Meet the 2023 Outstanding Graduating Students
Twelve undergraduates have been named 2023 Outstanding Graduating Students at the University of Maine. Read their short biographies:
Mille Baartvedt of Oslo, Norway is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Education and Human Development. The kinesiology and physical education major is a Presidential Scholar. On campus, she has worked at the New Balance Student Recreation Center and as a teaching assistant, and been a member of the Maine chapter of Pi Beta Phi and the Women’s Soccer Club. Baartvedt did her student teaching at Hampden Academy and Orono Middle School. She will pursue a graduate degree in sports management at Boston College, and plans a career as an educator and athletic director.
Samantha Costanza from Norwalk, Connecticut is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Division of Lifelong Learning. Costanza is a university studies major in the labor studies track, and an Online Flagship Scholarship recipient. Costanza has worked full-time as a communications professional for a national retirement company while pursuing an associate degree at a local community college, then transferring to UMaine. Her research as part of her academic work included how COVID impacted the union construction industry; how the legalization of marijuana has changed the landscape of workplace drug testing; and the pay gap and working conditions for women in many industries. Beyond her coursework, Costanza is active in her community choir. She plans to continue her now 23-year career with Transamerica.
Emily Davison of North Waterboro, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Education and Human Development. She is majoring in athletic training with a minor in child development and family relations. The UMaine Presidential Scholarship recipient also received the 2023 Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Joseph Abraham Scholarship and 2022 Maine Athletic Trainers’ Association Wes Jordan Scholarship. Davison did her athletic training internship this spring at Foxcroft Academy and has had numerous athletic training clinical experiences with athletics teams at UMaine, Husson University and Hampden Academy. On campus, she also worked in the UMaine Ticket Office. Davison plans to pursue a master’s degree in sport management at the University of Central Arkansas while working full time as a high school athletic trainer. Her goal is to be an athletic director at a class AA high school in southern Maine.
Kell Fremouw of Orono, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Engineering. The Honors College student is majoring in engineering physics, with a concentration in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. Last summer, he was awarded a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Sensor Science and Engineering, and he has worked as a teaching assistant in physics. His honors thesis is: “Thermal Stability of Platinum-Silicon Alloy Films Grown on Langasite Substrates for Use in Microwave Acoustic Sensor Technology.” Fremouw has been a student researcher examining optical microscopy data in the laboratory of professor Samuel Hess and modeling graphene transistors in the laboratory of professor Sheila Edalatpour. In addition, Fremouw worked on a materials science project with professor Robert Lad. He also participates in STEM outreach with the Society of Physics Students. Fremouw is a competitive kayaker and canoeist who qualified in the U.S. trials for the Wildwater Canoeing World Championships. He has been awarded a Dean’s Fellowship for Excellence at the University of Colorado Boulder where he will pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering. He plans to work in academia or in a lab on improving sustainable energy production and energy efficiency.
Anna Kahelin of Helsinki, Finland is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the Maine Business School. She is a business administration major in management with a minor in psychology, and member of the Women’s Basketball team. Kahelin received an America East Elite 18 award, and was a member of Team Maine from 2021–22. She plans to pursue an MBA at UMaine and play basketball for another year.
Abigail Mulligan of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Mulligan is an Honors College student triple-majoring in chemistry with a pre-med concentration; in food science and human nutrition, with a concentration in dietetics; and in zoology. She is minoring in psychology, sustainable food systems and neuroscience. Among her numerous honors is the Charles A. Brautlecht Scholarship, the S.P. Livermore Award, and the Dr. Melanie Gershman-Tewksbury ’77 Scholarship. Her honors thesis is: “The Development of Sustainable, Flax-Integrated, Plastic Composite.” Mulligan has been a student researcher in professor William Gramlich’s laboratory, studying the development of sustainable, flax-integrated biocomposites. She is president of the Nutrition Club, secretary of the UMaine chapter of Kappa Omicron Nu and a 4-H STEM Ambassador. Mulligan also has been a member of the UMaine Swimming and Diving team and was a peer tutor. She plans to attend medical school to pursue a career in pediatric neurosurgery.
Theophile Nkulikiyinka of Kigali, Rwanda is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Engineering. Nkulikiyinka, a biomedical engineering student, is a Presidential Scholar and the recipient of the International Presidential Scholarship. He has been an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of professor Michael Mason, evaluating the potential of cellulose nanofiber as a biomaterial for bone replacement. His academic experiences off campus included shadowing at Hanger Orthotics and Prosthetics Clinic, and working as a cardiac technician at Northern Light Health and a direct support professional for adults with disabilities at MERT Enterprises and Peace Residential Care. Nkulikiyinka is president of UMaine’s African Student Association. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Hartford.
