Four Students Selected to Join McGillicuddy Humanities Center as Fellows in Fall 2021

This fall the McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) will welcome four new undergraduate research fellows for the academic year: Luke Miller, Sabrina Paetow, Stephanie Tillotson, and Heather Webb. This new cohort will join existing fellows Delaney Burns, Elizabeth Dalton, Grace Royle and Haley Santerre.

Incoming fellow Luke Miller, a history major from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, will spend the next academic year exploring, “How Government Policy Affects the Homeless Population In Maine: From Vietnam to Today.” Miller will study state and local policies and data on homelessness, and conduct interviews within the homeless population and those who serve them, to better understand how needs could be better addressed. While comparing data and policies from across the state, his research will focus on Bangor in particular. Miller will be advised by Dr. Brian Pitman from the Department of Sociology.

Sabrina Paetow, a Sociology major from Topsham, Maine, will spend her fellowship analyzing “Rhetoric in the Age of Trump: Presidential Discourse on the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which is tied to her Honors thesis of the same title. Paetow, who will be advised by Dr. Amy Fried from the Department of Political Science, hopes to understand how this particular public health crisis has been framed across the pandemic, and how Trump’s rhetoric affected public perception and discourse on the topic.

Also joining the new cohort will be Stephanie Tillotson from Cumberland Foreside, Maine, who is majoring in Spanish with a minor in Legal Studies. Tillotson is the first student from the Department of Modern Languages and Classics to be awarded a McGillicuddy Humanities Center Fellowship. For her proposed project, “Making Foreign Language Education Accessible through Spanish Animation,” she aims to create a plan and prototype for a mini series of animated, Spanish learning videos featuring the adventures of a dog named Moxie, inspired by her own dog. Tillotson’s research will be advised by Dr. Katie Quick from the Honors College.

Lastly, nursing student Heather Webb of Bangor, Maine, will be writing a series of interconnected personal reflective essays titled, “When Teacher Becomes Pupil: Writing My Way Through Career Transition.” Webb, who worked as an English teacher for many years, is making a career transition into the field of nursing. Her essays will explore the nature of teaching and learning through her experiences going back to school in an unfamiliar field. Nilda Cravens, MSN, RN, will be advising the project. Webb is the first nontraditional student, and first Nursing student, to be awarded a MHC student fellowship.

The MHC funds a rotating cohort of eight undergraduate fellows, providing $4,000 each per semester for two semesters to complete the research or creative projects of their choosing.  In addition to honing their research skills and building their academic networks, fellows serve as humanities ambassadors to their peers, the campus, and beyond. Many past MHC Fellows have stayed on at UMaine for graduate school.

Students interested in becoming a McGillicuddy Humanities Center undergraduate fellow have two deadlines to apply annually, on March 17 and October 17. Research and creative work of all types across the humanities will be considered, from academic papers and art gallery shows, to community workshops or films. More information, including application instructions, proposal guidelines, and a rubric, are all available at or by contacting the MHC’s Humanities Specialist Karen Sieber at