MAIS Graduates and their Projects

Maine Studies students in the MAIS program come from diverse backgrounds and live in all parts of the state (and beyond). They have also completed a wide range of master’s projects as the culminating step in their degrees. Below are brief descriptions of our graduates and their final projects. In most cases you can click on the provided links to see what they have produced.

Anne Bardaglio

Anne Bardaglio, who finished in August 2021, wrote her thesis on items hidden in houses by their occupants, tracing the origins of an early 20th century work boot found in her own house in St. George, Maine. The thesis, available on Digital Commons, is entitled “A Concealment Shoe as Ritualistic Grieving Gesture: A Case Study in an Early 20th Century Maine Finnish Immigrant Community.”

Anne completed her degree while working at Unity College and UMA. She is now working toward her PhD in the Department of History at the University of Maine.

Mary Holt

Mary Holt completed the MAIS degree in May of 2021. For her master’s project she created a podcast called “My Contribution to Art & Culture”, taking the title from a quote by famous Maine humorist (and UMaine alumnus) Joe Perham, whom she profiled in the podcast.

Mary completed her degree while working as a digital specialist at USM’s Glickman Library in Portland. She also hosts a weekly radio program, Ghostland Radio, on WMPG, and created the podcast There from Here, featuring stories about Maine.

Jessica Hamilton-Jones

Jessica Hamilton-Jones completed the MAIS in May 2021. For her master’s project, Jessica created an ebook to help artists and students explore and depict Maine places. Called The Places we Become Maine: Encouraging a Sense of Place Through Interactive Art Activities, the ebook takes readers through a series of place-based lessons, each focused on a particular setting or topic such as wildlife, botany, and maps.

Jessica completed her degree while working as an alternative education high school teacher in the Waterville area. She also conducted a workshop on Mind Mapping as part of the Jack Pine Project, which documented the pandemic using the arts.

Brandan Roberts

Brandan Roberts, who completed the MAIS in 2020, prepared a detailed, map-based interactive website for his master’s project. Entitled Molly Ockett as a Folkloric Figure, the website explores parts of western Maine associated with this well-known individual, also known as Mary Agatha or Marie Agathe, who was a powerful Native healer and herbalist. The website looks at how her name and image have been incorporated into the region’s geography, history and legends.

Brandan completed his degree while working as technical support staff at UMA Lewiston Center, as well as Curator at the Hamlin Memorial Library & Museum in Paris, Maine.

Paula Sheehan-Kopp

Paula Sheehan-Kopp photoMAIS graduate (2020) Paula Sheehan-Kopp prepared a slide presentation on Maine’s Irish heritage that was presented in a virtual conference hosted by the British Association for Irish Studies. In addition, she created a website that will serve as a resource for teachers, researchers, Mainers of Irish descent, and others interested in the heritage of the Irish in Maine.

Her presentation was entitled “Mainescé A Forum for Irish Studies in Maine.” Paula works as a teacher, researcher and aide in southern Maine.

Christopher Betts

Chris Betts

Chris Betts completed his MAIS degree in May of 2020. His master’s project was a professional report entitled Exploring Best Practices of Alternative Education in Maine. The report featured case studies from Chris’s experience as an alternative education high school teacher in Maine, including with the Carleton Project, a private, experiential-learning based program that ran out of the Shaw House in Bangor. Chris now works as an alternative education teacher at Ellsworth High School.

Lisa Lavoie

photo of Lisa Lavoie2015 MAIS graduate Lisa Lavoie wrote her thesis on the subject of the 9/11 attacks and their subsequent impacts on the Maine/Canada border and its communities. The thesis is entitled Effect of 9/11 on a Borderlands Community: Fort Kent, Maine, and Clair, New Brunswick.

Lisa completed her MA degree while working as an adjunct instructor at the University of Maine Fort Kent. She is now an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at UMFK.

Courtney Hawkes

Courtney Hawkes graduated with her MAIS degree in 2017. For her master’s project, she developed a detailed and lengthy course curriculum for high school students. Her project is entitled Maine Literature 101: A Course for High School Seniors, and includes  reading lists, lesson plans, and assessments.

Courtney completed her master’s degree while working at Gorham High School. She currently teaches in the Learning Alternatives program at South Portland High School.

Erin-Kate Souza

Erin-Kate Souza, who completed the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2015, wrote her master’s project about service learning for English as a Second Language students. The paper is entitled Service-Learning as an ESL Course Component.

Erin-Kate is now Instructor and Program Coordinator of Intensive English Language Studies at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington.

Tasha Raymond

Tasha RaymondTasha Raymond completed the MAIS in 2015. Her master’s project was titled On Becoming a Homesteader in Maine. Combining research with personal narrative, it describes her experience as a small homesteader in Norridgewock, Maine.

While learning how to garden organically and raise chickens, she researched the dangers of genetically modified organisms and animal feeding operations. Further, she explored Maine’s laws and policies that regulate local food, becoming a supporter of food sovereignty and food security.

Stephanie Leonard

photo of Stephanie LeonardStephanie Spruce Leonard completed the MAIS in 2014. Her thesis, titled “Public Art and Public Education: Controversy and Connections,” examines public art in the U.S. with a focus on Maine. Her study included post office murals from the New Deal era, the controversy over the Maine labor mural, and granite sculptures created through the Schoodic Sculpture Symposium. She argued that public art reflects a sense of place and offers educators the opportunity to teach their students history, politics, and art.

Jamie Carter

Jamie Carter Logan completed her MAIS in 2014, writing a thesis entitled Family Ties and Cultural Persistence in the Little Italy of Portland, Maine. She subsequently published the book Built on Family: The Little Italy of Portland, Maine, available HERE.

Jamie is Digital Strategist with the Knight Canney Group, a Maine-based public relations firm. Her other claim to fame is winning twice on Jeopardy!

Blossom Kravitz

Blossom Kravitz completed the MAIS in 2013. Her master’s project was entitled Maine Crab: A Study of the Fishery with an Emphasis on Crab Picking. It was subsequently published by the Maine Folklife Center.
She is now a chocolate maker and store owner in Blue Hill, Maine, and has been featured in numerous media stories, including this one in the Ellsworth American.

Rosemary Cyr

photo of Rosemary CyrRosemary Cyr received her MAIS in May, 2012. Her thesis was on the evolving relationship between archaeologists and Wabanaki Nations in Maine. It is called A Change Occurring: The Evolving Relationship Among Archaeologists and Wabanakis in Maine

Rosemary completed her degree through distance education technologies while working as the lab director at Northeast Archaeology Research Center in Farmington.

Phyllis vonHerrlich

photo of Phyllis vonHerrlich2010 MAIS graduate Phyllis vonHerrlich wrote a thesis which examined the work of Gail Laughlin, one of the first female lawyers in the U.S. and one of the first women in the Maine State legislature. Laughlin served in the Maine Legislature for six terms from 1929 to 1941 and was an ardent promoter of equal rights for women. Phyllis’s thesis is entitled “Absolute Equality for Women in Law and Custom”: Gail Laughlin’s Fight for Gender Equality in the Maine Legislature.