Undergraduate, graduate students receive awards at 2018 Student Symposium

More than 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students presented their work during the third annual University of Maine Student Symposium held at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on April 17.

The free public event, which was organized by UMaine Graduate Student Government and the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) as part of Maine Impact Week, provided an opportunity for community members to meet student researchers and scholars, see their posters and exhibits, hear their presentations, and view short performances and art.

The 2018 UMaine Student Symposium was made possible by 37 members of the organizing committee, 64 volunteers and 164 judges. A list of all volunteers, judges and committee members is online. The event also was supported by several sponsors.

Awards and cash prizes were given to the symposium’s top scholars and presentations in several categories:

Special awards

  • Dr. Susan J. Hunter Presidential Research Impact Award: Ana Eliza Souza Cuhna and Berkay Payal (undergraduate), “Evaluating a Doppler Radar Monitor for Assessing Bee Colony Health,” advised by Francis Drummond and Nuri Emanetoglu; Susan Elias (graduate), “Deer Tick Phenology and Warming Climate in Maine, USA,” advised by Kirk Maasch
  • Provost Innovative and Creative Teaching Award: Bryan Picciotto, “Documenting Hiking at Borestone Mountain,” advised by Nathan Stormer
  • Dean of Graduate School Undergraduate Mentor Award:
    • First place: Juyoung Shim, “Molecular Mechanisms of Inhibitor Action of Triclosan on Mast Cell Signal Transduction,” advised by Julie Gosse
    • Second place: Stephanie Shea, “Patterns of Infection and Disease Transmission of an Oncogenic Virus in Maine’s Wild Turkey Population,” advised by Pauline Kamath
    • Third place: William Kochtitzky, “What Causes Glaciers to Destabilze?” advised by Karl Kreutz
  • UMaine Alumni Association Award: Emily Blackwood, “Virtual Simulation of the Damariscotta Shell Middens,” advised by Alice Kelley and Richard Corey

Graduate winners

  • Allied health: Silas Walsh and Melody Joliat, “Fostering a Better Understanding of Chronic Pain Treatment Needs Through Community Engaged Research,” advised by David Wihry
  • Arts: Rachel Church, “Fall Semester 2017, First Year of Graduate School,” advised by Susan Smith
  • Biomedical Sciences: Michael Wilczek, “Human JC Polyomavirus Infection of Primary Astrocytes: A Model for a Deadly Disease,” advised by Melissa Maginnis
  • Education and Human Development: John Caleb Speirs, “Investigating Student Reasoning Patterns via Dual-Process Theory,” advised by MacKenzie Stetzer
  • Engineering and Information Sciences: Hannah Allen, “Testing and Validation of Emerging Hull Technologies for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines,” advised by Andrew Goupee
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboratives: Emma S. Toth, “Investigating the Instructional Transition of STEM Students from High School to First-Year College Courses,” advised by Michelle Smith
  • Natural Sciences: Tyler Van Kirk, “Abundance of Spiny-Headed Worms in Green Crabs,” advised by Ian Bricknell; and Dhirgam Humaidy, “Synthesis and Reactivity of Gold (I) Tetrathiomolybdate Complexes,” advised by Alice Bruce
  • Physical Sciences: Sabrina Sultana, “Robust Magnetic Photocatalyst for Removal of Organic Pollutants from Drinking Water,” advised by Carl Tripp
  • Social Sciences: Kate Pontbriand and Emily Blackwood, “Seasonal Analysis of Four Coastal Archaeological Sites in Eastern Maine Using Mollusks,” advised by Daniel Sandweiss

