UMaine student receives regional continuing education award

Natascia La Verde
Natascia La Verde

Natascia La Verde of Belfast, Maine has received a 2020 University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) New England Region Outstanding Student Award. The award honors an undergraduate enrolled in a program offered through a division of professional, continuing or online education who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and an unusual will to learn — not only to enhance their own career, but also to add to the quality of life of their family and community.

La Verde was nominated for the UPCEA award by Barbara Howard, director of the Bachelor of University Studies, the University of Maine’s interdisciplinary adult completion degree.

“Brilliant and resilient are words that describe Natascia La Verde,” Howard says. An immigrant from Italy, dedicated to advancing her education in order to provide a better life for her and her children, La Verde enrolled in courses part-time at the Hutchinson Center, UMaine’s outreach center in Belfast. Working with Howard, she developed a curriculum that incorporated her interests and concentrated on her passion for history. Her research focused on the experiences and journey of individuals who historically created social, political and civil resistance.

While maintaining full-time employment, caring for her family as a single mother, and volunteering in her community, La Verde graduated in December 2018. She was elected to the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and recognized as the 2019 Division of Lifelong Learning’s Outstanding Graduating Student.

Maine’s public universities are attracting more students outside the traditional 18 to 24 age range, according to the University of Maine System’s spring 2019 enrollment report. With dedicated student support, scholarships and flexible online learning options,

UMaine’s Bachelor of University Studies offers adult learners like La Verde the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree that will be valued by employers.

La Verde is now a staff member at the Hutchinson Center with plans to pursue a graduate degree. She not only followed her dreams, but conquered them in the face of adversity throughout her life.

La Verde is now eligible for the national UPCEA Association Award.

More information about the Bachelor of University Studies is online at