of several recipients of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program for 2022 to 2023 academic year.

The FLAS fellowship is offered by the Canadian-American Center and the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS is a federal grant to support students who wish to improve proficiency in French or Maliseet, Mi’kmaq/Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Abenaki/Penobscot. Each academic year, the fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, tuition waiver, and 50% of University issued health insurance. The grant is available for undergraduate and graduate students at UMaine who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Lamb learned about the fellowship from Jen Bowen, the Administrative Assistant for Native American Studies at UMaine. To any students looking to earn this fellowship in the future, Lamb says, “Apply even if you do not think you will be granted the award. I almost did not apply because I was unsure if I was qualified enough to receive the Fellowship, but decided to apply shortly before the deadline and ended up being approved. So my advice would be, don’t doubt yourself!”

Lamb, a PhD student in Communication Sciences + Disorders, originally came to UMaine as an undergraduate with plans to study Human Nutrition. We asked her about what brought her to her current field. “ I liked the idea of helping people communicate who otherwise would not be able to so I started to pursue it and ended up liking it. Since starting my graduate studies, I have realized the importance of speech pathology and ensuring that people of all types of populations have access to culturally appropriate speech and language services,” Lamb says. Lamb is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and wanted to use her education in a meaningful way. “[I wanted to] give back to the members of the Wabanaki people who fought for my right to attend college. My family has encouraged me to learn more of the Passamaquoddy language and history, which led me to pursue a minor in Native American studies during my undergraduate career and further my language education.”

Her current work focuses on breaking down barriers between Native American people and speech-language pathology (SLP) services. “The aim of my graduate research is to better understand the barriers Native American people face in accessing SLP services and create a guide for speech-language pathologists working with Wabanaki populations. By studying Wabanaki languages, I hope to learn more about Wabanaki language influenced speech and make suggestions for how to incorporate words and concepts from Wabanaki languages into treatment and assessment materials to make intervention more culturally appropriate and relevant for Wabanaki clients.”

Before beginning her Master’s degree, Lamb earned her undergraduate degree Summa Cum Laude and was on the Dean’s List for 7/8 semesters. She was awarded a $1,500 fellowship from the Center for Undergraduate Research in November of 2021. In May of 2022, Lam received an Undergraduate Research Award from the University of Maine’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Later that year, she presented her research at the Maine Sustainability and Water Conference, as well as the UMaine Student Symposium. After her graduation, Lamb was promoted to the Founder and Chair of the Pleasant Point Resilience Citizen Committee.

Outside of academia, Lamb enjoys gardening, cooking, going on hikes, and spending time with her family and baby nephew. She also works with the Maine Governor’s Office of Innovation and Policy to improve community resilience against climate change. “The communities I have worked for include the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, the City of Eastport, and the town of Millinocket. The work I did in these communities involved hosting a workshop where citizens of those towns and tribal governments voted for community resilience actions they want their communities to pursue and following that with securing funding and planning community energy projects such as a window insert build, heat pumps for homes, and a Solarize campaign for homes.”

After obtaining her Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Lamb hopes to become a speech pathologist working with children. Her dream, however, is to own land and live self-sustainably and leisurely.