Senior Emma Brickman ’19 Chose UMaine for its Tight-Knit Community

Senior Emma Brickman ’19 sat down to talk to the Alumni Association about her choices for returning to Maine, changing career paths, and how to prioritize getting involved.

What town or city do you live in when the university is not in session?  

I am from Fort Kent, and in the past have gone home when school is not in session. For the past two summers I have spent my summers elsewhere; in 2017 I worked in Belfast over the summer, and this year I chose to stay in Orono throughout the school year and live and work here.

What is your major (or intended major)?

Social Work.

Why did you choose that major and fields of study?

In high school, I thought I wanted to study nursing, so I took a Certified Nurse’s Aide class at a tech school my junior year. I spent a lot of time in that field volunteering at the local hospital, doing clinical hours, and eventually working as a licensed CNA. Through this experience, I realized that nursing wasn’t my passion, but I fell in love with working with the older population. When I began college, I tried out a couple of different majors but none stuck. I found geriatric social work, and immediately realized this was the field for me. I love the flexibility of social work, and how I will be able to do the kind of work that I found my passion in.

Why did you choose to attend UMaine?

When I first graduated high school, I wanted to try something new, so I went out of state. After doing that for two years, I realized that I missed Maine and didn’t want to be anywhere else. When I transferred to UMaine, one of the attractions was how tight-knit the Social Work program is; I knew I would be getting a lot of attention from faculty, and that I would get to know my classmates well and work closely with them. Both of my grandparents were professors at UMaine so when I was very young I spent time on campus, and even though I don’t remember it, I felt a connection when I came back. Though UMaine is over 3 hours away from my hometown, the sense of community here is strong. I’m glad that I experienced living elsewhere- I enjoyed it, but it definitely solidified to me that no matter where I go, I’ll feel most at home when I come back to Maine.

What UMaine-affiliated clubs or organizations are you involved in?

I am currently vice president of the Student Social Work Organization, and have also served as its treasurer and junior class representative. I’m also vice president and one of the first members of a newer campus group called Project Generations, which was founded by social work students during the 2016/2017 school year. I have been a Black Bear Mentor during my 3 years on campus as well.

Favorite place to hang out on campus?

Buchanan Alumni House! It’s a beautiful building and there’s always a quiet place to study.

Favorite place to hang out off campus?

I love going to the Orono Public Library.

What is your most memorable event or experience as a UMaine student?

My first Maine Day! Even though it was rainy, we had a blast volunteering in the morning, attending the big barbeque, and watching the oozeball tournament.

Aside from coursework and campus life, what are your interests or favorite things to do?

I enjoy playing guitar, reading, and spending time outdoors. I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, and I’m always looking for new places to go to, or events to experience around Maine.

Who is/are your favorite UMaine professor(s) and what makes them stand out?

All of my social work professors have had a positive impact on me! In particular, Alison Mitchell has been one of my favorite professors, which is funny because I was nervous for both of her classes —  social work research and policy. She stood out to me because she really cares about making sure all the students are learning in a way that works for them. She finds a way to relate it to our interests and get students engaged.

What year do you expect to receive your bachelor’s degree?  

In the Spring of 2019.

What are your plans for the year immediately following your UMaine graduation?

I’m currently applying to graduate programs, but I’m also open to getting work experience first before getting my MSW.

What do you see yourself doing professionally once you’ve finished your education?

Once I’ve finished my education, I would love to work with older adults at a community level.

What are the keys to being a successful student at UMaine?  

Get involved! Make the most of your time here, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or put yourself out there. From my experience, everyone I’ve reached out to has been extremely supportive and repeatedly gone above and beyond to help me out with academics, extracurriculars, and planning for my future. Although you have to be realistic about managing your time, if you are able to get involved with some clubs and activities, work on campus, and/or get to know professors and other staff, it becomes a wonderful support system.

Any other advice or comments?

Go Blue!