Recent News

Olivia Conrad: UMaine Food Sciences Major

Olivia Conrad: An internship scoop at Gelato Fiasco

This summer, Olivia Conrad, a fourth-year student from Yarmouth, Maine, majoring in food science and human nutrition, landed a sweet internship at one of Maine’s premier gelato companies.

Conrad was the food safety intern at the Gelato Fiasco Flavor Foundry in Brunswick, Maine, where pints are produced, packed and shipped nationwide.

She assisted the company in developing documentation for food inspectors and food quality/safety auditors. Conrad also helped the company prepare for the implementation of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), which all food producers must be in compliance with over the next few years.

Not all of Conrad’s days were in the office. In the kitchen, she assisted with product packaging, learning about the machinery and equipment used to run a growing food production operation. She also helped with employee training on best practices in hygiene and food safety.

Gelato Fiasco prides itself in embracing its Maine heritage. It uses locally sourced whole milk from Maine farms, as well as some of the state’s iconic seasonal ingredients, including blueberries, strawberries and maple syrup. Other flavors, like Maine Potato Donut and Red Flannel Whoopie Pie, are inspired by the state’s culture and identity.

Interning for a growing Maine company elevated Conrad’s own sense of pride for her home state and its small business market.

“It was fun for me to work for a company that originated in Maine and continues to grow and succeed in the business world — even outside of Maine,” says Conrad.

Jason Bolton, associate Extension professor and food safety specialist for University of Maine Cooperative Extension, helped line up Conrad’s internship. He works closely with food and beverage companies in Maine’s 16 counties, focusing on food safety, quality and facility design.

When he noticed most UMaine food science students completing their internships out of state, Bolton developed a program to help place students at internships in Maine companies.

“Interns are very beneficial to the smaller, fast-growing food businesses of Maine,” says Bolton. “Our students are gaining lots of important skills and they are doing it in Maine.”

The goal is for these internships to lead to employment opportunities in Maine, says Bolton, who has worked with Gelato Fiasco on its recent expansion design as well as with food safety protocols.

UMaine students offer an invaluable set of services and skills to the food businesses of Maine who may not have the resources available to acquire them through other means, Bolton said.

Conrad regards her internship as a rewarding and valuable experience. She credits it with helping her develop self-confidence in the workplace, as well as in her chosen career path.

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Photo from 2015 Homecoming Game

Homecoming & Craft Fair at UMaine

The University of Maine Alumni Association will welcome thousands of alumni and friends to campus during Homecoming weekend on October 14, 15 and 16, 2016. The annual fall weekend combines class gatherings, tailgating, football, the UMaine Alumni Association Homecoming Craft Fair, and a variety of festivities.

The UMaine Alumni Association Craft Fair and Maine Marketplace will take place in the New Balance Field House from 10–5 on Saturday and on Sunday from 10 until 4:00. The 167 craft and food vendors will sell items ranging from quilts, jewelry, pottery, fudge, toys, and more. Admission is $2 for adults. Students with a current UMaine ID and children 12 and under are admitted free.

During the afternoon on Friday, scheduled tours will be offered of the New Balance Field House, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, Emera Astronomy Center, and a campus walking tour. Visitors can also attend a lecture and panel discussion.

On Friday, several Orono restaurants and businesses will stamp “Paint the Town Blue” event forms for participants who visit their establishments that day. Anyone wishing to enter the Saturday drawing for prizes can download the entry form [Homecoming Schedule and Paint the Town Blue Form]

Maine teams will host two athletic events during homecoming. On both Friday and Saturday evenings, the Black Bear men’s hockey team will play against Quinnipiac at Alfond Arena. UMaine’s football team will face Albany on Saturday at noon.

The Maine Business School, School of Forest Resources and College of Liberal Arts will host events, and the Art department will dedicate the Professor Michael Lewis Painting Studio at the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center.

View the Homecoming schedule.

Hundreds of Alumni Returning for UMaine Reunion

Nearly 300 University of Maine alumni and guests from the graduating classes of 1951, 1956, 1966, and 1971 will return to Orono September 14-17 for class reunions.

