Researching. Interning. Learning. Creating. Teaching. They’re all part of the wondrous process of becoming at UMF. And they make for some good pictures and words, too. Look here for vignettes of the UMF experience that may well have first appeared on the @umainefarmington Instagram account to provide prospective applicants with vivid glimpses of life at Farmington. If you’re wondering just what UMF students are up to these days, follow along on Instagram — or look to this monthly feature, where we document student endeavors that illustrate the breadth and power of a UMF education.
Of tacos and taxes
What gives Taco Tuesdays even more flavor? Why it’s taxes, of course! Thus, UMF’s award-winning Financial Literacy Program and the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area offered UMF students and staff tacos with a side of free tax preparation assistance on the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Bjorn Lounge of the Theodora J. Kalikow Education Center.
Among those getting a jump start on filing was Jordi Valls ’21 (center). “It was really convenient to have access to tax help on campus,” he said. “It was the perfect opportunity to get help for free. The tax preparers were quick and efficient, and really helpful.”
Joining Valls at the event were McKayla Marois (above left), Henry Wanat (above right), and Ashely Hutchinson (below).
A new mid-winter view of Merrill
Two days later, campus would be blanketed by a mid-winter storm. But with strong sun and temps reaching the low 50s on Monday, Feb. 24, there was plenty of melting — perfect conditions to glimpse Merrill in a mud puddle behind Brinkman House.
Getting their resumes ready
UMF students Eden LeBlanc (above, center) and Emily Lathrop received expert resume advice from Assistant Director of Advising Lori Soucie during the drop-in Resume Workshop held from noon to 1 p.m. each Wednesday in Room 112 of the Olsen Student Center.
LeBlanc, a senior Business–Economics major, and Lathrop, a senior Business–Psychology major and career services intern, were polishing their resumes in advance of the annual UMF Career and Internship Fair on Monday, March 2, 2020. Organized by UMF’s Center for Student Development, the career fair featuring more than 40 businesses and organizations will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Olsen Student Center. See all the attending businesses and organizations at bit.ly/2020UMFCareerFair
One week later, on Monday, March 9, 2020, the Center for Student Development will hold its annual UMF Education Career Fair for graduating K–12 education majors from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Olsen Student Center. See all the attending schools and educational organizations at bit.ly/2020UMFEducationCareerFair
Reflecting on the day ahead
Scrambled eggs and a view of the fresh snowfall made for a great start to the day in UMF’s South Dining Hall on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.
Taking a round for the team
UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition members Lily Scribner (left) and AJ Saulnier took in a round of applause after delivering an update on the SCC’s activities to members of the Maine Campus Compact who gathered for their Steering Committee Meeting at UMF on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.
Scribner and Saulnier reported on the SCC’s efforts to reduce waste and the University’s ecological footprint, increase awareness about climate change, and serve students in need through the Thrifty Beaver Co-Op, a distinctive thrift store and food bank run by the SCC on the ground floor of UMF’s Fusion Center.
Farmington is where the good workers are
The Einar A. Olsen Student Center was chockablock with employment opportunities on Monday, Feb. 3, as UMF’s 2020 Summer Camp Job Fair was in full swing.
Among the UMF students meeting with recruiters from 36 summer camps was first-year Jesraj Patange of Windermere, Fla. (left), who discussed equestrian counselor opportunities with Jen Hayes, Horse Program Director at Oceanwood Camp & Conference Center in Ocean Park, Maine.
First-year Abriana Deslauriers of Sabattus, Maine (right), learned about summer job openings at Camp Chewonki in Wiscassett, Maine, from Camp Director Charlie Fear.
And junior Jenny Hancock of Gilmanton, N.H., delivered her resume to Kayleigh Lepage, Assistant Director and Girls Head Counselor of Maine’s Kents Hill and Bridgton Sports Camps.
Ron Hall, Executive Director of Maine Summer Camps said his 140 member organizations hire more than 10,000 people each summer — and UMF is one of the more fruitful venues for recruiting.
“When I open up online registration for summer camps to recruit at UMF, the slots are all gone in 15 minutes,” said Hall. “UMF traditionally has a lot of students who want to gain experience working with children of all ages. I know recruiters who have hired three UMF students in a single visit to campus.”
