Recent News

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Travel to Italy with Fellow Alumni

Registration for our Alumni Travel Program trip to Italy closes on May 24th!

From the canals in Venice to the Colosseum in Rome, we’ll take in all that these beautiful Italian vistas have to offer! Join us November 11-23, 2019. Watch the informational webinar to get your questions answered: Or call Collette Travel at 800-581-8942 and refer to booking #934701.

Largest 3D Printer in the World to be Installed at UMaine

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the University of Maine will commence a bio-based 3D printing program that could prove useful in revitalizing Maine’s forest products industry through finding new uses for wood products.

One of the first uses of the printer will be to print a boat mold for boat builders to use. The substance used in the process will be a wood-based plastic developed at the University of Maine.

“The material is nanocellulose, basically a tree ground up to its nano structure,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, founding executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “These materials have properties similar to metals; we are taking those and putting them in bioplastics so we can make very strong plastics that we can make almost anything with.”

UMaine and Oak Ridge will receive $20 million in federal funds for the program and hope to build it to apply to large-scale applications. The funding will be split equally between the two facilities; UMaine will draw on Oak Ridge’s expertise in 3D printing, and Oak Ridge will learn from UMaine’s composites center and learn about the cellulose fiber.

“Maine is the most forested state in the United States,” Senator Angus King said. “So we’re sitting on a gold mine of fiber and the question is how do we utilize it, how do we create value, how do we create jobs, and this is an entirely new use.”

The printer will be installed on campus sometime in October.


Alum Receives Investment on Shark Tank

Eric Roy ’09 recently appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, securing a $400,000 investment from Mark Cuban for his Washington, D.C.-based water filter company Hydroviv.

Hydroviv makes custom water filters according to the customer’s water quality. It initially began in 2015 as a charitable effort in response to Flint, Michigan’s, water crisis. Roy designed, developed, and donated thousands of lead removal filters for families and child-focused organizations impacted by high lead levels.

Roy, who received his Ph.D. in oceanography from UMaine, notes that he got “a front-row seat of entrepreneurial science” working in Dr. Carl Tripp’s lab on campus.

Watch the episode online here.


NASA Scientist Ziegelaar ‘96 Tells 2019 UMaine Graduates that Teamwork is the Key to Success

Bridget Ziegelaar ’96, an Old Town native, addressed more than 1,700 students at the University of Maine’s 217th Commencement on May 11 in Orono.

Ziegelaar, the operations manager for NASA’s International Space Station Research Integration Office, is responsible for leading process improvements that maximize research and development on the International Space Station. She is in charge of a team of NASA scientists based in Houston, Texas.

The team’s missions depend on effective teamwork. “In those situations, teamwork is what will help you succeed,” she said.

Ziegelaar encouraged graduates to have faith in themselves, trust their potential, and to not abandon their dreams and goals because they may seem out of reach. She cited a teacher who encouraged her and gave her the confidence to pursue her dream. The mechanical engineering major credits the University of Maine in giving her the foundation she needed to be successful in her field.

“I can honestly say that the four years I spent at the University of Maine were some of the best years of my life,” said Ziegelaar. “They have propelled me farther than I ever thought possible. I have spent decades now working side by side with brilliant people from the best universities in the country, and I have never, not once, felt less educated, less prepared, or less capable than anyone else. That is a testament to the outstanding programs at the University of Maine.”

UMaine’s 2019 Distinguished Maine Professor, Sandra Caron ’79, ’82G, also addressed graduates and guests. Caron reflected on two memorable conversations she experienced years ago at UMaine–one with her faculty mentor during her undergraduate days; the other with an inspiring student shortly after Caron joined the faculty.

“The days we live rush by, filled with mundane moments and routines,” she shared. “It’s easy to forget the power we have to change the lives of others and the influence those we admire have on us. What those people say to us, how we observe them live their lives, can make all the difference in nurturing our talents and passions and empowering our dreams.”

Florence Reed of Surry, founder of Sustainable Harvest International, received an honorary degree. The organization has helped 3,000 smallholder farms in Central America convert 26,000 acres of degraded land to regenerative agroecology practices.

Di Giovanni ’83 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Award-winning journalist and author Janine di Giovanni ’83, Jackson Senior Fellow and Professor of Practice at Yale, was recently named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow. She is one of 168 scholars, artists, and writers selected this year.

The award will allow Di Giovanni the opportunity to pursue research on minorities in the Middle East for a book project titled The Vanishing, which will be published in 2021 by Public Affairs. As a journalist, she has reported on war, conflict, and its aftermath for over 25 years in four continents. She is also a specialist in strategic communications.

More information about Di Giovanni can be found here.

UMaine Student Wins Free Tuition for a Year

Kendall Willard ’20 is the 2019 winner of the University of Maine Alumni Association’s annual tuition raffle.

The winning ticket, drawn by UMAA board member Sarah Dubay ’97, ’00G, was purchased for Kendall by her mother, who stated that the win was “a wonderful surprise.” The winning raffle ticket will cover the cost of in-state tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year, worth almost $9,000.

