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2014 Maine Studies Research and Creativity Award Winners Announced

The Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine has announced the winners of the 10th annual Maine Studies Research and Creativity Awards.

Each year the award is given to an undergraduate and graduate student — or group of students — to highlight exemplary student research related to the study of Maine. All UMaine research papers or projects related to Maine and created within the last year are eligible for the award.

This year’s undergraduate winner is a group of students: Benjamin Algeo, Shannon Brenner, Alexandria Jesiolowski, Joshua Morse, Victoria Schuyler and Braden Sinclair. Their interdisciplinary research project, “Building a Better Orono Together: Cultivating Organic Community Connection with University and Orono Stakeholders,” examined the relations between UMaine and Orono and exposed the students to the valuable practice of engaged research under the guidance of Robert Glover, an assistant professor of political science.

Hollie Smith is this year’s graduate winner. Her research paper, “Science and Policy in Maine: Opportunities for Engagement with the Maine State Legislature,” examines ways graduate students at UMaine might contribute more effectively to Maine’s policymaking process. Laura Lindenfeld, an associate professor of mass communication and media studies and public policy, supervised the project.

For the past 10 years, the University of Maine Foundation has provided financial support for the awards.

Applications Being Accepted for 2014 Summer FLAS Awards

The Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine announced it is accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Award.

The award is federally funded and is offered to students during the academic year and summer to support the bilingual research (English and French) of master’s and doctoral candidates whose studies focus on Canada.

Summer FLAS Awards are specifically aimed at developing language skills. The awards are open on a competitive basis to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who seek to improve their proficiency in French as a tool for graduate research.

Candidates must be willing to commit to six weeks of intensive French study. Programs covered by the award are offered in the U.S. for students with novice level of proficiency, and in Canada for students with higher levels of proficiency. The federal grant covers up to $4,000 in tuition and offers a living allowance stipend.

The Canadian-American Center is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Resource Center on Canada and provides the award as part of its mission.

More information, including how to apply, is available online.

Slate Quotes UMaine Doctoral Student in Article on Stephen Colbert

University of Maine doctoral student Skylar Bayer, aka “The Lonely Lady Scientist” among fans of “The Colbert Report,” was quoted in a Slate article titled, “Stephen Colbert is the Best Source of Science on TV.” Article author David Shiffman, a University of Miami doctoral student, said he hoped Colbert would continue to showcase scientists when he succeeds David Letterman as host of “The Late Show.” Bayer told Shiffman that Colbert’s method of using humor and sarcasm to explain science is effective. After she played the Colbert segment in which she appeared to high school students, she asked them for their impressions. “I asked them what they thought about scientists afterwards. They said I seemed pretty normal,” she said. “I asked them if they learned anything about scallop reproduction. They said they got that it was important to the fishery. Getting some high-schoolers to get those two pieces of information out of a TV segment while laughing hysterically is a huge accomplishment.”

EMMC Announces Inaugural Chair of UMaine External Advisory Board

Ian Dickey, MD, FRCSC, lead physician of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s orthopedic surgical specialists, has been invited to serve as the first chair of the University of Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering’s new external advisory board, EMMC announced.

UMaine established the school in 2006 as a collaborative effort between the university, The Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, University of Southern Maine and University of New England. About 40 Ph.D. students and 100 faculty members are currently involved with the school, researching molecular and cellular biology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, toxicology and functional genomics.

“To move to the next stage, the program needs the advice of a high-powered, knowledgeable external advisory board,” said David Neivandt, director of the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. “This board, with Dr. Dickey’s leadership, will provide external counsel and perspective regarding scientific direction and curricula, assist in identifying and securing external funding, aid in networking for students and faculty, and serve as an advocacy role both internal and external to the university.”

The full EMMC news release is online.

2014 GradExpo Winners

More than 100 presentations were made made during the 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition (GradExpo) in separate categories of four areas of competition — poster presentations, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event — as well as a graduate student photo contest.

About $15,000 worth of prize money was awarded at this year’s expo, including the $2,000 President’s Research Impact Award given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.

Following are the winning presentations:

Doctoral Student Featured in Soy Biobased Products Article

Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was featured in a Soy Biobased Products article titled “Ford interns drive sustainability.” Soy Biobased Products is a website run by the United Soybean Board (USB) — a farmer-led, famer-funded organization that invests in research, development and promotion of soy. The article focused on Kiziltas’ work as an intern at Ford Motor Co. where he worked on expanding the use of soy in vehicles by incorporating various types of nanofillers into soy-based foams. “By using soy-based materials, Ford is able to lessen its environmental impact, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cut CO2 emissions,” Kiziltas said.

UMaine Graduate Students Showcase Work at Expo, WABI Reports

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the Graduate Student Government’s 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition (GradExpo) at the University of Maine’s IMRC Center. The GradExpo featured about 106 submissions in four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. More than $8,000 in prizes were awarded to participants. Stanley Levitsky, a graduate student studying intermedia, told WABI it felt great to have his work on display after many hours of preparation.

UMaine Grad Student’s Sap Research Featured in Huffington Post

The Huffington Post reported on maple syrup research being conducted by Jenny Shrum, a Ph.D. candidate in the ecology and environmental sciences graduate program in the University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology. Shrum is researching the biophysical relationships between weather and sap flow. Her goal is to better understand what drives flow and how expected trends in climate may affect the processes and harvesters in the future. Shrum said she’s also trying to understand the links between people’s relationship with their land, where they get their information from, how they perceive climate change, and their motivation for harvesting. “I’m trying to piece together how those four things are related. I think that also plays into whether people will want to collect maple syrup in the future, and which people,” she said.

BDN Publishes Op-Ed by UMaine Grad Student

The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece by University of Maine graduate student and small-business owner Charles E. Scott II, who received his bachelor of social work from UMaine and is currently in the master of social work program. Scott’s article is titled “From a small-business owner: Why Maine shouldn’t let corporations hide profits offshore.”

More Than 100 Students to Showcase Work During GradExpo

University of Maine graduate students will showcase their research and artistic works during the Graduate Student Government’s 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition.

More than $8,000 in prizes will be awarded to participants of the GradExpo. The event will be held 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 3–4 in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center on campus.

The GradExpo will feature four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. About 106 submissions are expected at this year’s event.

The poster and oral presentations will highlight the physical sciences and technology, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. The intermedia and fine arts exhibits will include art works, projects and performances. The PechaKucha competition, open to students in all academic disciplines, invites participants to share their work in a slide show lasting under seven minutes. Unlike the other presentations, the PechaKucha talks will be judged by the audience rather than faculty reviewers.

Two new awards have been added this year, and will be presented during the awards gala, slated for 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 at the IMRC Center.

The Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award worth $500, $300 and $150 will be given to graduate students who are lead instructors of a UMaine course and use innovative and creative teaching methods. Eligible candidates will present at the expo. Jeffrey Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, will designate judges to select the winners.

The UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award worth $250 will be given to a graduate student who earned their undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. Selected candidates will present their research to Alumni Association staff members who will select the winner.

Other awards will include:

Details of the expo are online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Robin Arnold, Graduate Student Government vice president, at robin.arnold@umit.maine.edu or 207.581.2398.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747


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The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
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