The event will be extra-special for the Class of 1966, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its graduation commencement. Many members of that class have vivid memories from their sophomore year of learning about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred just a month after his October 1963 speech at UMaine.

In addition, many members of Senior Alumni—UMaine graduates whose graduating class held its 50th reunion in previous years—will also be in Orono to take part in reunion events.

Attendees will gather on campus to reconnect, to revisit memorable landmarks, and to tour the many new additions and changes to campus that have occurred since their days as students. The individual classes will also hold class meetings and memorial services, honor recipients of alumni awards, attend a dinner and reception with UMaine President Susan J. Hunter, and meet with current students and faculty members. Many of the returning alumni will attend the September 17 performance of Capitol Steps taking place at UMaine’s Collins Center for the Arts as well as enjoy familiar and new foods and experiences offered by off-campus restaurants and event centers.

Other UMaine graduating classes will return to the UMaine campus on Oct. 14-16 for Homecoming 2016. Along with a number of events and activities, special programs and receptions will be held to celebrate the reunions of more recent graduating classes: those between 1976 and 2011 whose graduation year ends in a one or six.

Homecoming and class reunions are organized by the University of Maine Alumni Association, an independent 107,000-member organization which supports and advocates for UMaine and its alumni. More information is available at

UMaine Alumni Association Elects New Board Leaders

BOD-Officers-2016Matthew J. Ciampa and Justin P. Labonte have been elected chair and treasurer, respectively, of the University of Maine Alumni Association’s board of directors.

Ciampa, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in financial economics from UMaine in 2010 and 2012, is a business analyst at Pingup, a Boston-based startup. He previously worked as a senior economist at CBRE Econometric Advisors, a Boston area commercial real estate business.

Ciampa succeeds Nathan P. Briggs, who served as board chair for two years. A native of York, Maine, Ciampa now resides in Boston.

Justin Labonte of Lewiston was elected to succeed Ciampa as the association’s treasurer. After graduating from UMaine in 2010 with a degree in accounting and business management, Labonte worked as a senior associate at Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Office in Boston. He recently earned his MBA at Harvard Business School and in the fall will be joining Emerson Electric Co., a Fortune 500 company based in suburban St. Louis.

In addition to Ciampa’s and Labonte’s elections, eight other UMaine alumni have been elected to the association’s 20-member board. They are:

  • William M. Beaudoin of Boston (Class of 2008), an attorney with the international firm Ropes & Gray.
  • Danielle Burke Ahern of Bangor (2000), a vice president with Bangor Savings Bank.
  • Gustavo Burkett of Dedham, Mass. (2002 and 2005), director of student involvement at Boston College.
  • John Ferland of Cumberland (1976), vice president of project development at Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Portland and president of its subsidiary, ORPC Solutions.
  • Steven W. Hewins of South Portland (1977), a business consultant and former travel industry executive.
  • Elizabeth Jarrell of Cambridge, Mass. (2005), communications director for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds.
  • John P. Lalumiere of Watertown, Mass. (2007), manager of corporate financial planning and analysis for inVentiv Health of Burlington, Mass.
  • Julia Munsey of Bangor (2002), a public relations specialist and partner at Dougherty Project Management of Bangor.

Founded in 1875, the University of Maine Alumni Association is dedicated to advancing and advocating for the best interests of the University of Maine and its former, current, and future students. The association has more than 107,000 members living in 50 states and 112 countries.

UMaine research shows Maine consumers willing to pay more for food sustainably harvested, seafood from the state

By Chase Brunton

Maine consumers would be willing to pay more for food that is sustainably harvested and some may even be willing to spend extra for seafood harvested in Maine waters, according to a recent survey conducted by researchers in the University of Maine School of Economics.

The issue, according to researchers, is that information about the source and sustainable practices of food production isn’t always available.

In a survey of more than 1,000 Maine citizens this spring, 75 percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to pay more for sustainably harvested food, and 30 percent believed Maine people are willing to pay extra for seafood from Maine.