UMF’s upcoming employment events include its annual Career Fair at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 2, and the annual Education Job Fair at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 9. Learn more at bit.ly/UMFCareerEvents.
To serve and protect
When not on patrol — or providing a student’s dead-battery car with a jumper-cable assist — Campus Police Sergeant and Assistant Director of Public Safety Wayne Drake can be found in his Olsen Student Center satellite office, where the door is always open.
“I enjoy being accessible to students, and I see them as my clients,” says Drake, who served with the Farmington Police Department and enjoyed a career in banking before joining Campus Police and Public Safety at UMF nearly two years ago. “Their trust isn’t something I can expect. I have to earn it. It’s important to me that students feel comfortable reporting issues and concerns to me.”
Drake, who serves on the Board of Directors for SAPRS (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services) in Farmington, also manages the @umfcampuspd Instagram and @umfcampuspolice Facebook accounts, where the department mascot, Justice Beaver (not to be confused with Justin Bieber), makes regular appearances.
Ryan’s first day at Saddleback
Ryan Brueninghaus, a first-year Outdoor Recreation Business Administration major from Duluth, Minn., recently made the most of a bluebird day when he summited Maine’s Saddleback Mountain to ski some post-storm freshies.
Guiding Brueninghaus on his first foray up Maine’s eighth-highest peak was Farmington’s Assistant Snowboard Coach and Senior Admissions Counselor Shawn Russell ’16. “I’m thankful to have an amazing coach that will go out of his way to give me the chance to ski such an incredible mountain,” said Breuninghaus, who is an accomplished freeride and slopestyle athlete on Farmington’s competitive Snowsports Team. “The hike up was almost as enjoyable as the ski down. It was a perfect bluebird day with fresh snow from the previous storm. Saddleback has completely different terrain than what I am used to skiing back home, so it was a great new experience for me.”
While Russell skinned to the top of the ski resort on his split board, Brueninghaus snowshoed up on gear provided by Farmington’s Mainely Outdoors program. “It took us about an hour and a half to reach the summit,” said Russell. “After a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches, we skied blower powder in the glades the whole way down. We had a blast on a beautiful day.”
Brueninghaus, who competes in slopestyle and rail jam events for Farmington, qualified for the 2020 U.S Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships by winning both events at the USCSA Regionals held in late February at Whaleback Mountain in Enfield, N.H. He will represent UMF at the USCSA Nationals by competing in both events at Whiteface Resort in Lake Placid, N.Y., on March 11 and 12. (Photos by Shawn Russell ’16.)
Lending a helping hand to the Special Olympics
In late January, the 50th Special Olympics Maine Winter Games got by with a little help from some UMF friends when nearly 40 members of the women’s basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, softball and soccer teams showed up to volunteer at Sugarloaf.
Led by UMF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Advisor and Field Hockey Head Coach Cyndi Pratt and SAAC President, Women’s Soccer Goalie, and Softball player Callie Hammer ’21 (above, center), the UMF volunteers helped set up and serve the post-Winter Games dinner, helped prepare boxed dinners for all athletes and families, and helped prep for the Winter Games masquerade dance among other things.
“It was really nice to get some of the teams together to help out with an organization that means a lot to me,” said Hammer, who is majoring in special education at Farmington. “I have volunteered with the Special Olympics multiple times, and the appreciation we receive for helping at these events makes me want to go back each year.
“Having the opportunity to represent Farmington at Sugarloaf was an honor. I think I can speak for all the UMF students who volunteered at the Special Olympics that we felt privileged to be able to help out the athletes,” she continued. “It’s a very humbling experience to be able to see how happy and proud the athletes were to not only be at Sugarloaf but to have Farmington athletes there as well.” (Photos by Bethany Lebel ’14.)
Explaining our astral origins
On a late January afternoon, Professor of Geology Doug Reusch delivered an impromptu lesson about the history of the universe revealed in the granitic samples collected by his colleague Professor of Geology David Gibson and displayed on the west-facing window sills of Ricker Hall.
West-central Maine is “a world-class pegmatite/gem district, rich with minerals such as tourmaline, beryl, and lepidolite that contain high concentrations of the very low-abundance elements lithium, beryllium, and boron,” he explained.
