FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington Undergraduate Research Council recently named 17 students as Michael D. Wilson Research Scholars — celebrating the fifth consecutive year of the undergraduate research program. The program directly connects students with faculty experts to promote the highest level of scholarship as students explore dynamic local, national and international research issues.

“America’s leadership in innovation starts with student scholarship at the earliest levels,” said Theodora J. Kalikow, UMF president. “The Wilson Program, along with other ongoing research efforts at UMF, helps our students to grow in academic expertise while also giving them the unique opportunity to share the knowledge they’ve gained with the campus and local community.”

In the five years since its origin, the program has supported both single-semester scholars and year-long fellows, recognizing 150 student researchers for their academic excellence. Student scholars are supported one-on-one by individual faculty mentors, involving over 50 faculty members during the program’s history. These faculty sponsors provide student researchers with sponsorship of their application, guidance with proposal development and research methodology, and continuing assistance with pre-professional and post-graduate opportunities.

The UMF Wilson Program names student awardees twice a year and provides funding to help underwrite student project expenses. The Wilson awards are funded by a generous gift from Michael and Susan Angelides, of Stonington, Conn., in honor of their good friend and UMF alumnus Michael D. Wilson, class of 1976, who died shortly after graduating.

The Spring 2011 Wilson awardees include: Matthew Allen, Wilton; Dovey Balsam, Industry; Kristen Bisson, Farmington; Markeith Chavous, Eastport; Emma Deans, Gorham; Megan Ferland, Monmouth; Thomas Ferland, Laconia, N.H.; Sarah Gauvin, Hancock; Kiley Gendron, New Durham, N.H.; Skylar Hopkins, Hudson; Jack Karn, Falmouth; Matthew Kuchinski, Gray; Jeffrey Lees, Vassalboro; Jordan LeGrand, Rome; Sean Raph, South Portland; Cecelia Totten, East Hartford, Conn.; Carolyn Young, Cumberland Foreside.

Matthew Allen, Wilton: Allen’s research topic is “WikiLeaks: the First Amendment in the Digital Age.” He is a sophomore majoring in political science. His faculty sponsor is Christopher O’Brien, assistant professor of history.

Dovey Balsam, Industry: Balsam’s project is entitled “Combat Trauma and Religious/Spiritual Beliefs: Paradigm Shifts in Combat Veterans of the U.S. Military.” She is a junior majoring in sociology/anthropology. Her faculty sponsor is Kristina Wolff, assistant professor of sociology.

Kristen Bisson, Farmington: Bisson’s research project is entitled “The Grand Exploration.” She is a senior majoring in art. Her faculty sponsor is Dawn Nye, assistant professor of art.

Megan Ferland, Monmouth: Ferland is researching “America: the Way Life Should Be?” She is a senior majoring in sociology/anthropology. Her faculty sponsor is Kristina Wolff, assistant professor of sociology.

Matthew Kuchinski, Gray: Kuchinski is investigating the topic of “Fighting in Hell: The First Maine Heavy Artillery and the Battle of the Crater.” He is a first year student majoring in history. His faculty sponsor is Walter Sargent, associate professor of history.

Jordan LeGrand, Rome: LeGrand’s Wilson project is “The Generalized Euler Phi Function and its Applications to Mathematical Music Theory.” He is a senior with a double major in mathematics and computer science. His faculty sponsor is Lori Koban, assistant professor of mathematics.

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