Recent News

Alumni Achievement Awards Set for Next Month

The University of Maine Alumni Association will honor eight individuals and a family for their career success, public service, and community involvement at the 2019 Alumni Achievement awards celebration. The awards recipients include a computer pioneer, a heart surgeon, and a lawyer who have contributed to their fields, communities, and created opportunities for others.

The University of Maine Alumni Association will host the celebration on Friday, April 5th at Wells Conference Center in Orono. A reception and dinner will be followed by the presentation of awards.

The event is open to the public. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Alumni Association at or call 207.581.1146.

Braydon Norris ’19 is Homegrown

For Holden, ME native Braydon Norris ’19 the University of Maine has always been in his backyard. As he prepares for his final semester at the university and in the greater Bangor area he reflects on all of his experiences here.

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

Holden, Maine

What is your major (or intended major)?

Chemical Engineering

Why did you choose that major and fields of study?

The opportunities available to engineers not only in Maine, but worldwide was one of the biggest factors behind my decision to study chemical engineering. I also was fortunate enough to have some amazing teachers at John Bapst Memorial High School who helped push me to learn and pique my interest in math and science. Since my first day at the University of Maine my interest has only grown for this field of study.

Why did you choose to attend UMaine?

I chose UMaine largely due to its excellent reputation as an engineering school in addition to the large number of scholarship funds available for students willing to work and learn. I grew up in the area and had worked at the university in the summers since my sophomore year in high school, so I was very familiar with the campus and some faculty as well. There is something to be said about being home-grown, as my foundation in education, social network, and experiences has been built with Maine’s strong family and community driven values.

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

I am a part of Senior Skulls, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Engineers Without Borders (2015-2017), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Pulp and Paper Foundation, the German Club, the Outing Club, Children’s International Summer Villages, and Soccer Refereeing (from youth to intercollegiate).

Favorite place to hang out on campus?

I love the William Treat ’40 Room in the Buchanan Alumni House. When it is crunch time, there is no more personally rewarding place to work.

Favorite place to hang out off campus?

Margarita’s in Orono. They have free chips and salsa, $2 well drinks after 9:00 pm, and great weekday food deals.

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

It is hard to choose from such a large amount of extremely positive memories of the University of Maine. One of them would be my study abroad during the Fall 2017 semester where I was able to spend the semester studying chemical engineering at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I was able to create some lasting friendships and explore Europe’s culture more than any vacation trip ever would have allowed me. I was immediately ingrained in the society and was able to create a second home to which I will definitely return as soon as this upcoming summer.

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

It depends on the time of year, but my hobbies mostly drive me outdoors whether it is skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, having bon-fires, or playing sports with friends.

I also enjoy reading and watching comedies.

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

There are so many excellent professors not only in the Chemical Engineering program at UMaine, but throughout the entire university. The biggest trait they all have in common is their care for the students and the community as a whole which allows the students to really boost their understanding and performance in the classroom.

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

May 2019

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

My friend, who is in med school, and I plan to travel to Europe during the months of May and June. It sounds cliché to backpack across Europe after graduating, and it very well may be, but he and I have quite a few friends across the pond that we plan to visit during our trip. We have a few destinations in mind, and because we have friends in almost every country, we will most likely be doing a loop through Western and Northern Europe.

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

I was fortunate enough to receive and accept a technical engineering role at Procter and Gamble’s site in Auburn, Maine. This role will allow me to assist and improve the production of a very important product to all of North America, South America, and China – that product is tampons. The Tambrand’s site in Auburn has an excellent culture that has been recognized as Procter and Gamble’s manufacturing site of the year in North America multiple times in the past decade.

I hope to work internationally on some level, and I will have the opportunity to do so almost immediately after my start date. One of my co-workers, Aaron Ortiz ’16, was sent to Germany for a weeklong business trip within a couple months of his first day of work.

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



Socolow Has Made a Career of Combining Journalism and History

Having worked as a broadcast journalist and studied its history, communication and journalism professor Mike Socolow brings a unique perspective to the classroom. He teaches about the history of mass journalism, and has a particular interest in the early decades of American radio. Socolow, who was raised in Washington, D.C., joined the UMaine faculty in 2006. He is currently a Fulbright Research scholar at the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra in Australia. While there, he is conducting research on global radio’s cultural impact on Australia, with a focus on national identity and sports.

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

I teach journalism and mass communication history. I’m interested in broadcast history, primarily the American radio networks in their first two decades, and global radio history. I also enjoy researching journalism as a practice, journalism ethics, and what happens to media of communication when they are disrupted and transform.

Why did you choose to pursue those interests?

My father was a television journalist who worked for CBS News for decades, so from a young age I was curious about the industry. I also always loved history, and my Ph.D. is actually in history, from Georgetown University.

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

Wow – so many. Too many to choose just one. My favorite memories and experiences generally revolve around watching the success of the students I’ve taught, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I particularly enjoy the feeling of satisfaction and achievement when I see so many of our undergraduates succeed in journalism, or when a graduate student successfully defends a dissertation and lands a good job.