Formed in the cores of stars, these three low-abundance elements were outliers in the early hours of our universe. “At the end of Day One, universe matter consisted almost entirely of the elements hydrogen and helium, with only very small amounts of the next three elements: lithium, beryllium, and boron.”
The takeaway? “We are made of stardust.”
Lots to look forward to on the first day back
A new semester brings new possibilities at Farmington. After completing her intensive teaching practicum last semester, sophomore Elementary Education major Abbie Hunt of Monmouth, Maine, says she’s eager to experience the academic diversity and extracurricular opportunities that lie ahead.
“I’m looking forward to my drawing class because I have not taken an art class since I was in eighth grade. And my honors marine biology course has been very interesting so far,” said Hunt on the first day of classes this semester.
“I’m also excited to join the outdoor track team. I ran cross country for Farmington in the fall, and it will be good to run competitively again in the spring. I’m also looking forward to skiing at Titcomb Mountain and ice skating at Hippach Field with my friends. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship has some great events planned for this semester. I’m ready for all of it.” (Photo by Bob Bailie.)
What better way to de-stress ahead of final exams than to make some new furry friends? That’s exactly why the UMF student organization ACE — the Association of Campus Entertainment — brought a petting zoo to the University’s Mantor Green on December 11. Among the UMF students who spent some of the midday basking in the adoration of the visiting bunnies, llamas, and goats were …
first-years Mullein Francis and Paige Lilly,
first-years Dylan Charlton and Simon Spear,
senior Tegan Bradley,
first-year Molly Whittington,
and first-year Kaci Bates.
The campus guests appeared to enjoy the visit as well.
In the run-up to finals, Mantor is home away from home
The UMF campus offers many venues for focused, intense study, but Mantor remains a favorite with students, especially in the week prior to final exams.
Among the students prepping for success on December 12 were junior David Cummings (right) of Upper Saddle River, N.J., who was consulting on a final project with French language assistant Alexandre Drouet of LeMans, France. Cummings said he had to create a video blog, in French, about a recent trip to New York City for the introductory-level language course.
At a nearby table Julianne Andreades of South Portland, Maine (left) and Emma Payson of Cumberland, Maine, were working on a final Sociology project focused on the concept of syncretism. (It’s the process when two or more cultural systems blend together to create a new, distinct system, the two classmates explained.) What made their course work a bit sweeter were slices of cake delivered by one of Payson’s classmates in a 300-level Business Economics course — the same course in which she and her group-project partners had a 70-page paper to finish and submit by midnight that night.
On the penultimate day of finals week, this student was framed entering Mantor.
And that’s a wrap on student teaching
On December 9, UMF education majors who completed their 16 weeks of student teaching during the fall semester delivered their portfolio presentations to the University community — demonstrating their skill with developing and implementing lesson and unit plans, assessments, and learning activities. Also on full display was their readiness for success in their own classrooms, with their own students. Among the seniors delivering portfolio presentations were …
Early Childhood Education major Haley Felkel,
Secondary Education-Mathematics major Matthew Breer,
Special Education major Clare Dalton,
Elementary Education major Jessica Freeborn,
Early Childhood Education major Lydia Violette-Lee,
and Early Childhood Special Education major Mattie Lajoie (with her mother Cindy Foster, left, and UMF Internship Coordinator Meghan Price ’02 looking on).
Among those taking in the presentations were Lecturer in Education and Field Supervisor Kathy Miles ’73,
and Head Coach of Women’s Soccer Molly Wilkie ’06 and Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse Bethany Lebel ’14.
This capstone presentation is made at the conclusion of student teaching, an intensive and immersive semester-long program, in which UMF education majors seeking state teacher certification work alongside a mentor teacher in a public school and are further mentored by UMF field supervision staff who are themselves veteran educators and/or school administrators.
“I feel well prepared to go on to my own classroom and my future,” says Lajoie, who will graduate from UMF in December certified to teach kindergarten through third grade in public schools. “My dream job is on the horizon.”
