The Star-Herald

Students brainstorm, network during Aroostook Aspirations Initiative scholar weekend

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Aspirations Initiative hosted its fifth annual Scholar Weekend July 19 and 20 at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.

Participants attended informative sessions in Snow Hall and the Keegan Room in the Reed Dining Hall.  The 2017 scholars experienced two days full of workshops where they learned about such things as the importance of financial planning, proper appearance and demeanor during an interview, and issues facing Aroostook County.

During the weekend, the scholars met business leaders and professionals from around Aroostook County and were able to not only learn from them, but to network and talk about possible future employment opportunities.

According to Sandy Gauvin, president of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, “This was another successful Scholar Weekend.  The scholars were engaged and learned skills and information that would help ensure their future career success.

“I was amazed at how these scholars had matured in the year since their last scholar weekend,” Gauvin said. “They are very tuned in to their futures and are working hard to guarantee a great start to the rest of their lives.”

In addition to other activities, scholars participated in a resume round robin, in which business professionals and human resource directors reviewed their resumes and gave tips on how to perfect them for possible job applications down the road.  Each professional worked with a group of two to three scholars for 12 minutes, and then the groups rotated until each student had visited all five stations.

From there, scholars continued with speed interviews, where the same professionals and leaders provided a real-life experience in the interviewing process.  For 12 minutes, scholars went through a mock interview with each of the five business professionals, then rotated to the next station, receiving many sound tips.

Leadership training was a vigorous, yet popular session during which students worked singly and in groups to identify the five most predominant issues in Aroostook County, positive or negative.  Afterwards, they met with county leaders to discuss those and other issues and figure out some solutions.

Topics also included loans and credit, professional goal setting, how to become a successful professional in Aroostook County, how to keep a job, the importance of networking and ways to network, and how best to transition from college to career.

One scholar stated, “My goal is to make a good life for myself and my family in the place I call home.  Aroostook County is my happy place. It is a place I can see myself growing and developing for years to come. The scholar weekend has allowed me to connect with local business professionals to further my goals.  I appreciate all the time and energy people have put into bettering our future.”

For more information on Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, visit  

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