2014 Oustanding Graduating Student — Finn Bondeson

Bondeson named Outstanding Graduating Student in College of Engineering

Finn BondersonFinn A. Bondeson of Woodland, Maine, is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Engineering at the University of Maine.

Bondeson majored in civil and environmental engineering. His many honors include membership in Phi Kappa Phi, the Marcus Urann Scholarship and the University of Maine Presidential Distinguished Scholar Award.

Bondeson had two summer internships — with Civil Engineering Services in Brewer, Maine, in 2011, and the second with Stantec Consulting in Limestone, Maine, in 2012 and 2013. Most recently, he’s been involved in potato breeding research led by Gregory Porter, professor of plant, soil and environmental sciences, as well as professor of agronomy. The goal of the research is to introduce disease-resistant traits into commercial potato varieties.

Bondeson’s numerous campus leadership activities included serving as vice president of programming in Sigma Phi Epsilon, vice president of the Senior Skull Society, trip leader with Alternative Breaks and president of the Nordic Ski Club. He also has been a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, the UMaine chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Black Bear Men’s Chorus.

Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupied your time? (clubs, sports, etc.)
While at the university, I have been involved in a number of extracurricular activities. After coming to UMaine, I quickly joined Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, which has been an incredible opportunity for personal growth and a pathway to continued university involvement. In my time as a brother, I have served as philanthropy chair and vice president of programming. In my second year, my brothers introduced me to the Alternative Breaks program, and I initially became a volunteer trip member. In the past two years, I have served the organization as a trip leader, organizing volunteer trips to Arizona and Washington, D.C. I was also a member of the UMaine Nordic Ski Club for my first two years, and continue to cross-country ski during my free time in the winter. I have sung with Black Bear Men’s Choir for five out of my eight semesters, and have enjoyed the opportunity to meet more folks on campus in a musical environment. Most recently, I have served as vice president of the Senior Skull Society Class of 2014; in this role, I am assisting an Athletic Department committee in planning a History Wall to be installed in the renovated New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym.

What are your plans after graduation?
Directly after graduation, I will be spending the summer at home in Aroostook County working on our family businesses, a greenhouse and garden center and a small-scale organic potato farm. While I do not have immediate employment lined up, this summer will serve as a good opportunity to evaluate what I would like to pursue in the future.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has afforded me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of individuals and broaden my interests. I have been fortunate in my four years at UMaine to become involved on campus, something I see as integral to growth during college years as academics. Being a member and leader of multiple groups has taught me much about myself. I have recognized how I can best fit into and contribute to a group of friends, classmates, fraternity brothers or volunteers. I have had the opportunity to meet people that I hope to keep in touch with for a long time.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
Although I have not had one defining experience, I have shared conversations with individuals on campus who have done some traveling or have other cultural backgrounds. Through my exchanges, I have realized that a lack of cultural understanding and acceptance is one of the roots of our world’s problems, but that people as a whole are fundamentally more similar than they are different.

Why UMaine?
When deciding on colleges, the University of Maine afforded me the opportunity to stay in New England for school while getting a good education at a reasonable price. After being here for a few weeks, I soon realized that I would not have been exposed to as much diversity in academics or campus activities had I chosen any of the other schools I was accepted to.

How would you describe UMaine’s academic atmosphere?
UMaine’s academic atmosphere is diverse. Due to our size and stature as a land grant university, it is no surprise. I have often thought it would take me four or five college careers to study everything I want to at this university.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Get involved. Get out and about. Whether it is piecing together an intramural team, joining Greek Life, finding on-campus employment or becoming a member of a major-related club; do something. During your first year, you should only be in your dorm to sleep and study. You never know what opportunities may come from campus involvement.

Find a good place to study. The dorm may be too noisy. Fogler Library may be too quiet. The lobby of Neville Hall may be perfect. You never know. Find what works for you and stick with it. While college is going to be a fun time (inherently), your play must be balanced with hard work and a good space can help make your work less daunting.