Derek ’21 and Jared ’23 McLaughlin brought brotherly love to Leib Field this fall
Teammates and brothers Derek ’21 (left) and Jared ’23 McLaughlin from Winthrop, Maine, wrapped up their first college soccer season together at UMF in early November 2019.
“Not a lot of people get the chance to play college athletics with a sibling,” says big brother Derek, who is majoring in community health education. “For me, being able to play college soccer with my brother is an amazing opportunity. We played together for a year in high school, and I definitely thought that was the end of us playing on the same team. I’m glad that wasn’t the case and that we are back at it again as Beavers.”
“It’s been four years since the last time I could play a sport with him,” says Jared, who, for now, is a liberal arts undeclared major. “It’s great being on the field with him again and having more time to play with each other.”
Becoming ACEs at career engagement
Zach Davis ’23 (left), a liberal arts undeclared major from Wilton, Maine, listens as Cyndi McShane ’07, the instructor for ACE 152: Career and Major Engagement and assistant director of career services, discusses ways to engage employers at an upcoming UMF career fair. “We’re a community of explorers who are trying new things and reflecting on our experiences in order to learn more about ourselves,” says McShane of the class that is primarily composed of undeclared students. “ACE 152 is designed is to help students learn more about themselves, including possible majors and careers, by developing their self-concept and exploring the idea of purpose.”
“I value a supportive and respectful atmosphere in which I can use my abilities to my fullest potential,” says Davis, when prompted about his fields of interest. “Something I hope I can get from this class is understanding the scope of careers that are out there for me and determining what will match what I’m looking for in the workplace.”
Approximately 20 percent of students enter UMF as undeclared majors. Taking ACE 152 helps students gain a better understanding of what majors they would like to explore and what career paths they may eventually decide to follow. By the end of the course, students will have participated in and reflected upon a number of career development experiences, created a portfolio exemplifying these experiences, and shared their findings with classmates.
By designing his own major at UMF, Malloy ’20 puts himself on track to become a doctor of physical therapy
Chase Malloy ’20 of Madison, Maine, (above right) began his academic career at UMF as a biology major on the pre-med track. But during his junior year, after interning at Allied Physical Therapy in Farmington, he decided to create a self-designed Pre-Physical Therapy track major for himself that includes courses in biology, community health, and rehabilitation.
The year-long internship experience, says, Malloy, “reassured me that physical therapy is the career I want to pursue, and it provided me with a great experience for graduate school applications.”
Stephanie Flanagan, office manager and co-founder of Allied Physical Therapy, says she and her husband, Dennis — the long-standing practice’s lead PT — have employed UMF interns for more than 20 years.
“We’ve watched many of them go on to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician’s assistant programs,” says Flanagan, pictured above with Malloy.
Flanagan says that Chase and other UMF interns play a “strong role in assisting our providers and office staff, keeping us on time and moving forward,” and in return, “they gain knowledge and experience that helps propel them to their next step.”
Malloy, who has already applied to several Doctor of Physical Therapy programs across New England, says he plans to matriculate directly after graduating from UMF this spring.
Parent ’21 helps improve the patient experience at Maine Medical Center
Psychology major Andrew Parent ’21 of Scarborough, Maine, spent summer 2019 interning with Maine Medical Center’s Patient Experience Team. Of the more than 1,400 applications received for positions at MMC, Parent’s was among the 6 percent that made the cut. He spent the last three months as a mentor to junior volunteers, conducting staff interviews, planning events, presenting KPIs (key performance indicators), and rounding with nurses to check on patients and families regarding their stays at MMC. As for his own key performance indicator, Parent was named MMC’s July Employee of the Month.
“My role at the hospital involved me with numerous departments all over the hospital. Making connections with people is something UMF’s small campus — the ease with which you get to know staff and faculty — taught me how to do,” says Parent. “Being in a hospital is rarely a fun time in someone’s life. As a psychology major and working with patients, this experience has allowed me to develop a deeper compassion towards patients and their family members during difficult times.”
Parent is now back on campus, but his legacy at Maine Medical Center, if implemented, could save the hospital tens of thousands of dollars.