UMaine Assistant Professor of Economics Caroline Noblet, who collaborates on the research with Associate Professor of Marine Policy Teresa Johnson, says people do care where their food comes from and they might have preferences. But when information is incomplete or unavailable, especially in restaurants, customers’ choices may be impacted.

Maine restaurants owners told the UMaine researchers that tourists — not Maine residents — were far more likely to ask about seafood origins.

The survey is part of a Maine Sea Grant research project called Seafood Links, studying what consumer perceptions of seafood, and learning how Maine businesses source their seafood. The goal of the research is to increase awareness and availability of local and sustainable options.

Also part of the research project, Brianne Suldovsky, a Ph.D. candidate in communication, conducted preliminary interviews with people in supermarkets and at seafood festivals, asking them to write down three or four words they associated with “seafood,” “local seafood” and “sustainable seafood.” Her intent is to evaluate how consumers understand the word “sustainable” in relation to seafood.

[read more]

Historical Atlas of Maine receives three new awards

The Historical Atlas of Maine has received three new awards, bringing to four the number of honors presented to the folio, its editors, cartographer and publisher this spring.

The atlas won the best Book/Atlas category and was named Best of Show by the international Cartography and Geographical Information Society, and received the Excellence in Publishing Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

In February, Historical Atlas of Maine received the 2016 American Association of Geographers Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography — one of the two most distinguished book prizes available in American geography.

The atlas, the result of a 15-year scholarly project led by University of Maine researchers, offers a new geographical and historical interpretation of Maine, from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000. The volume was published in 2015 by University of Maine Press, a division of UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library.

The folio-size Historical Atlas of Maine is edited by UMaine historian Richard Judd and UMaine geographer Stephen Hornsby, with cartography by Michael Hermann. It tells the principal stories of the many people who have lived in Maine over the past 13,000 years — the history of Native peoples, European exploration and settlement, the American Revolution, Maine statehood, agricultural and industrial development, and the rise of tourism and environmental awareness.

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Maine Matters Award

Starting in Fall 2016, the University of Maine is pleased to announce our new financial aid program for in-state students called the Maine Matters Program. The program is made up of the Maine Matters Award, Merit Scholarships and the Maine Match. See below for requirements.

Maine Matters Award

Every in-state student admitted to the University is guaranteed $500 in either a Maine Matters Award or other merit aid (including Athletic scholarships) if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Maine Matters Awards will be offered based on an enrollment of 15 credits per semester. Maine Matters Awards will be pro-rated based on enrollment if students enroll in less than 15 credits. Students enrolling in less than 6 credits per semester will not be eligible for the Maine Matters Award.

Click here to read the full article.

University of Maine to host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The University of Maine has been selected as one of 37 institutions nationwide as partners with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Beginning in mid-June, UMaine will host 25 emerging public management leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa for a six-week academic and leadership institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the 2014 flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities. Fellows are young leaders who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.

The 25 Mandela Fellows at UMaine are among 1,000 young African leaders ages 25 to 35 who were selected from more than 43,000 applications. The fellows are being hosted at institutions across the United States this summer, studying in institutes focused on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, public management or energy. In addition, fellows will participate in community programming that offers insights into American culture.

Click here to read the full article.

2016 UMaine Alumni Black Bear Marathon

Black Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K

The University of Maine Alumni Association presented the second annual Black Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on Sunday, June 5. The cool morning offered optimal conditions for the runners.

All three races began on the track at UMaine’s Harold Alfond Stadium. The 26.2-mile course, a double loop of a 13.1-mile course, began on the UMaine campus, traveled through Orono and Old Town, and returned to campus on the university’s bike path. The certified course featured cheer stations, music, water, and sports drinks.

The Black Bear Marathon is the only Maine race included in Holiday Lettings from TripAdvisor’s “50 U.S. road races to attempt in your lifetime.”

Two UMaine alumnae won in their categories. For the second year in a row, Tracy Guerrette ’03 was the first woman to finish the marathon. Lisa Wiley Kingsbury ’86 won the 10K. Also among the race participants was Karl Leitz from Jersey City, NJ, who after the Black Bear Marathon has completed marathons in all 50 states. See the list of winners and their race times.

See the story [WLBZ] [WABI]