Willard came to the University of Maine in 2017 to major in civil engineering and is also a member of the women’s track and field team.

The drawing of the winning ticket can be viewed here.


Harkins Specializes in Startups

Professor of Management Jason Harkins has a particular interest in startup companies, including the challenges they face, and what makes them successful. His research and hands-on work with startups takes place both in and out of the classroom.

Harkins joined the UMaine faculty in 2008, after receiving his education west of the Mississippi.

In layperson’s terms, what are your academic (teaching, research, scholarship) interests? 

Entrepreneurship, particularly the unique challenges of building scalable companies. 

Why did you choose to pursue those interests?
Scalable entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to change local economies. The majority of all net new jobs are created by new, small firms that have the potential to become big firms very quickly. As such, these are a very interesting population of firms to work with and learn about.

What is your most memorable event or experience as a member of the UMaine faculty?

I started Scratchpad Accelerator, the first seed accelerator in New England north of Boston, as a UMaine Program in collaboration with the Maine Technology Institute during my sabbatical in 2015. I worked harder, and learned more during those six months than I had ever done before.

Of all the courses you’ve taught at UMaine, which one do you enjoy the most? Why?

Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation (BUA 344) because it is where I get to talk most specifically about this unique population of companies, and hopefully inspire students to create a startup or join one!

What is your favorite place on campus to spend time?

In my office in DP Corbett.

Aside from your faculty role, what are your interests or favorite things to do?

I work extensively with startups outside of my teaching and I love the energy and passion they bring to everything they do. Outside of that, I love to spend time with family.

What advice for students do you have to help them succeed?

Come to class prepared and ready to think and ask questions. If you don’t steer your education toward what you want and need to learn for your career, you will end up as a passenger at UMaine, driven by the currents of those around you.

What advice for new faculty members do you have to help them succeed?

Know your why and find people who share your passion

Any other advice or comments?

Give before you get in every aspect of life. Your mindset matters more than you can possibly imagine, so adopt an abundance mindset.


Dias ’19 Loves UMaine for its Family Focus

Amy Dias ’19, a New Hartford, CT native, wants to teach everyone to love literature the way that she does — in fact, she hopes to make a career of it.

What is your major (or intended major)?

English with an Analytical Writing Concentration, and a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Minor.

Why did you choose that major and fields of study?

I want to teach others to have a love for literature like I do. I want to help others that may have literacy troubles to learn to cope and enjoy reading.

Why did you choose to attend UMaine?

I am a nontraditional student and the services UMaine offers to those that have children was the best around. I was able to live in Family Housing and send my kids to the University child care when we first moved here.

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

I am the president of the NSA, Nontraditional Student Association, a past president of CANS, Commuter and Nontraditional Student group. I am also a member of TRIO SSS.

Favorite place to hang out on campus?

The Wade Center, Commuter Lounge in the Memorial Union.

Favorite place to hang out off campus?

I spend a lot of time in University Park, the family housing unit where I live. Or at the movies.

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

Going to the NEWCA, Northeast Writing Center Association, conference in Connecticut with the Writing Center to present my research project on Nontraditional Students in the Writing Center.

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

Going to see new movies in the cinema, hiking and walking the bike path, spending time with my children, going to the ocean/beach.

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

Paige Mitchell — she taught my Writing Center internship class and my independent study. She always starts every class with a breathing exercise to get everyone’s mind clear and ready for the class. Pushing away the stress and refocusing. She cares for each student as well as the Writing Center, preparing us for almost any situation we could face so that we can be the best tutors possible.

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

December 2019

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

I will hopefully be starting the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UMaine right after I finish my undergraduate.

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

Once I have completely finished my education I hope to be working in a school as private sector literary specialist.

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

Speak with your teachers, that is the biggest advice I can give students. Speak to your teachers, let them know when you need help, if there is something going on outside of school. Nine times out of ten they will understand and do anything in their power to help you through the class.

Eight Inductees Will Join UMaine Sports Hall of Fame

The University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame will induct an eight-member class this fall on September 13th.

Honorees include Corey Conner, 10-time America East champion and two-time track All-American; Gerald (Jerry) Ellis, nine-time letterwinner and two-time Maine State Champion in the mile; Heather Hathorn (Driscoll), women’s soccer record holder for career goals and career points; Joe Johnson, second round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves and NCAA Regional All-Star Co-MVP; Kelly Newton, three-time field hockey all-conference first team selection and 2010 America East Offensive Player of the Year; Ben Spike, men’s soccer captain and All-New England selection; Justin Strzelczyk, nine-year NFL veteran; and the 1965 football team, Yankee Conference Champions and the only team in UMaine history to appear in a Bowl game, having participated in the Tangerine Bowl.

This year’s class was selected by the M Club and approved by UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Athletic Director Ken Ralph. The induction ceremony and dinner will be held on Friday, September 13th at 5:30 p.m. at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer, ME.

More information can be found here.