“The hospital often has to reimburse patients for their lost items,” he explains. “One day while my boss and I were walking down the hall, I made a comment about creating a KPI revolved around lost belongings. Realizing that the need was there, we presented the idea to the Operational Excellence Team (they are in charge of the KPIs) who agreed it was a great idea. The implementation process takes a lot of time, so assuming it gets implemented, it’ll include the unit with the most reported lost belongings, save the hospital a lot of money, while also better serving its patients and families.”
Newby ’21 schedules some career-development experience into her summer employment
Some 150 students are developing critical communication, time-management, and executive functioning skills through on-campus employment opportunities at UMF this summer. Among them is Billie Rose Newby ’21, who is working full time in the University’s Office of Conferences and Events. From weddings to weekly board meetings, she’s helping to schedule and coordinate events across campus.
“Working at Conferences and Events during the summer is one of the most rewarding decisions I have made during my college career,” says Newby, who is majoring in English and creative writing. “The hours working in a productive and busy office simulate the responsibility of a job in the workforce. It is a highly valuable experience that prepares me for a post-college job in a unique way.”
Newby’s supervisor, Ernestine Hutchinson, says she intentionally structures student employment opportunities to maximize “connections between learning in the classroom and learning on the job.”
“As a supervisor, I encourage students to consider their position as an opportunity to connect with their community, on and off campus,” says Hutchinson. “I want students to gain skills that will help them be both engaged students and better prepared for employment after college.”
Thomsen ’21 gives Gardiner a map for success
Natalie Thomsen ’21 (Photo by April Mulherin.)
The City of Gardiner needed a digital inventory of its sewer and stormwater systems to better understand current resources and system maintenance. Enter Natalie Thomsen ’21, a business economics major with minors in legal studies and geography, who is interning with Gardiner’s Department of Public Works through the Maine State Government Summer Internship Program. Thomsen is putting her knowledge of GIS to work by creating a digital map that accurately accounts for the city’s storm and wastewater assets.
“We at the City have been working for some time to generate a usable and reliable GIS map system to identify our sewer and storm water collection systems as a whole,” said Tony LaPlante, the Gardiner’s director of public works. “Natalie has done a wonderful job tying all the information we have collected into a user-friendly tool that the City staff will be able to utilize.”
For Thomsen, who received the 2019 Sumner P. and Flora A.P. Mills Community Service Award for giving more than 85 hours of community service to several local organizations this year, the interest in serving the City of Gardiner comes naturally.
“I have always been interested in community service and leading by example,” says Thomsen. “This internship helps me pursue my career goals while performing a valuable service for the Gardiner community.”
Leonard ’20 and her classmates learn the ropes in Northern Ireland
Elementary Education major Alyssa Leonard ’20 and her UMF classmates cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland during a short-term travel geology course in Ireland and Scotland led by Associate Professor of Geology Julia Daly.
“Being a non-geology major, I have learned so much that I can apply as an educator in my own future classroom,” said Leonard. “Going across the Rope Bridge was a great experience. I don’t have a fear of heights so I was just able to enjoy the beautiful views.”
Offered each year between the traditional semesters, UMF’s faculty-led short-term travel courses provide students with opportunities to study abroad, without having to commit to a full semester in a single location.
See more of what students experienced in Daly’s Ireland–Scotland course online at https://www.instagram.com/mainemountainponds/
UMF students get up close with Andean archeology and culture
Students on a short-term travel course to Peru led by Luke and Nicole Kellett, both professors of anthropology, break for lunch in the cloud forest in the photo to the left.
Of the scene, Luke said, “We are eating lunch on our very steep, narrow and curvy road during our 11,000-foot descent into the Amazon basin and Manu National Park. Our guides and drivers are standing with spotting scopes, for wildlife, in the background.”
The travel course offers students an opportunity to explore Peru’s distinctive archaeology and anthropology, and examine Andean cultures from prehistoric to historic and contemporary times. Students consider the dynamic cultural developments of the region through visiting a number of important coastal and highland archaeological sites, including Machu Picchu, pictured right.
Letze ’20 and her classmates experience Panamanian ecosystems and culture
Senior Grace Letze ’20 (holding a walking stick) listens as Mr. Kelly of the La Lorna cacao farm in Bocas del Toro, Panama, discusses local tropical fruits and their medicinal uses.
