Education notes

10 years ago

Retired educators announce programs, dates

    The Aroostook Retired Educators Association (AREA) executive board has announced the monthly program topics and dates for the 2014 summer meetings.
The July 22 meeting will be held at Nowland Hall on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus. The annual AREA remembrance program will be conducted and a presentation on hospice will given by Bob Souther.
The August 19 meeting will be held at NMCC’s Edmunds Conference Center in Presque Isle with legislative updates and the attendance of the candidates for various offices.
The final meeting will be held on September 23 at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center. Steve Farnham from the Aroostook County Agency on Aging will provide the group with information on the Affordable Care Act.
Registration for all AREA meetings (held on Tuesdays) starts at 11 a.m. with lunch served at noon followed by the program and business meeting. FMI contact Robin Barker at 429-9546 or email

Scholarships target adults

    Maine adults who want to return to college may qualify for as much as $4,000 per year in scholarships for up to four years, in a new Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Fund announced by the University of Maine System.
The  fund aims to help Maine people complete their academic studies — many adults started their university education years ago but did not complete a degree program for some reason, likely due to family or work obligations.
The new scholarships are for adult students returning to a UMS campus after an absence of three years or more and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree. Courses may be taken at any of the seven universities in Maine.
“Maine has over 200,000 adults with some college but no degree,” explained UMS Chancellor James H. Page. “That is a significant stranded cost — both in terms of monies invested and opportunities lost. Our goal is to work with these folks to help them achieve their educational goals and move Maine forward.”
The funding for the program comes from a portion of gaming revenue made possible by citizen initiatives that authorized gambling in Bangor and Oxford and a one-time appropriation from the Maine Legislature last year.
Those adults returning to a university will be in good company. At the University of Maine System, adult students age 25 or older currently represent more than 36 percent of all students enrolled in degree programs and more than 60 percent of those attending part-time.
Currently there are very few scholarships or other forms of financial aid available in Maine for adults, especially those who work full-time.
“One of the many challenges adults face as they return to college is financing their education,” noted Rosa Redonnett, UMS chief student affairs officer. “Since our goal is degree completion, we’ve set up a tiered scholarship program so Mainers who have previously earned a significant number of credits are incentivized to quickly complete their degrees. And we are also providing smaller scholarships for those who have completed a handful of courses toward a degree but want to finish that work.”
“Unlike traditional-age students, most adults are also balancing work, family and other commitments,” said Bonnie Newsom of Eddington, a member of the UMS Board of Trustees who also serves on the Adult Baccalaureate Completion Distance Education (ABCDE) Committee. “As a result, financial help and the assistance of a concierge may mean the difference between finishing that degree or not.”
There are two opportunities for students to apply for the scholarships: Aug. 1 and Dec. 1.
FMI  or an application, visit

Instructor guest on radio show

    PRESQUE ISLE — From college physics instructor to national radio show expert, this has been the path for JP Levasseur of NMCC. Levasseur has been teaching math and science at NMCC for 23 years and has been a space science researcher and enthusiast for most of his life.
Levasseur has co-authored papers on planetary SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and was recently invited to join in a discussion on the topic by George Noory of the overnight talk radio show “Coast to Coast A.M.,” the most listened-to overnight radio program in North America. The program deals with UFOs, strange occurrences and other unexplained phenomena.
“At first I was hesitant to be on the program, but after some coaxing by friends and colleagues, I decided it would be a good experience,” said Levasseur. “I was able to join the discussion along with a co-author of a paper recently presented at a scientific forum. The majority of our one-hour time block focused on the subject of this paper, the so-called ‘Nefertiti Profile,’ one of numerous and controversial Martian surface features that appear to be artificial in origin.”
Levasseur became interested in the subject in the mid-1990s, researching Mars image archives, connecting with other experts, and publishing his own material.
“This has been a fascination of mine for quite some time. It’s amazing to know that there are so many people with the same interest,” Levasseur said. “After the program, the producer told me the show has 6 million listeners! I’m glad I didn’t know that before the program started!”

UMFK students honored

    Thirty-four awards and 18 scholarships were presented to deserving University of Maine at Fort Kent students at the Senior Class Banquet and Awards Convocation held on Friday, May 9, in the UMFK Sports Center.
The annual event, held the evening prior to commencement, is designed to honor graduating students for outstanding achievement throughout their years at the university and to award underclassmen, who are continuing their education at UMFK, with financial assistance in recognition of their hard work and campus involvement.
The first awards presented were the outstanding senior honors given by the UMFK Student Senate and the University’s Alumni Association. Receiving the top student award, voted upon by members of the Student Senate, was Kelsey Marie Dubois of Fort Kent, who received the UMFK Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award. The UMFK Alumni Association Scholarship was presented to Krystal Lee Paradis of Frenchville.
Local students recognized at the event include:
• Danielle Marie Higgins, of Masardis, was awarded the Performing Arts Award, which is given to a student who has made major contributions and outstanding achievements in university theatre and musical productions;
• Robert Parent, of Eagle Lake, was named the recipient of the Computer Applications Award for his high grade-point average in computer science courses and future growth and development potential in the computer applications field;
• Jonathan Chasse, of Van Buren, received the Criminal Justice Award for his academic achievement and demonstrated active in the discipline; and
• The Outstanding RN-BSN Student Award was presented to Jonathan B. Post, of Presque Isle.
In addition to awards, students were presented with scholarships at the annual banquet.
Ten students were awarded scholarships from the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine System, Fort Kent Chapter, including: Timothy Bair, of Caribou; Kelly J. Bell, of Presque Isle.
Ross Esmond Gatcomb, of Eagle Lake, was presented the Thomas S. Pinkham Memorial Scholarship.
Dr. Erin C. Soucy, assistant professor of nursing and the director of the nursing division, was honored by the senior class with the Outstanding Faculty Award for the 2013-14 academic year.
The senior class honored Raymond R. Phinney, associate dean of student life and development, with the Outstanding Staff Award for the 2013-14 academic year.

IT offerings expanded 

    AUGUSTA — Students interested in studying information technology at one of Maine’s community colleges may be eligible for scholarships to cover the cost of their coursework this summer. Maine is IT!, funded by a three-year, $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, is making it possible for Maine’s seven community colleges to dramatically expand the courses and programs they offer in Information Technology (IT). A new summer scholarship program will enable students interested in the new IT programs to get a jumpstart on the fall semester.
Through Maine is IT!, the state’s community colleges — including NMCC — will launch new IT courses and programs this fall in areas ranging from computer forensics to information security to information systems integration. Students who plan to enroll in these and other Maine is IT! offerings in the fall may be eligible for scholarships to cover the costs of both credit and non-credit summer courses related to their program of study.
To be eligible for a summer scholarship, a student must be at least 18 years of age, demonstrate financial need, and be accepted into a Maine is IT! related program for the fall 2014 semester.
Maine is IT! is designed to address the growing need in the state for skilled information technology workers across many industries. The grant, awarded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant (TAACCCT) Program, is projected to serve nearly 2,100 participants through dozens of new or expanded one-year certificate and two-year degree programs at the seven colleges.
The program will provide new pathways and multiple entry points for students to access the courses and programs they need to acquire the information technology skills most in demand by Maine employers. It will enable the colleges to expand two-year degree programs, add one-year certificates in areas in high demand by employers, and increase short-term training that leads to industry recognized certifications. The federal grant will also provide students enrolled in Maine is IT! programs and courses with access to state-of-the art labs, equipment and software.
FMI, contact Dottie Martin at or 768-2806.