The University of Maine at Farmington campus community recently celebrated its annual UMF Arts Night and Symposium festivities. Most events were presented and viewed virtually.

This year’s events were kicked off on Monday, April 19, with UMF’s popular Arts Night, a rich collection of creative events. The evening celebration included individual exhibitions and “Unusual Articles,” the senior capstone thesis artwork of Visual Arts majors: Grant Forbes from Castine, Lake France from Farmington, Warren Garrett from Canterbury, Conn., Sam MacDonald from New Vineyard, Samantha Taylor from Farmington and Sara Taylor from Farmington.

In addition, Performing Arts major Eliza Robinson from Camden, presented her video installation, “Routines of Home,” and junior Performing Arts major, Em Remington from Bennington, Ver., was announced as the AY21-22 Elsie C. Grote Award recipient.

This was followed on Wednesday, April 21, by the day-long spring Symposium tradition that gives students the opportunity to present their own original undergraduate research and creative projects. These academically rigorous pursuits, from programs across campus, are supported by dedicated faculty mentors throughout the process, from proposal to presentation.

UMF President Edward Serna congratulated everyone for all their outstanding work, with a special thank you to the University Culture Committee—Misty Krueger, Ann Bartges, Stephen Grandchamp, Amy Neswald, Theresa Overall Doug Reusch—and all faculty mentors and devoted staff who have committed themselves to the value of undergraduate research at Farmington.

Included among the research efforts were many of the Wilson Scholar and Fellow projects. The competitive Michael D. Wilson Research Program connects top UMF students with expert faculty mentors so students can conduct high level, original research that will be valuable to their professional development.

“The Wilson Scholars program offers students a meaningful opportunity to develop advanced skills with project development and research methodology,” said Donelle Schwalm, assistant professor of Biology and director of this year’s program. “Pursuing their own unique research interests helps students explore career directions and have the kind of hands-on experiences that enhance their resumes.”

The program names student awardees twice a year, including single-semester scholars and year-long fellows. Student researchers are individually sponsored by expert faculty and supported at every stage of their research. This year’s awardees include:

Spring 2021 Scholars

Allen Cherkis – Dresden
A junior majoring in Geography and Environmental Planning and GIS
Research project: “Abbott Park Forest Carbon Stock Assessment”

Spencer Davis – Mechanic Falls
A senior majoring in History
Research Project: “A Purer Silver: Reasons for Iroquois Trade Preferences in the Mohawk Valley”

Brandon Martin – Falmouth
A senior majoring in Psychology
Research project: “The impact of traditional masculine ideology on perceptions of gender non-conformity by adolescent male athletes”

Nathan McIvor – Jefferson
A senior majoring in English
Research project: “Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage: Text and Context”

Ciera Miller – Farmington
A senior majoring in International & Global Studies and Creative Writing
Research project: “Wildness Which No Civilization Can Endure”

Liz Niznik – Wells
A senior majoring in English
Research project: “Returning to Hilda Morley: A Digital Resource”

Sara Taylor – Farmington
A senior majoring in Interactive Media
Research project: “Binary is for Computers! – Creative Works”

Fall 2020 Scholar

Brian Tibbetts – Sidney
A senior majoring in Computer Science
Research project: “Mapping with Python: Using Computer Science to Visualize Conflicts in East Africa”

Fall 2020 Fellows

Hannah Binder – Farmington
A senior majoring in History and Creative Writing
Research project: “The Life and Death of Orchids: a novel”

Emily Kelley – Shapleigh
A senior majoring in Earth & Environmental Science
Research project: “Analysis of human-induced rapid evolutionary change in swift foxes (Vulpes velox) found in agricultural habitats”

Samantha Taylor – Farmington
A senior majoring in Visual Arts and Performing Arts
Research project: “Moldables for Sale; Creative Words”

Additional highlights of this year’s Symposium included presentation of the Walter Sargent Award to Shana Youngdahl, assistant professor of English, for her student research mentorship.

A UMF Trustee Performance featuring a collaborative project by Kristen Case, professor of English, and Steven Pane, professor of music. The “Quarry Animal Zero Fold: The Chaconne Project,” attempted a translation of the Chaconne to the piano and the page.

Case read excerpts of a suite of 64 poems generated by a set of structural constraints derived from Bach’s composition of the Chaconne, and Pane performed his transcription of Bach’s Chaconne, a hybrid of the solo violin original and the piano transcriptions by Ferruccio Busioni.

Also, a series of outdoor tours were organized by Doug Reusch and Theresa Overall and led by UMF students and faculty.

Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s events were limited to the UMF community, however all of the projects are posted on the UMF Mantor Library Scholar Works and the UMF Symposium website at: https://www.umf.maine.edu/symposium/this-years-symposium/. A fully online version of the Unusual Articles: 2021 Senior Show can be found here: https://unusualarticles.wordpress.com.


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