Letze and her peers explored Panama on a short-term travel course led by Professors Nancy Prentiss and Mariella Passarelli earlier this month. The interdisciplinary course involved the study of Panamanian tropical ecosystems through experiential learning. Students gained an appreciation of natural communities and habitat dynamics through the study of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna on coral reefs, tropical rain forests, and cloud forests. The course also covered Panamanian cultures and the impact of humans on natural environments through the building of the Panama Canal and problems associated with tourism.
Dolo ’19 reflects on being first-gen at Farmington
Some 48 percent of students currently enrolled at UMF are the first in their families to attend college. With help from Johnson Scholars, a federally funded TRIO program at UMF that provides academic and personal support to students who are the first in their families to attend a four-year college, students who come from families with limited incomes, or students who have physical or learning disabilities, first-generation students find Farmington a welcoming place to pursue their academic and career aspirations.
“Being the first to graduate college means a lot not only to me, but to my families as well,” says Yamah Dolo ’19 of Providence, R.I., pictured in the University’s Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center. “It can be overwhelming to be first generation. Everyone expects so much from you, but with their encouragement and prayers, I can say that I am proud to be done with my undergraduate degree and looking forward to the next step in life.”
Dolo ’19 graduated on Saturday, May 11, with majors in psychology and early childhood special education. She will spend the coming year working for City Year in Manchester, N.H., and preparing to apply for graduate school.
Saulnier ’21 serves up sustainability in UMF’s South Dining Hall
AJ Saulnier ’21, a sustainability intern at Sodexo (the University’s dining services provider) and student leader of UMF’s Sustainable Campus Coalition, displays a tray of redfish caught in the Gulf of Maine.
“The fact that UMF has achieved the goal of obtaining 100 percent responsibly harvested white fish from the Gulf of Maine is an astounding accomplishment,“ says Saulnier of Wauregan, Conn., who is majoring in political science with a minor in legal studies. “By contributing to Maine’s economy, we are making it a better place for all of us to live. I hope we will continue to work with the different communities in Maine, and source as much food from nearby as we possibly can.”
By sourcing less well-known or under-loved species like pollock and redfish, UMF is helping to drive demand for a broader range of abundant, responsibly harvested species from the Gulf of Maine. This, in turn, diversifies fishermen’s options and helps build stronger economies in the state’s coastal communities. UMF pledged to commit to sourcing 20 percent of its food within 175 miles of campus by 2020, but has already met the goal by now sourcing 25 percent of its food locally.
Kimmel ’20 hones career-readiness skills through on-campus employment
More than 900 students annually develop critical communication, time-management, and executive functioning skills through on-campus employment opportunities at UMF. Among this year’s student employees is IT Help Desk staffer David Kimmel Jr. ’20 (left), shown assisting a classmate in Mantor Library.
“I learned people skills that are much more valuable than I think a lot of people really realize, and I learned how to handle stressful situations. Both have honestly helped me in the past with internships and other jobs I’ve had,” says Kimmel ’20 of Westbrook, Maine. “When it’s a busy day at the Help Desk, you also really learn how to multitask and make sure that you handle not only what’s going on around you, but also maintain communication with supervisors to make sure that if they need any help you can give them a hand.”
Forbes ’19 pens words on winter for National Haiku Day
Aislinn Forbes ’19, a creative writing and history double major from Andover, Maine, celebrated National Haiku Day by writing her very own, titled “Winter Manners”:
Though cold, I am still
your guest. Do not say goodbye
before I have left.
“Last week when it snowed, I was so angry,” said Forbes. “Then a friend said, ‘That’s just how it is in Maine,’ and I started thinking about how important winter is in this state. So many industries here rely on snow, and it’s so beautiful. So I wrote this Haiku, hoping people might not be so eager to dismiss winter.” (April 2019)
Odong ’19 shares his scholarship at 21st Michael D. Wilson Symposium
Alfred Odong ’19, a senior biology major from Portland, Maine, and Julia Daly, associate professor of geology, consider a poster presentation at the 21st Michael D. Wilson Symposium, a campus-wide showcase of original student research and creative work, held this year on April 24.
