Meet UMaine’s 2018 Outstanding Graduating Students

Ten undergraduates have been named 2018 Outstanding Graduating Students at the University of Maine.

Among them is Brianna DeGone, the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Engineering, and the 2018 salutatorian.

The Outstanding Graduating Students will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 216th Commencement in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 12.

Yousuf AliThe other Outstanding Graduating Students are:

Yousuf Ali, of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has been named the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Engineering.

Ali majored in chemical engineering, with a minor in mathematics. His honors include a scholarship from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

At UMaine, he participated in CultureFest, and enjoyed skiing, hiking and soccer.

Ali plans to pursue a master’s degree in chemical/processing engineering.

A full Q&A with Ali is online.

Austin BlakeAustin Blake, of Westbrook, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Maine Business School.

Blake, who majored in accounting, was the highest achieving junior in the Maine Business School in 2016–17, and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

In the spring 2018 semester, Blake interned with BerryDunn in Bangor, Maine, and last summer with Macpage LLC in South Portland, Maine. Since 2011, he also has worked as a tax preparer for Blake Hurley McCallum & Conley LLC in his hometown.

On campus, Blake has served in leadership roles for the UMaine chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, most recently as president. He has been an accounting tutor and a resident assistant, and has participated in intramural soccer, including the team that won a fall 2016 league championship.

In the coming year, Blake will complete an MBA and plans to pursue a career in public accounting in southern Maine.

A full Q&A with Blake is online.

Marie France-GeorgesMarie-France Georges, of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has been named the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the Maine Business School.

Georges majored in finance with a concentration in international business, and additional major in marketing, with a minor in Spanish. Her awards include UMaine scholarships. Her honors thesis was “The Impact of Financial Services Expansion on Economic Growth: Zoom on Haiti.”

In her sophomore year, Georges worked as a student financial assistant in the Maine EPSCoR office. She was a founding member of UMaine’s Caribbean Club and a Maine Business School student ambassador, and was active in Black Bear Catholic events. Georges also worked closely with the Office of International Programs, where she was involved in student recruitment events, CultureFest and the International Dance Festival.

She plans to pursue an MBA at UMaine.

A full Q&A with Georges is online.

Callie GrecoCallie Greco of Greene, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

Greco majored in biology and completed her degree requirements in December 2017. Her many honors included School of Biology and Ecology Academic Awards for the highest GPA, and Presidential Scholar Awards.

From 2015–17, Greco was a manager in Kristy Townsend’s Neurobiology and Energy Balance Research Laboratory. Her honors thesis, “Tanycyte Plasticity in the Hypothalamus and the Regulation of Energy Balance,” stemmed from her research in the lab.

Last summer, Greco held a Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Fellowship. In summer 2016, she interned with the Maine Medical Outreach Team. She also was a Chemistry Department teaching assistant and a School of Biology and Ecology student ambassador.

Greco volunteered with the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, participated in physician shadowing and completed nursing assistant certification. This fall, she will start medical school at Quinnipiac University.

A full Q&A with Greco is online.

Tina HedrickTina Hedrick, of Delta, Pennsylvania, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Division of Lifelong Learning.

Hedrick majored in university studies with a focus on economics and finance. Her honors include a transfer scholarship and an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.

Hedrick is the mother of four school-age children and a member of the local volunteer fire department.

She plans to complete a master’s degree in accounting to be a certified public accountant.

A full Q&A with Hedrick is online.

Katelyn ManzoKatelyn Manzo, of Etna, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Manzo, who majored in computer science, is a Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholar and a UMaine Presidential Scholar.

Since 2016, Manzo has been a Maine Learning Assistant with the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education. Last summer, she was a software development intern with Tyler Technologies in Falmouth, Maine.

On campus, Manzo has been a computer learning assistant, president of the UMaine chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery — Women in Computing, and a member of the School of Computing and Information Science Advisory Board.

In her junior year, Manzo collaborated with Silvia Nittel to develop an introductory computer science course for nonmajors.

Following graduation, she will be a technology analyst with Accenture in Boston, Massachusetts.

A full Q&A with Manzo is online.

Duc Ngoc Hong NguyenDuc Ngoc Hong Nguyen, of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has been named the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

Nguyen majored in biochemistry, microbiology, and molecular and cellular biology. Her multiple honors include the Professor Frederick H. Radke Award. Her research experience focused on toxicology, plant pathology and immunology in four faculty laboratories in the college.

Beginning in 2016, Nguyen was a tutor for Student Support Services. Outside of the lab and classroom, she was involved in the International Student Association, the Maine Society for Microbiology and Biomedical Sciences, Health Professions Club, and the UMaine chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery — Women in Computing.

She plans to pursue graduate research in cancer biology at the University of New Hampshire.

A full Q&A with Nguyen is online.

Rachel SiroisRachel Sirois, of Winslow, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Education and Human Development.

Sirois, a student in the Honors College, majored in child development and family relations, with a concentration in early childhood education. She earned highest honors for her thesis, “Are Schools Educating About Poverty? University Students’ Perceptions of K–12 Poverty Education.”

Sirois’ numerous honors include the 2017 Servant Heart Scholarship. In her junior year, Sirois participated in the Community Literacy Partnership, a collaboration between UMaine, Penobscot County Jail, Orono Adult Education and Literacy Volunteers of Bangor to provide educational programming for women. She did her field experience at Old Town and Winslow elementary schools, and Wassookeag Learning Community in Orono, and has been a student teacher at Brewer Community School and Downeast School in Bangor.

On campus, Sirois was a Black Bear tutor and president of Black Bear Catholic. Last summer, she was a camp counselor with the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. She will return to the discovery schools this summer and will pursue a career as an early elementary teacher.

A full Q&A with Sirois is online.

Aliya UteuovaAliya Uteuova, of Astana, Kazakhstan, has been named the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Uteuova majored in political science and journalism. Her numerous honors include the 2018 Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize and the Servant Heart Scholarship for community service. Her honors thesis is on declining journalistic freedom.

Since fall 2015, Uteuova was a resident assistant and a member of “The Maine Campus” newspaper, most recently as arts and culture editor. Her other writing experience included science communication for Maine Sea Grant and the Darling Marine Center.

Uteuova has interned in the Office of the Maine Attorney General and the Senate Democratic Minority Office of the Maine State Legislature. She participated in Maine NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership, served as president of the International Student Association and was a delegate at the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs at West Point Military Academy.

She plans to continue reporting and pursue law school in New England.

A full Q&A with Uteuova is online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745