Undergraduate winners

  • Allied Health: Marisa Jolicoeur, Nyia Chituck, Darcey Fraser, Lindsay Nutter and Rebecca Dalrymple, “Assessing Diet and Exercise in Pre-diabetics,” advised by Patricia Poirier
  • Arts: Cara Doiron, “Constructing Identity Through the Lens of Fashion,” advised by Samantha Jones
  • Biomedical Sciences: Sarai Smith, “Understanding the Role of Prophage in Mycobacterial Host Fitness and Gene Expression,” advised by Sally Molloy; and Ashley Soucy and Jeanne K. Dushane, “IP3R-Mediated ER Ca2+ Release Drives JCPyV Infection,” advised by Melissa Maginnis
  • Business: Alexis Lindsay, “Maternity Leave in the U.S.,” advised by Stefano Tijerina
  • Education and Human Development: Jordan Houdeshell, “Differences in Language Through the Comparison of Mathematical Word Choice in Chile and Maine,” advised by Julie DellaMattera
  • Engineering and Information Sciences: Gabriela Constantin, “Selective Ring-Opening Reactions on Thermal Deoxygenation Oils,” advised by Scott Eaton; Nicholas Aiken, “VHF Near Field Antenna Design for Wireless Sensing Applications,” advised by Mauricio da Cunha; and Abigail Weigang, “Selective Surface Modification of Paper Substrates for Controlled-Adhesion Diagnostic Devices,” advised by Caitlin Howell
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboratives: Gabriela Adamus, Sarah Basquez, Hannah Connors, Morgan Jacobs and Genaya Loftis, “A Collaborative Approach in Treatment of Selective Mutism in School Age Children,” advised by Nancy Hall
  • Natural Sciences: Taylor Lanhan, Alicia Girardin, Jenny Woodbury, Erica Ogden, Jo-Ellen and Loring Jamieson, “Sensory Integration Therapy in Individuals with Autism and the Incorporation of Speech-Language Pathology,” advised by Nancy Hall; and Faythe Goins, “Environmental Impacts on Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nesting on Edisto Island, SC,” advised by Kristina Cammen
  • Physical Sciences: Andrew Nolan, “Discovery of Five Instabilities of Turner Glacier, St. Elias Mountains, Alaska, from 1984 to 2017,” advised by Karl Kreutz; and Tessali Morrison, “Synthesis of Hydrogels Containing Quaternary Amine Polymers,” advised by William Gramlich
  • Social Sciences: Brawley Benson, “How Discourse Shapes Dam Decision Making: News Stories as Sites of Meaning,” advised by Bridie McGreavy and Tyler Quiring; and Jessica Champagne, “Maine Understanding Sensory Integration and Cognition (MUSIC) Project: Can Music Learning Improve Cognition in Older Adults?” advised by Rebecca MacAulay

Also announced at the symposium were the winners of the 2018 CUGR Summer Fellowship and the following 2018–2019 Graduate School fellowships.

Maine Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) Graduate Fellowship

  • Erin McConnell, quaternary and climate studies, advised by Karl Kreutz
  • Mason A. Crocker, microbiology, advised by Melissa Maginnis
  • Cody Samuel Emerson, biology, advised by Justin Dimmel
  • Kayla Marquis, biomedical engineering, advised by Caitlin Howell

Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship

  • Meaghan Conway, ecology and environmental sciences
  • Allison Brehm, wildlife ecology, advised by Alessio Mortelliti
  • Susan Elias, Earth and climate sciences, advised by Kirk Maasch
  • David Kerschner, higher education, advised by Elizabeth Allan
  • Sara Lowden, anthropology and environmental policy, advised by Lisa Neuman and Darren Ranco
  • Mackenzie Mazur, marine biology, advised by Yong Chen and Teresa Johnson

Janet Waldron Doctoral Research Fellowship

  • Linda Archambault, biochemistry and molecular biology, advised by Robert Wheeler
  • Weili Jiang, mechanical engineering, advised by Xudong Zheng
  • Jack McLachlan, ecology and environmental sciences, advised by Hamish Greig

Susan J. Hunter Teaching Fellowship

  • Carrie Gray, ecology and environmental sciences
  • Victoria Quinones, psychology, advised by Emily Haigh
  • Seyed Ehsan Tabatabaie, mechanical engineering, Mohsen Shahinpoor

More about the Graduate School fellowships is online.