Ethan Mathieu is COEHD’s Outstanding Graduating Student

Ethan Mathieu of Sanford, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Education and Human Development. He is a secondary education major with a concentration in physical science. Mathieu is the recipient of the Edward and Barbara McManus Scholarship and the Hervey A. Hanscom Scholarship, and served as treasurer of the Student Maine Educators Association. His Honors thesis is “The Effects of a course in Multicultural Education on the Development of a Socio-Cultural Consciousness of Pre-Service Teachers.” Mathieu did his student teaching at Orono High School, and had field placements at John Bapst High School and Kennebunk High School. On campus, he was a tutor with TRIO Student Support Services and a student instructor’s aide in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Mathieu plans to be a physics teacher in Maine and pursue a master’s degree in teaching science.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine provided a space where I was given the support needed to explore what I really wanted to do with my career. I started as an electrical engineering major but swapped over to secondary education my sophomore year. The faculty in both the College of Engineering and College of Education and Human Development department helped me to make the transition smoothly and ensure I had all the classes and credits needed to stay on track.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
The opportunity to attend the Camden International Film Festival through the Honors College was one of my most memorable and culturally enriching experiences at the university. The festival opened my eyes to how big the world truly is and gave me a deeper respect and understanding of people halfway across the world.

Why UMaine?
I originally chose UMaine for the exceptional engineering program, the affordability and being just the right distance from home. I came to love and stay at UMaine for the close-knit community, the exceptional staff and faculty, and great friends I’ve made in my time here. The campus also has a charm that continues to grow on you the longer you stay. Nothing quite beats playing frisbee on the Mall in the fall, enjoying a coffee in the Oakes Room before class in the winter or taking a walk in Littlefield Garden in the spring.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine? Is there any particular initiative, program or set of resources that helped you succeed?
I think that UMaine is full of opportunities for students who are willing to look for them. The campus is full of friendly professors and clubs that offer a plethora of opportunities for research, work, travel and volunteering. I am specifically grateful to the Advising Center in the College of Education and Human Development. The Advising Center crew was warm, friendly and extremely helpful in helping me decide on my concentration and ensuring I was on track to succeed in the program.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
I worked very closely with professor Tammy Mills while writing my undergraduate thesis. Dr. Mills is an exceptional mentor who guided me through the research and academic writing process. The experience took me out of my comfort zone and honed my skills in academic writing, critical thinking/analysis and searching for/evaluating sources. My thesis simply would not have been possible without the guidance of Dr. Mills, I could not have asked for a better mentor and she has my deepest respect and admiration.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically?
Get to know your peers! College is a challenge, but there’s no reason you have to do it alone. Introducing yourself to people you share classes with leads to potential study groups and friends you can lean on when you’re struggling. Having a strong network of friends in class makes the work easier and more enjoyable, and you might even make some lifelong friends.

Contact: Margaret Nagle,