“I have spent fall and spring semesters working on a research project with my professor, Dr. Rachel Hovel, in which we investigated watershed and lake characteristics that structured Zooplankton communities of nine high-elevation lakes in Maine’s western mountains,” said Odong. “To share our research with the UMF community on Symposium day was the most rewarding feeling. I am grateful to have had the opportunity.”
Symposium gives students the opportunity to present their work in a professional setting through papers, oral and poster presentations, original student readings, art gallery exhibits, and performances. The day-long forum helps students gain experience with making public presentations and translating their knowledge to a broad audience.
“This treasured tradition never loses its excitement,” said Eric Brown, interim president at UMF. “It’s the culmination of close to a year’s worth of creative exploration and in-depth academic research by our students that raises the University’s collective intellectual well-being. I am always impressed by our students’ level of dedication to pursue new ideas and share what they’ve learned.” (April 2019 photo by Bob Bailie.)
Soucie ’19 interns at the Maine State Archives
Madeline Soucie ’19 of Auburn, Maine, has spent much of her final semester with Maine’s founding fathers who helped put the former district in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the path to statehood nearly 200 years ago. A history major at UMF, Soucie is interning at the Maine State Archives, where she is poring over historical letters, journals, documents, and surveyor information to create an online index of original source material relating to the 1820 act that gave the Union its twenty-third state.
“They speak to me,” says Soucie of the archival documents. “It’s so important to not only know what happened historically but also why it happened, how people felt about it and what they decided to do about it. Being able to read their first-hand experiences is just like being there.” (March 2019)
Lotrian finds new perspectives in the complexities of the past
In Reacting to the Past taught by Assistant Professor of History Michael Schoeppner, Charles Lotrian contemplates his role as Otter Scraper during the Cherokee National Council meetings of the mid-1830s. In the role-play game, Lotrian and his classmates debated treaty stipulations among themselves and with federal officials, including President Andrew Jackson. The setting and individualized victory objectives require students to grapple with the economic, political, and social complexities of the era, while practicing writing, speaking, and negotiation skills.
“I am really surprised by how everybody, including myself, got caught up in the game,” says Lotrian, an exchange student from Le Mans, France. “Even outside of the class, a tiny part of our character stays in our everyday life. We keep thinking about our strategy, how to reconcile our interests with others’ in order to succeed.”
“From a faculty perspective, Reacting to the Past games provide students with a different perspective when examining historical documents and artifacts and incentivizes persuasive writing and speaking,” says Schoeppner. “Students are assigned historical roles at pivotal moments in history, and they have to try to realize the future that their historical roles sought.”
Later in the class, Lotrian, as Otter Scraper, shakes hands with Thomas Watson ’21, in the role of Principal Chief John Ross, after discussing a removal treaty to push the Cherokee Nation out of Georgia. (March 2019)
Lash ’19 and Clarke ’22 choreograph their conflict
Hope Lash ’19 (far right) of Waldoboro, Maine, and her scene partner Amanda Clarke ’22 of Southbury, Conn., practice a fight sequence they wrote and choreographed in a Commedia dell’Arte class taught by Instructor of Theatre Jayne Decker (far left). A course typically taught at the graduate level at other universities, Commedia dell’Arte is offered by Decker to UMF undergraduates as a key component of the theatre curriculum. Decker begins with a study of stock characters, physical performances, and improvisational style and adds work in stage combat and fight-scene choreography.
“Stage fighting is the truest test of an actor’s awareness of their body,” says Lash. “Throughout the class I have been learning my body and its movements in ways I was never conscious of. This new gained awareness of self has allowed me to do things I never thought possible, especially stage fighting. It takes serious control, and trust in your partner to convincingly appear as if you are hurting someone, or being hurt yourself.”
Hardy ’22 spends spring break learning gene editing techniques
Portia Hardy ’22 of Winthrop, Maine, spent her March spring break at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab in Bar Harbor, attending a short course in genome engineering. Hardy and six other UMF students learned new gene editing techniques using a new tool that allows researchers to change a specific gene in an organism in order to determine its function.
“I was able to see firsthand what it would be like to have a job in a lab,” says the earth and environmental sciences major. “We were able to use really wonderful microscopes which I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.” (March 2019)