Winners of Sharon Barker Student Activism Award, Maryann Hartman essay contest announced

The 2019 Maryann Hartman Awards ceremony will include presentation of two new honors this year — the Sharon Barker Student Activism Award for University of Maine students, and an award for a local high school essayist inspired by a Maine feminist.

Recipients will be recognized at the Hartman Awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. March 27 at Buchanan Alumni House on campus.

The Sharon Barker Student Activism Award will be presented to master’s candidate Moriah Geer of Old Town and undergraduate Taylor Cray of Readfield. Neily Raymond of Hermon will be honored for her submission to the Maryann Hartman Scholarship essay contest.

Geer, a single mother and a first-generation college student, will graduate with a master’s degree in social work in May. She works as the Moxie Case Coach at Maine Equal Justice Partners in Augusta, where she helps clients navigate the state’s support systems, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and MaineCare. Elected to the Old Town School Committee last fall, Geer plans to run for a state legislative seat.

Cray, a third-year student and vice president of Student Government, is majoring in political science and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, with minors in Spanish and legal studies. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood and the Maine Democratic Party, where she focuses on voter engagement. Cray plans to attend law school to continue her pursuit of social justice through legal activism.

Raymond, a junior at Hermon High School, will receive a $1,000 scholarship to UMaine in recognition of her submission, “Edna St. Vincent Millay: Vim, Vigor, and Verse,” an entry that captured the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s progressive values while highlighting the role of art in creating social change. Raymond is currently spearheading a campaign to revive the show choir program at Hermon High, and hopes to pursue an interdisciplinary college major that integrates the study of literature with her passion for performing arts.  

The Sharon Barker Student Activism Award honors UMaine student activists seeking to implement positive change in their communities by fostering social justice. Barker, a longtime UMaine employee, is known for her passionate advocacy for Maine women and girls. She founded the University of Maine’s Women’s Resource Center in 1991, and served as the center’s director until she retired in 2015.

The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Rising Tide Center at the University of Maine. To attend, RSVP by calling 207.581.1228, or email

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745