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

Another difficult question! I’ve always loved teaching CMJ 489: Seminar in Media Ethics, and CMJ 211: Journalism Studies II. Seminar in Media Ethics is a favorite because the class revolves around ethics and contemporary media controversies, and as new ethical issues emerge all the time, the class is always being updated with interesting and engaging case studies. I enjoy teaching Journalism Studies because history is a major component of the class, and I love teaching history.

What is your favorite place on campus to spend time?

Aside from my office in Dunn Hall, I think Fogler Library is an amazing resource. You can find quiet space, work with excellent reference librarians, and meet colleagues and students for a cup of coffee. I also love taking my kids to the Rec Center.

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

I love to spend time with my family and travel. We’re all going to Australia for the first six months of 2019, as I’ll be a Fulbright Research scholar at the News & Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra for the semester, and we’re all very excited. In terms of more regular activities, I love to write about the media (even pieces that don’t get accepted for publication) and write about sports, and I play guitar.

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

Students should all know that college isn’t easy, and that a major component of learning in the college years is simply developing the tools to act mature, professional, and responsible. It’s not all book learning. If students learn the importance of showing up for class, managing their time effectively, and handing in assignments on time, they’ll be prepared for success in the working world.

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

Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Do what you do best and try to remember why you decided to become a professor when the work gets difficult.  

Any other advice or comments?

Teaching at the University of Maine has been a joy. The school and state has afforded me so many terrific opportunities that I feel lucky to be here.


Are You a Bear Pair?

Was your time at UMaine further enhanced by someone special? Have you ever thought that besides your happy days and a great education, you gained a life partner? For alumni couples, who are sometimes called Bear Pairs, UMaine is especially the college of their hearts always!

Many UMaine Black Bears met their spouses on campus. There are countless stories of couples becoming acquainted in and out of class, in the Bear’s Den, gym, library, or elsewhere around campus.

In this Valentine’s Day month, we highlight the Bear Pairs Scholarship. Established by Bob ‘57 and Sharon Ward Fuehrer ’60, who met at UMaine, the Bear Pairs Scholarship is awarded each year to Bear Pair offspring who need some help with finances. It’s a great way to express your heartfelt gratitude for what UMaine provided, more information can be found here.


Don’t Miss Out on Your Chance to Travel to Italy with Fellow Black Bears!

The Alumni Association is partnering with Collette Travel in 2019 to take Black Bears and friends to Italy November 11-23. The trip will feature first-class experiences from Venice, to the Colosseum in Rome, to the rolling hills of the Tuscan region, and much more.

The informational webinar is available online here, and if you have any additional questions please call Collette Travel at 800-581-8942 and refer to booking #934701.

Former UMaine Football Player Roberts Jumped from Business Major to Physician

Justin Roberts ’07, former UMaine football player and business major, was initially rejected from medical school and decided to work as a pharmaceutical sales rep. That decision would prove to be a turning point in his life, and the reason he is a physician today.

Roberts is currently completing his residency in anesthesiology at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ. Read more about how he made the leap to medicine and his about his time at UMaine in an interview with the Bangor Daily News.



UMaine Hosts 2019 America East “Hackathon”

This year the 3rd annual American East hackathon, Hack AE, will take place on the UMaine campus Saturday, March 2 to Sunday, March 3.

The hackathon is a 24-hour long event designed to bring students together to build software and hardware that address real-world challenges. The focus of the event this year will be on small farmers and other independent agricultural and agricultural-dependent businesses.


UMaine’s 2019 Student Symposium to be Held in April

More than 1,000 UMaine students will be showcasing their research and creative achievements as part of the University of Maine’s 2019 Student Symposium, to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10th at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Undergraduate and graduate students will present posters, exhibits, performances, and oral presentations related to their scholarly work.  The event will also feature a keynote address by Stuart Kestembaum, Maine’s Poet Laureate.  

Now in its fourth year, the symposium is part of Maine Impact Week. According to Kody Varahramyan, UMaine’s vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, Maine Impact Week “provide[s] an opportunity for the public to gain awareness about the latest efforts by Maine’s research university in contributing to the social and economic advancement of Maine and beyond.”

The April 10th symposium is free of charge and is open to the public. Organizers encourage interested parties to consider supporting the event’s “Fill the Steins” fundraiser to help sustain the annual event. Donate here.


Parker Works Hard to Redefine Human Rights Advocacy

Kyle Parker ’99, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, has made a career of redefining human rights advocacy across the globe. His work on the Magnitsky Act recently brought him to Northport, ME to speak at the Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations.

The recording of the program can be found here.

Coach Barron’s Journey Featured in Washington Post

In 2011 Richard Barron accepted a position coaching the women’s basketball team at the University of Maine. His career path, having been the head coach of both a men’s and women’s Division I basketball program, is very rare.

After a mysterious illness kept him from coaching for nearly a year, Barron is in his first season as the men’s basketball coach at UMaine. Read more about his journey featured in this Washington Post story.