On Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m to noon at the Rumford Public Library, a life-long educator with a very impressive resume can be found living out her passions through teaching others. In a program called “Science for Seniors,” Anne Morin encourages young-at-heart seniors to get out of their homes, meet new people, make new friends and learn something. It’s not every day a free class is offered with such a knowledgeable and well-qualified teacher.
Name: Anne M. Morin Ph.D., M.S.
Married? To Barry Allen, retired middle school math and science teacher
Job: Writer, teacher, B&B owner
You were an associate professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, Department of Neurology. What was the focus of your work? My Ph.D. was in molecular biology. The focus of my laboratory’s grants and work was in the molecular events that occur during strokes and epilepsy.
You now own and operate Mountain Spring Farm B&B. What made you decide to make such a drastic career change? Being a scientist is a really hard profession. By the time I left California, I was teaching for the California State University system, and that was beginning to be stressful. (Running the B&B) was one of the requirements for me to leave Southern California. A B&B brings interesting people with interesting jobs and life interests. We have not been disappointed. Hundreds of families come through on their way to ski at resorts like Black Mountain and Sunday River, visit the Maine coast, attend local events, weddings, anniversaries and family reunions. People who can sit down at the breakfast table and share their lives. They laugh a lot and then tell us they like our food!
Why did you, who has such an impressive resume, decide to come to Rumford? I left Los Angeles because my husband wanted to be close to his children, who live in Maine. When we got married, we agreed to spend 10 years in Santa Monica and then move to Maine, which is what we did. We came to our summer cottage every summer, so it was a natural thing to move to the area. This is our new life (and has been for the last 15 years).
What is the “Science for Seniors” program, and what made you decide to create it? “Science for Seniors” came to me last fall. Judging from the kinds of questions that people ask me when they learn that I am a scientist, I decided that there were probably quite a few people who were interested in science, but do not have access to science classes. I think that many of them have not been exposed to science since they were in high school. On the other hand, there are people who have had successful careers — nurses and teachers — and they want to be “refreshed.” The internet has made much science available to people who haven’t had a good science background and this can be problematic. This is especially true when people start looking up their symptoms and medical conditions on the ‘net.
What activities do you do with the “Science for Seniors” program at the Rumford Library? We have covered everything from atoms to chemical bonding, energy in life, the basic biochemical molecules, DNA structure, forensics and various body systems. We are in the middle of a DNA revolution that impacts everyone’s lives. There are no tests, no quizzes, and participants are free to ask anything. It’s very exciting and I want to share what I know with others who are interested. It’s good for all of us of retirement age to only be retired from our jobs, not from being intellectually engaged. There is so much ignorance about scientific matters that I felt I had to do what I could to answer people’s questions in a fun and safe environment. We have had about a dozen attendees each week (doughnuts and coffee help). It’s been a great experience.
What do you do in your spare time? I write murder mysteries. “Experiment One: Murder in the Lab” came out in the spring of 2016, while “Experiment Two: Murder in Seaview” came out this November. I am working on my third novel “Experiment Three: Murder in the Pines.”