Adams awarded Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship

The 2020–2021 Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship has been awarded to Tom Adams, a University of Maine secondary education major from Falmouth, Maine.

Adams will build on his experiences teaching in middle school and mentoring students in community service projects by conducting independent research related to civics education in Maine middle schools.

He references a noted decline in civics education and civic participation in the United States. Adams notes the essential responsibility of civics education in public schools is to prepare students to participate in a democratic society.

A 2019 revision of the state Department of Education’s Maine Learning Results (MLR) for youth in grades 6–8 attempts to rectify perceived shortcomings in civics education. Since the revision was recently implemented, data about its impact is not yet available.

Adams’ study “aims to analyze the implementation, quality, and impact of citizenship education projects undertaken by Maine’s middle school social studies teachers in response to the MLR.”

He’ll collect data through surveys and interviews with teachers about types of projects they’re pursuing. Then he’ll evaluate the quality of citizenship education, comparing schools based on location and demographics.

Adams will conduct the project under the direction of Rebecca Buchanan, assistant professor of curriculum, assessment and instruction. Her research examines the intersection of educational policy and social justice.

When Adams’ project is completed, he’ll make a policy recommendation to the Maine DOE that identifies institutional supports that schools and teachers need to strengthen their civics projects.

The scholarship was established in 1991 with gifts from Harold Alfond to the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation in Skowhegan, Maine.

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sen. Smith’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and in recognition of her many years of dedicated public service to the citizens of Maine and the nation from 1940 to 1973, the scholarship is awarded to Maine residents enrolled full time at UMaine who have exceptional academic records and a clear research agenda in public affairs.

The scholarship supports Sen. Smith’s abiding belief that real progress for Maine can only be attained through the education of its young people.

For more information, as well as an application, visit the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center website or contact Peggy McKee,

Contact: Peggy McKee,