Shelby Philips of Buffalo, New York is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Maine Business School. Philips is a business administration major in management. Her numerous academic awards include the Senior Alumni Non-Traditional Student Scholarship, the Carville Non-Traditional Student Scholarship, and David and Debra Scott Scholarship. Philips interned with Food Rescue Maine, an initiative of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, and served as president of MBS Corps. She also was a member of SPIFFY and the International Business and Culture Club, and was a cast member in the School of Performing Arts production of “Everybody.” This summer, she will be a producer on an independent feature film. Philips plans to pursue a career in management.
Aiden Pike of Searsmont, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. He is a double major in biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology, with minors in French and chemistry. The Honors College student, who will receive two bachelor’s degrees, also is in the 4+1 master’s bioinformatics program with the Roux institute at Northeastern University. His numerous academic honors include a Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship, the Professor Frederick H. Radke Award and the Honors INBRE Thesis Fellowships in Comparative Functional Genomics. His honors thesis is: “The Role of Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase IV in Regulating JC Polyomavirus Infection.” Pike has been a student researcher in professor Melissa Maginnis’ laboratory, studying how the immune response is implicated in JC polyomavirus infection and the signaling mechanisms that the virus may take advantage of to gain control of the host cell. He also spent a summer as a research fellow at MDI Biological Laboratory. On campus, Pike has been a teaching assistant and a course facilitator, and a member of the Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band and the Concert Band. With the completion of his master’s degree, Pike plans to apply to an M.D./Ph.D. program to study infectious diseases and practice translational medicine.
Elaine Thomas of Hampden, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Honors College. She is a business administration major in management with a minor in music. The Honors College student received the 2022 John M. Rezendes Ethics Award for her first-place essay: “When We Cannot Care for Ourselves: Ethics, Interdependence, and the Moral Danger of the Self-Care Message.” Also in 2022, she received the Maine Campus Compact PILLARS (Philanthropy, Innovation, Learning, Leadership, Action, Responsibility, and Service) Award and participated in the Maine NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership program. Her honors thesis is: “Evidence-based Family Strengthening Training in Maine: A Resource Assessment and Proposal to Reduce Barriers and Increase Facilitators.” Throughout her time at UMaine, Thomas has been a member of the Attachment Theory Team of the Honors College Servant Heart Research Collaborative. She also has interned with three nonprofit organizations: Heart of Maine United Way, Partners for Peace and the American Red Cross, and donates her time to Literacy Volunteers of Bangor. Thomas plans to work for a nonprofit organization in Maine.
Maria Vina Lopez
Maria Vina Lopez of Santiago de Compostela, Spain is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture, and in the Honors College. The biology major with minors in mathematics and neuroscience is the recipient of numerous awards, including the International Presidential Scholarship and a Center for Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Her honors thesis is: “An Organoid Model for Human Brain Aging.” As a student researcher, Vina Lopez studied the drug synergy effect of fluconazole and cyclosporine A on Candida albicans in the laboratory of professor Robert Wheeler, and used C. elegans to study the effect of novel small molecule combinations on age reversal in vivo and identify life span-extending cocktails in professor Suzanne Angeli’s lab. For two summers, she also was a research intern in the microbiology laboratory of professor Darren Higgins at Harvard Medical School, and for eight months last year, collaborated on her honors research in the genetics laboratory of professor David Sinclair, also at Harvard Medical School. At UMaine, Vina Lopez has been president of Engineers Without Borders, a resident assistant, a Maine Learning Assistant and peer tutor in genetics, and a member of the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biological and biomedical sciences at Harvard Medical School.
Willow Wind of Rumford, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Honors College student is a communication major with minors in media studies and Spanish. Her academic honors include a McGillicuddy Humanities Center Fellowship and James S. Stevens Outstanding Junior Award, both in 2022, and a 2021 Center for Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award and first-place recognition the Communication and Journalism Showcase for her research project: “Communication Goals and Practices of Trans- and Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) Individuals and Their Impact on Mental Health.” Her Honors thesis is: “Conceptualizing and Enacting Gender Euphoria: Exploring Awareness and Action Across Gender Demographics.” Wind has conducted research in collaboration with professor Liliana Herakova, focused on trans and gender-nonconforming communication and mental health, and as a research assistant in the Media Psychology Lab of professor Amelia Couture Bue, working on a project exploring the desirability of STEM to college women. She also has been active in the Scholars Strategy Network, Progressive Pipeline, and Partners for Peace, and in a UMaine collaborative effort to improve classroom belonging. Wind plans to pursue nonprofit advocacy work and a master’s degree.
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